Working the land

The Slurry Pit

Yes… The old cattle farm’s slurry pit!!!



This is behind the three barns with gaping gaps in the wall where all the muck and rubbish would have been swept out of the barns when the farm was last a fully functioning cattle farm (by local reports about 30 years ago)

We have decided to clear it and build our vegetable garden here. It is a walled area so should provide some protection from the wind for things like a poly tunnel etc eventually!!

We didn’t know when we started whether the top end was ramped into the pit or how deep the earth at the bottom was….. Dad found the base fairly quickly and mum started the hunt for a slope/ramp up by the gate entrance. We cleared a small area at the base and decided to start building a bonfire. Dad, James and I started using a bill hook and a pruning saw to hack out some of the many small goat willows (Salix Caprea) and after a fairly short time hacking and cutting the pile was sufficient for Dad and James to want to start lighting the Bonfire!! 2 hours, Yes, TWO hours later and half a can of petrol later and we had a fully burning fire in the middle of the pit!!




During this time I joined Mum clearing the slope into the pit. We found rocks, building sands, old slates from the roof etc all dumped in the top corner, piles of rocks, both quartz and slate and rubble towards the bottom end as well as a good slope into the pit which was fabulous news in some ways and not though in respect of the water coming off the mountain in heavy rain…. As this is the direction it’s all headed. It means we will need to build a wall along the edge of the ramp into the pit and punch a hole out of the bank in the bottom to channel the water out into the drainage stream area. Eventually the rocks Mum and I were finding filled huge wheelbarrow and I started to make cairns. We have decided to use the rocks to start building up the bank in the hedgerow space with the double gate between orchard and big field, where we intend putting a stile. Some of the flatter rocks will be used for stonewalling and increasing the height of the slurry pit walls.

James had his first go using a petrol strimmer


We ended up with this!


And our first more gruesome discovery, which Mum has named Yorek!!


And a partly cleared ramp area!!



I am quite proud of the achievements here so far!! Suddenly the slurry pit is not so insurmountable. We have a long way to go, but we have found out so much!!!

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