The weather was disappointing this summer, but on August 4 the sun shone for our tour of Carymoor Environmental Centre. This is a working landfill site 13 miles southeast of us near Dimmer, where completed areas have been returned to nature and used for educational purposes. So successful have they been that the Somerset Wildlife Trust approached the Carymoor trust and is now working in partnership.
Our guide for the day was Julia Percy. She showed us first the trust’s Somerset wildflower collection, planted in used tyres, all labelled and much visited by local schoolchildren. It’s constantly being added to and it’s hoped it will become the “county collection”.
We toured a private wetland site alongside, where Carymoor volunteers helped plant the present reedbeds and built an artificial kingfisher bank. A kingfisher has already been seen in the area and there are high hopes that it and others will burrow and nest in it next year. We have been invited to help plant further reedbeds in the autumn.
We were privileged to view three deer come down to the water to drink as we headed on up to the now recovered landfill site.
Refuse is buried in clay-lined pits, where it will remain indefinitely. The methane gas it gives off is tapped, and generators supply the national grid. Any liquid residue (leachate) is filtered, aerated and returned to the nearby river — actually cleaner than the river water. The area of completed landfill is sown with grass and wildflower seeds and becomes a wildlife haven.
We spotted some trees that we had planted experimentally in old tyres some years ago. Although healthy, they have been kept in check by grazing deer.
About 150 lorries a day empty their contents at Carymoor. The Carymoor trust does great work, but we must all think about the amount of rubbish we throw out. By 2020 there will be no more landfill sites available in this country. What will we do then?
Our walk finished back at the environmental centre, which is a “green” building powered by its own wind turbine. We ate our picnic on the veranda of the adjacent cob house, a pleasant end to a very enjoyable day. Thanks to Julia Percy, our tour guide, and to Alan Fear for arranging the event.