Depressingly, the damage to the banks by over-zealous strimming turns out to have gone right through the town, so that's all along Waylands Road, along Edward German Drive, out on the other side through Greenfields Rise and only stopping when they reached the nature reserve. And the work's been carried out by the Environment Agency! An organisation I've spoken to countless times about water vole presence in the town, and who should have it flagged up in their systems that this stream needs especially sensitive management. They must have remembered something about the voles because of the way that one short stretch by White Lion Meadow has been managed.
I appreciate they've stuck to the rule about only removing cover from one bank at a time, but for most of the brook between the railway bridge and White Lion Meadow there is only one bank that's vole-friendly. The rest is either flanked by a brick wall or wooden revetment, or the bank is too shaded by overhanging trees for anything to grow there. The result is no cover at all for the water voles who live along this stretch.
And this in a week when we're told that water vole numbers nationally are down by a fifth. Honestly, I could weep.