A shift in what we are doing…

Sunday was a shift indeed. Instead of kicking about looking for jobs to do over the summer, we started to look for wildflowers and mini-beasts. Oh boy, did we find some beauties.

Aaron, Mick, Linda, Jack and myself made it today. We started pulling up nettles to give everything else a chance to grow.

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A quick look up and down shows how it has really greened up!

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Loads of new wildflowers and insects, butterflies (are butterflies insects?) and spiders. Even a bit of fungi, but I am going to put the photos in the relevant sections on the blog.

Thanks Mick for your patience and teaching about wildflowers. We are all learning from you.

Next one is at the underpass. We need to pull out the stumps where we have worked last winter. The stumps are dangerous if they are cut two or so feet from the ground and could cause injury if someone falls from a bike, or low level stumps that people will trip over.

Thanks all today.

Paul

 

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Hard Going at A45 and Beyond

It was a tough one today. Marcus, Steve, Tim and myself started to try and move the water that is under the A45 bridge. Not as easy as it seemed, but we found a pile of hardcore and built a higher path. We just need to see if it all dries out and firms up. If it does, we can continue to do this. Down the path, we probably need to make wider glades and allow the path to dry out. A job for autumn.

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The picture is down the path just trying to open a channel to allow the standing water to run off into the watercourse to the right.

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Here we are looking at a tree that is rotten to the core and creaking with every light gust of wind. IMG_8660

It probably needs to be felled before it falls.

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This is the wet bit by the golf club. We have a nice dry path to the left that is on the higher ballast ridge. We just need to keep on pushing along this, in the autumn.

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Sustrans are working with us on this section. Loads of users today, walkers, runners and cyclists, so we are doing a good job. This path was impenetrable last year.

Lastly, no fungi today, but loads of wildflowers that I will load onto the wildflower tab and iRecord, and a bit of lichen, which is a whole new avenue of discovery.

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Next one is next Sunday in the picnic clearing pulling up nettles, so long sleeves a must!!

Thanks all today.

Paul

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Crowdfunding For Picnic Benches

I have set up a fundraising page for picnic benches along the greenway.

This will encourage people to come along the greenway for walks and to sit and watch the nature and wildlife on our doorstep. It will encourage people who maybe a little lonely to meet others with a similar interest and help them to make friends, or just simply get a new hobby or be encouraged to get out of the house and go for a walk or picnic with our families.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/cawstongreenway

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Thanks for looking,

Paul

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Sustrans Joined Us Today.

It is always a real pleasure when anyone from Sustrans joins us. Today we had Martyn, the Land Manager for the area. The reason that it is such a pleasure is because we have the chance to showcase our lovely greenway, and also feel part of something bigger, which of course is the Sustrans cycle network. It is also really good to get snippets of info on other parts of the network that we are connected to, which is NCN 41.

John, Mick, Reece, Marcus, Linda and myself made it today. The plan was to do a bit of a litter-pick and investigate a few more of the native wildflowers. However, my phone battery failed pretty early on, so that kind of killed the wildflower bit. I was very disappointed and felt for Mick, who really wanted to get involved in this. I think it proved a bit unrealistic to try and do a litter-pick and also a wildflower survey. The two just seemed to conflict, so maybe we need to rethink and dedicate a workday to simply taking good photos of our wildflowers and working together to identify them.

I had to nip back and get some photos as I left home for work, so we are a bit compromised.

We did, thanks to John, spot an interesting fungus on the branches of a tree. Pretty rubbish photo but it was from the bridge and was 20 foot up in the air.

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Don’t know if we will be able to get it recognised, but a great find.

The litter-pick was good and we pulled out a load of rubbish. Mostly aged bottles and cans of alcoholic drinks. It makes you wonder who and what went on when the railway first closed…

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A quick shot up and down from The Bear bridge shows our greenway looking pretty good.

I will try and get some photos of the wildflowers that Mick pointed out, later in the week. I really want to keep this part of the blog active and live. Also look at the Bird Feeder Area tab. Totally excited about this.

Wednesday workdays for me are now not an option due to childcare, through May and June. I will try and organise a Sunday afternoon workday for most weeks through this period. If anyone wants to pick up the Wednesdays, please shout out.

Thanks all today and thanks Martyn for taking the time to meet us and get stuck in.

