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Over the weekend of the 16th and 17th May the Avalon Marshes team attended the Steam on the Levels event organised and hosted by the Westonzoyland Engine Trust. It was a fun packed weekend with a variety of visiting engines on display as well as the fabulous exhibits and demonstrations from Westonzoyland Pumping Station Museum.
The team took along their working “water model” which shows how the system of gripes, ditches, rhynes, drains and pumps works. With fully working rain clouds, sluices, pumps and a sun, it is a real hand-on educational activity! Linked with the model were displays on water management and the effect of climate change.
The museum is home to a narrow gauge 1949 Lister Railtruck (a small narrow gauge locomotive). This was acquired from Fisons Peat (formally the Eclipse Peat Company) who had used it to haul loaded peat wagons from what are now Shapwick Heath and Ham Wall nature reserves to the processing works. It was wonderful to see this important link in with the history of the Avalon Marshes; the holes left by the peat extraction are the very reason the Avalon marshes have such wonderful reed beds and lakes.
Another historical link was the display of historical images and information about the Eclipse Peat Company’s Great Plain peat works. Natural England and the Avalon Marshes Team are working together to conserve what remains of this important works and tell its story. On display were numerous historical objects found at the site; visitors to the stand were given the task of helping to identify these!
On August 31st 2015 the Westonzoyland Pumping Station Museum will be hosting their first Narrow Gauge gala. Please visit their Facebook page for further information.