BYFLEET residents and local community groups worked together last weekend to clear out an overgrown ditch in Mill Lane.

The project originated from work on surrounding ditches, including in the grounds of Byfleet Manor, which is presently undergoing extensive restoration.

Inspired by those efforts, local councillor Amanda Boote became keen to extend the work to the Mill Lane ditch, leading to Bluegates Hole, and that it should be a community project.

“During lockdown, myself and plenty of others took their daily exercise along Mill Lane and it became clear just how overgrown the ditch had become, especially from Church Road,” Amanda said.

“From my work with the Byfleet Flood Forum I know how vital it is to keep water moving, and you could see what a difference the previous works had made. There were even ducks in the ditches, and I hadn’t seen that in the 20 or so years that I’ve been here.”

With Amanda’s help liaising with various interested parties, including councils, the Environment Agency, Surrey Wildlife Trust and Amey/Joint Waste Solutions, the project was set for this month.

The work could only be done from the beginning of September, so any clearing of the ditch and cutting the verge and some of the hedgerows did not disturb nesting birds.

“People turned up at 8am with their own tools, rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in,” Amanda said.

"And a special mention mention to Amey/Joint Waste Solutions, and especially Sarah Beck,” Amanda added. “They provided all the waste bags and even organised a special pick-up on Monday morning to take everything away.”

For more on this, get the 10 September edition of the News & Mail