A History of No 6 tank (part one)

A History of No 6 tank (part one)

Tonight saw this blog reach 100,000 views so a big thank you to everyone who has taken the time to dip in and dip out with the Birds of Frodsham Marsh. To mark the occasion an article on the history of No. 6 tank and hopefully tomorrow some more recent gen from the marsh.

Helsby marsh lagoon 1990 copy

Years ago the fields of Lordship Marsh were barely given a glance as we drove or cycled or walked along Moorditch Lane on our way to the Pumping Station reed beds and/or to access the northern banks of No. 4 tank and Frodsham Score beyond.

New Tank Excavations (No. 6 tank), Frodsham Marsh. May 1990

The early winter period of 1989-1990 gave no hint to what lay ahead or how it would make a significant change in shaping our time birding the marsh. There were rumours surfacing about excavation work by the Manchester Ship Canal Company for a new tank on the ancient farmland of Lordship Marsh bordering Moorditch Lane. But when the bulldozers, diggers and trucks arrived it was a shock!

The development of a sixth silt deposit tank situated on Lordship Marsh was not without its critics but, it went pretty much unnoticed by the less savvy confrontational groups in and around Frodsham. A few of us locals looked ahead with some anticipation having seen No 4 tank flourish a few years earlier.

The following Spring of 1990 was laden with early spring showers and excavation work by bulldozers and diggers went ahead with some fervour. Heavy machines and pumps worked ferociously gouging out hundreds of tons of quality topsoil to form a ring of banks along and around the fields. Large machines grubbed out ancient hedgerows and industrial equipment pumped in and pumped out flooded areas.

Our selfish anticipation of what lay ahead was tinged with some regret as we were fully aware of the bird species this area once supported. The traditional farmland birds like Grey Partridge, Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting were in a free fall decline here and good numbers of breeding Lapwings frequented the marsh fields in the spring.

I suppose we can all be selective on the benefits of such work and the ‘developed’ use of our countryside, but when its gone, its gone. So, it is with a retrospective back glance tinged with a little regret to witness an area of traditional farmland ripped apart for the development of a new tank. But ultimately the rewards were many with new breeding species for Cheshire and decades of superb birds that still to this day marks the tank a work in progress. 

Garganey, No 6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.

Ron Harrison found the very first rare bird on the new tank in the form of a sparkling drake Garganey.

To be continued…