Cutting Back

Cutting back – I am not sure if we are getting a lot of mixed messages and our various advisers telling us one thing and then telling us something else and every message is starting to conflict with previous messages. It certainly feels like it.

So I have looked at the advice that Warwickshire Wildlife Trust gave us when we started, and the Greener Greenway and Managing a Workday booklets that Sustrans gave us, and it clearly states that we need to make the path three meters wide. The reason for this is because the path is used by cyclists and pedestrians, so there has to be enough width for both to work together.

Both organisations then advise to create scallops to create micro-habitats for wildlife.

We will go as far as the drop-down that leads to Cawston Reservoir and our last picnic bench heading south. anything further and we will team up with Nick and Helen so we can learn from them and work with them to create the path that connects with NCN 41.

Today’s workday kind of shows where I am coming from.

This is before we started. A narrow path that means groups have to walk in a one-by-one line and anyone on a bike means someone has to move aside.

This is the end result. People can walk two or more abreast and there is enough room for cyclists to pass without anyone having to dive into the undergrowth.

We will need to cut scallops into this area next week and rake off the ground.

Last gasp of nectar and berries. Everything is shutting down for the winter, which is quite incredible to see.

Next workday is next Wednesday a bit later than usual. 11:30 start, cutting scallops and raking off the bit where we were today.

Paul

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Time To Get Back On It!!

After a manic last week, I decided to take a few days off from the greenway and just reflect a little on what we are doing and where we are going.

However, it never stops in my head and I am always on the lookout for new partners and funding providers.

This week we have taken a step closer to making the bird-feeder area a reality. In my head, I have this vision of a round picnic table in the centre of the birdbox clearing with four posts about five meters from the bench at 90-degree spacing and a couple of bird-feeders hanging from each post. Each post can have a different type of food hanging from it so we get maximum visitors. I would then like to invite local schools to do field trips and record the bird life that we will be attracting.

I want to get a bench from the same supplier of the other picnic benches that we have. They are decent and sturdy.

rowlinson-round-picnic-bench-p68-22195_medium This is the bench in a garden setting. I really like it!

I have a few fungi finds to share:

I have found a new website to help me to ID everything that we are seeing. It is http://www.first-nature.com and it seems pretty user-friendly.

Next one is Wednesday 18th October at 9:30 am working on the narrow bit, between the Drummond Road entrance and the picnic clearing.

See you there.

Paul

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Jaguar Land Rover Corporate Event

We had our corporate event with Jaguar Land Rover last week. Chris and his team of 25 JLR employees set to work rebuilding the path next to the golf club.

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We had teams of ten people spread across the week. Sustrans Ecologist, David provided a plan to rebuild the path and Sustrans Wildlife Champions and Volunteer Coordinators, Nick and Helen were on hand to give direction.

The path along the disused railway-line had become waterlogged for a 350-metre stretch next to the golf course. Parts were totally submerged and other areas were ankle-deep in mud.

The Jaguar Land Rover team were tasked with digging soak-aways on the side of the route and using the hardcore that was dug up to resurface and raise the level of the path.

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It was hard work digging the hardcore out but as the old saying goes, many hands make light work.

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The route is now dry and passable. A huge benefit for walkers and cyclists who want to get to Draycote Water or Leamington Spa using the railway path.

Chris from Jaguar Land Rover was pleased with how his team have made such a huge contribution to the path, both as a means of sustainable transport and also opening it up for local groups to enjoy the flora and fauna that is abundant in the area.

A great job from all involved.

Paul

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We have finally come to the crossroads….

We are at a crossroads. There are the people who love nature and want to encourage it, and there are the people who want a path and want to encourage that.

Firstly, there has to be a balance of the two. We all have to compromise a bit and give a little.

Secondly, we as a group are all rank amateurs, Mick excluded of course. We are learning as we are going along and really don’t have a clue other than when we can cut back and when we cannot. But everything grows back so we cannot surely do too much damage.

The day at Berrybanks was a good one.

Plenty going on.

And a quick look up and down…

We will keep pushing the path angle, because that is what this is all about. We want to consider the wildlife and do our best to create habitat for it. I guess it is just finding a balance.

Paul

 

 

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We found where the fairies and pixies live…

We came across a little grotto of delight today.

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A fantastic find!!

Marcus, Linda, Chris and myself made it today and just gently removed scrub and trees that are shading the path and stopping it from drying out.

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We just need to push the edges back a bit so that the path gets a decent amount of sunshine.

This fungus has featured previously, but nice to see how it is progressing.

We had about three or four users, being walkers or mountain-bikers pass us today. This is another reason to ease the width out a bit so that we don’t end up with a muddy and narrow strip.

HELP NEEDED: I could really do with someone to ID all the wildflowers and other things that we are seeing. I would love to pour over books and ID them myself but I simply do not have the time.

Great day today, great company, friendships being forged.

Next one is Wednesday at Berrybanks. Recovering our wild strawberry.

Paul

 

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We recovered our wild strawberry!!

Our wild strawberry was doomed, or so I thought. But no! It has been quietly thriving, spreading and growing underneath all the thistles that suddenly came up at Berrybanks.

We need to find the rest of it and release it so there will be a few more workdays at Berrybanks in the coming months. The reason why the wild strawberry is so important is because it attracts the grizzled skipper butterfly, an endangered species.

More fungi than you could shake a stick at..

A spider that was obliging.

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And plenty of nectar giving flowers showing late into summer, and fruit, as everything starts to shut down,

And lastly, look at this beauty. An elephant hawk moth caterpillar.

Great day, smashing company, fantastic conversations, friendships being forged.

Wild strawberry released…

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Thanks for a great day. Next one is down at the A45 this Sunday at 1:30 just easing the scrub around the wet bits and channeling the water across the path. Mattocks and saws required.

Paul

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Too Much Fruit To Cut Back

Yes, we are at that point in the year where the bird nesting season is over, but the fruit is so abundant that it would be criminal to start cutting it back, and not allowing our resident wildlife to fatten up for the long haul through autumn and winter.

Mick and myself made it today and just had a general tidy around at the bird-box clearing and up towards the Drummond Road entrance. Still plenty of flowering wildflowers.

It is quite hard to remind myself that is is still officially summer until the 22nd September!! Various bees and butterflies braving the cold, too.

A quick look up and down shows how nice we are looking.

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It won’t be long before all this is bare again.

Until next time.

Paul

 

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