Saturday 13 October 2018

Adding Some Biodiversity to the New Shelter

Today we finished off the roof of our new shelter. The shelter has an innovative biodiverse roof. Unlike your standard "green" roof, this solution is much more eco-friendly as it should mimic the ground conditions on site. We will be adding wildflower seeds and plugs very soon.

First task of the day was to move 1.5 tonne of biodiverse roof substrate from the Kiln to Horton's Mound. Thanks to PC Landscapes & Anthony George this was quickly achieved.

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Moving the Substrate
(c) Mark Elsoffer - Moving the Substrate

The roll of drainage layer was then lifted to the roof and laid in strips. This consists of a sandwich of water retention fleece, plastic reservoirs, and filter/geotextile. The layer holds water (up to 5.5L per m2) in drought conditions, whilst also allowing excess water to escape via the gutter.

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Laying the Drainage Layer

The steel gabions were then installed along the gutter edge, with a strip of geotextile underneath and behind - to protect the rubber liner and stop substrate escaping.

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Fitting the Gabions
(c) Mark Elsoffer - Fitting the Gabions

Salvaged capping stones and logs were then lifted up. The capping stones hold the gabions in place, and the logs will be buried in the substrate.

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Lifting the Logs & Capping Stones

The 60 bags of substrate were then lifted and spread on the roof. This special mix is made from crushed aircrete blocks, expanded clay aggregate and green compost (c5%) and is made especially for biodiverse roofs.

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Lifting the Substrate

Next to be lifted were the dinky little logs, expertly harvested from site by dinky little Dave Baker. These were placed in the gabions and form an attractive edge detailing, filter the runoff and provide foraging and nesting habitat for invertebrates.

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Dinky Logs
(c) Mark Elsoffer - Filling the Gabions
(c) Mark Elsoffer - Filling the Gabions
(c) Mark Elsoffer - Finished Gabions

Final landscaping touches were added to the roof - bricks, logs and sand. All this creates a varity of micro-habitats which will encourage varied plant growth and foraging/nesting for invertebrates.

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Landscaping the Roof
(c) Mark Elsoffer - Rooftop Panorama

Finally, a timber fascia was added to the underside of the front of the roof to hide the joist hangers (soffits will be added next weekend, along with the guttering).

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Fitting the Fascia

Whilst all the above was going on, a team of volunteers gave the inside of the shelter a second coat of paint.

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Painting the Inside
(c) Mark Elsoffer - Painting the Inside

Once again, we are indebted to PC Landscapes and Anthony George for their invaluable logistical support. Building our new shelter would have taken four times as much time without their assistance.

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Thanks PC Landscapes

And of course, thank you to the following for generously funding our shelter project:
- Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust
- Aviva Community Fund
- Greggs Foundation Environmental Fund
- Farnham Weyside Rotary Club
- Jewson Farnham Branch
- Hanson UK

And finally, thank you to the 19 volunteers who turned out today, plus all the others who have worked on this project so far.

(c) Mark Elsoffer - The Shelter
(c) Mark Elsoffer - The Shelter

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