Paul

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Pulling Nettles and Thistles

Today was all about trying to give our ‘brought in’ wild flowers a chance. We firstly chopped out all the nettles where we planted the Kidney Vetch seeds.

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This will give it chance to come through and thrive.

Paul, Aaron, Marcus and me today and it was a pretty good day.

After pulling up a load of nettles in the picnic clearing, we headed north to Berrybanks to clear out a load of thistles and give our Wild Strawberry a chance to grow.

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The Wild Strawberry is doing well. The Kidney Vetch not so, as of yet.

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The Kidney Vetch is the sole food plant for Small Blue butterfly and Wild Strawberry is a good source of food for the Grizzled Skipper butterfly. Both endangered species.

I have added buttons above for wild flowers and butterflies. I will add more buttons for insects and bees eventually. If we are recording everything that we see, then it opens up all sorts of avenues for all sorts of people to get involved.

Fungi finds seem to be Silverleaf and Jelly Ear.

Great day today. Very relaxed and chilled out.

Next week we are joined by Sustrans and are starting at the start of the greenway, which is next to Henry Hinde Junior School and just walking the path picking up litter and knocking back any bramble trying to invade the path.

Thanks all, today.

Paul

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Our First Workday Past Potfords Dam.

Bit of a strange one for me, I am just working through a virus that I picked up on Wednesday and really felt out of sorts, so forgive me if it is a bit disjointed, but here goes for our first official blog entry on the new bit.

I think, we had Steve, Marcus, Wayne, Anna, Linda, Jezz, Emma, Howard, Mick and myself today. If I have missed anyone out please let me know and I will add you.

We cracked on with clearing the litter and when we looked like we had broken the back of it, I wandered down to look at the wet bits and see what we can do to fix them.

Firstly, feast your eyes on the litter pictures – how many years of litter???

We had a good old root around at the water under the A45 bridges. I think we can channel it to the lower standing water that is to the west of the path. I gouged gullies with a stick and the water started to flow freely to the lower ground. I think we just need to dig deep gullies with spades and let the middle of the path dry out, whilst the holding ponds on the sides catch the sun, so will be drying out.

Next stop was this bit.

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Just wet and nowhere for the water to go. I will propose to Sustrans that we try and go around this bit by widening the path into a small glade, and cut away anything that is casting shade onto the standing water to stop it drying.

Next stop was this.

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A horribly wet bit. however, there seems to be a freshwater spring on the left of the path and a running stream on the right. We used a stick to make gullies and the water started to drain off the path, and then we made a dam to direct the water across the path, rather than down it. When the path is dry it will just require a step-over.

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The last bit that I got to was the work that we did next to the golf club. We still have stumps to remove from our work here, from last year. However, we have a lovely path forming on the ballast ridge and don’t really need to worry about trying to drain off the original path.

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Our new path is on the left and is dry and lovely to walk.

The path between these four pinch-points is dry and hard-packed. We just need to keep the width over the summer and see what happens with the wildlife and manage a balance between the two.

Loads of bees and butterflies today. Orange-tip, Brimstone, Peacock, Comma, and Whites. It was a riot as they all seemed to defend their territories against each other and from us.

Lots of people using the path. Probably six or seven groups of mountain-bikers and a few groups of walkers.

We became a bit strung out as a group towards the end and I seemed to lose a few people. I probably walked too far down to see what we need to do next time. Hopefully everyone went home happy and fulfilled.

Until next time.

Paul

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Massively Pleased With Progress…

I am so happy with where we are at. The nice wide path is airy and drying out nicely. Looking up and down looks good. Great to work with Mick, Carrina and Aaron, today.

A quick up and down the path shows how dry and wide it is.

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The view from the gate is brown this year. It has been yellow in the past.

Another up and down shot.

It is slowly drying out and greening up.

Some great fungi finds. Dying Jelly Ear.

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And something new.

Looking forward to getting this recognised.

And we have loads of Lichen too…

Lastly, we did a huge litter-pick and cleared out a load of rubbish.

IMG_9110 Next one is this Sunday afternoon at the A45 bridge just clearing up the litter and working out how we can get across the wet bits.

Thanks to all today. Was a lovely day and all the hard graft in the winter has paid off.

Paul

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