Thursday, 31 October 2013

Trumpington Community Orchard Swift Tower

Trumpington Community Orchard is an area of ~0.2 acres which is used to improve biodiversity and habitat for wildlife and plants, maintain a green space within the allotment envelope, grow local food, preserve heritage apple varieties and help combat climate change (we wish them luck with that!). And now they have a Swift Tower!


Final assembly on the ground
Photo Judith Wakelam
Whereas at Micklemere, we had a large tractor with a fork lift to erect the tower, at Trumpington we had to rely on a simple winch and a lot of brawn. The 8 metre pole probably weighed over 120kg and the boxes on top weighed 32kg. An A-frame was built out of scaffold poles to support the pole after each lift. The combination of a winch and a tug-of-war team pulled the tower up, while 2 teams on each side ensured that it did not veer off to the side.

The tower design is similar to the Micklemere Tower, but the entrances are slightly different. Both of these towers contain 11 nesting places, 7 in the front and 2 on each side. 
The assembled pole and nest-boxes, resting on an A-frame ready for erection. Photo Judith Wakelam


Almost ready for the final lift.
Photo Helen Hodgson

Final checks with a spirit level
Photo Helen Hodgson
All of the nest-boxes contain a nest-concave, coated with feathers by local children. A 1.5 inch tweeter was installed inside 2 of the nest-boxes, 1 in a front-facing box and a second one in a side-facing box. All that remains is to install a car battery, solar panel, SD card player and timer switch next May.

Trumpington is a village on the outskirts of Cambridge City. The inspiration for this project came from Susanna Colaco, chairman of the Orchard Committee. 

The team on the day included Guy Belcher, Clarke Brunt, Juliette Colaco, Rosa Colaco, Susanna Colaco, Helen Hodgson, Bruce Martin, Bill Murrells, Dick Newell, Vida Newell and Judith Wakelam as well as helpers from Cambridge City Council and Cambridge University. 

The front boxes are facing slightly north of west.
Photo Judith Wakelam

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