Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Automatic watering of station flower bed

A DEVICE which automatically waters the sloped flower bed at Goring station has been installed.

The Goring Gap in Bloom committee, which planted up the concrete embankment on the eastern platform in 2018, has laid a system of pipes under the soil which hydrates the roots directly.

This runs on a timer, providing different levels of water depending on the season, and has a sensor to reduce the flow when it rains. The device can be manually overridden using a smartphone app.

The committee always wanted this to relieve pressure on its volunteers, who had to water the bed twice a week during the summer.

They also had to seek permission from Network Rail, which took time to negotiate as the company was concerned about water near the overhead cables supplying the Great Western main line.

In fact, the system uses a low-pressure supply so then water would only trickle out if there was a leak.

Over the past two years, volunteers have been watering the 125sq m bed using either a can or their wheeled bowser, which they would push up to the railings in Gatehampton Road.

Ron Bridle, whose wife Stephanie chairs the committee, said: “We needed all sorts of permissions and paperwork but we understand these things can take a while. 

“I think it’s the first time anything like this has been installed so while Network Rail were very co-operative, they were keen to make sure it was safe.

“It’s a sophisticated system as the water isn’t visible from anywhere and it’s very adaptable to the weather.

“Watering the bed was a massive job considering that it has more than 150 plants. Volunteers sometimes spent whole afternoons on the job and it dries out quickly because the soil isn’t very deep.

“The bed was a significant contribution to our activities but was also causing us the most work and we’re pleased to have this in place after budgeting and raising money for it.”

The committee’s other improvements to the station include planters on the central platform which are watered from a rooftop tank and the installation of a wildflower mural painted by Henley artist Sarah Pye.

Since Goring’s first entry into the Britain in Bloom competition in 2012, the village has won one national gold award as well as five gold and two silver gilt titles in the small town class of its Thames and Chilterns region.

The committee had already decided not to enter this year’s competition before the coronavirus outbreak, saying it would take a year off to rest and hopefully enter again in 2021.

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