2012 was the wettest year on record in England. As a result the ground is saturated. Since New Year, we have had a relatively dry period. There's been a bit of rain but not the downpours we had last year. Nevertheless, any rain now simply sits on the ground on the allotment. It cannot escape by draining into the soil. So even a shower leaves puddles behind it. The paths are churned up through constant use and I can't remember the last time I was able to walk about without wearing wellies.
The ducks and hens add to the mud problem. The ground in front of the duck house has been liquid mud since it was built in September. Our plan is to put in drainage there and along the main paths. Once the paths have their drainage dug, we will put down paving stones. Mud in the chicken run is not liquid. Instead it is thick and viscous. It's the sort of mud which, if deep emough, can suck your wellies off your feet!
My temporary solution is to blanket over the mud there with a layer of wood chippings. We have plenty of them. Last year, we had one of the old hedges cut back. It hadn't been touched for at least a decade. The hawthorn in particular had been allowed to run wild. The result of the cut back was a big pile of branches which were chipped and left in a large heap. I started today to spread it on the chicken run. There is still plenty to do. The heap of chippings is on the far side of the allotment site which therefore requires a walk of about 100 metres to get to it. This will be a job that will be completed later this week.
The hens however loved the chippings. Hours of endless fun followed as they kicked about the chippings looking for bugs to eat. Much better for them than mud.