Ecological appraisal, Great Sankey, Warrington (2016)

It all sounded so easy on paper.  Nip round to Great Sankey, a couple of miles from home, do a quick Phase 1 habitat survey and then write up the report.  Bog standard, totally normal day at work.


I should have known something would go wrong when the client told me I had to arrange to meet one of their operatives to let me onto the site by cutting a hole in the fence (!).  OK, right, I’ll take that in my stride.  Next job was to walk onto the site. Or not.


I was faced with a wall of vegetation. Lovely.  Time to make like a badger and start crawling around on the ground – which was covered in litter and broken bottles.

Hmm.  Maybe not.

I did my best, I really did, but it was just not happening.  I managed to get about 20 metres into the site before I was defeated by a wall of Rhododendron and a steep slope.  I gave up and called the client to let them know I was having problems.

Luckily there was a footpath adjacent to the site, which meant I could at least see into some of it and get some idea what was going on, but I don’t usually have to randomly drive round roads round the site in the hope of getting a look at it!

I have a section in all my reports on survey limitations and this one was pretty devastating, to be honest.  I learned as much as I could about the site and that wasn’t a lot.  I don’t think anyone could have done more, but it still felt really unsatisfactory and wrong to be sending in a report saying, er, don’t really know what’s on site, sorry.

Not my best day at work :/


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