After a long-awaited rain the night before, ten dauntless members met Bob
Markham at the park entrance. His enthusiasm for all things wet, muddy and
strata-related soon became apparent as he showed us a plan of the park
defined by sand, clay and loam layers.
We wound our way around the upper perimeter along a very clear line between
clay and sand, indicated by change in vegetation and with natural springs
erupting at intervals along the line. At the bottom of the park we stood on
an area of ground which for over hundreds of years has been, and still is,
slipping down the hillside. The old "canal" with retaining earth banks is
remarkably close to the industrial estate and Myrtle Road. Various trial
holes dug some time ago by Bob showed the layers of sand and clay.
Climbing up to the Bishops Hill boundary, we saw evidence of this dry summer
in the cracking of the clay surface, with a few springs still visible. The
hour-long walk, finishing at Nacton Road end of the park, found the
uppermost springs still flowing strongly into the well known series of ponds
(immortalised in Gainsborough's painting in Christchurch Mansion). This
particular area was somewhat neglected not only being overgrown with shrubs
and trees but by invasion of the dreaded Japanese knotweed. It was a most
informative and enjoyable outing. Thank you, Bob.
Cover, issue 153