Winter Project

Today, Marcus, Reece and myself just scoped out what we need to do over the winter to get the reed-bed and the wildflower meadow working together around bench #4.

Here is a screen-grab of the area.

reedbed path greenway

The red oval is where people are currently getting on and off. Massively steep and hugely dangerous if someone takes a tumble and ends up on the road at the bottom.

The red line shows a new path dropping down the bank, circumnavigating the reed-bed and the Victorian aqueduct, and then reaching across the dry ground and following the fence-line out onto the new development.

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Going down.

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Looking up, this needs to be steps.

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Reed-bed.

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Inching along.

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Aqueduct.

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And out.

It’s going to take a lot of work to get this right, and then grow scrub over the old path to deter people from using it. However, we have a good six-month window to work on it, so there is no need for us to rush. It will be better to do a quality job.

The reason for dropping down where we are, is so that the reed-bed is accessible and we can start to clear it and help it to flourish. It also compliments the other side of the path up on the bank, which is our little mini-meadow of wildflowers.

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Not forgetting of course, that it creates a lovely circular walk that is just in Cawston, rather than taking people through the woods.

A well deserved cuppa and cookie at the end of a tough day!

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Back on it next week!

Paul

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Come Rain or Shine…

..the show must go on!!

Well, that is what I kept thinking as Marcus and myself got thoroughly drenched on this week’s workday.

But another section snipped back and kept clear for all of our users. So it was well worth the effort.

Trying to amuse myself with photos from the top of the bridge and then the same view from under the bridge. It was that sort of a day… However, we now have a couple of more productive workdays lined up where we can work on the slope down to the reed-bed and try to develop the circular walk, on the Cawston side of the Potsford Dam bridge, that doesn’t entail having to slide down the savage slope on our backsides!!¬†

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Another dreary wet shot across the heath…

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Lastly, I cannot see any signs of life in our bat-boxes. I think we need to bite-the-bullet and modify them. I have put in on the list for September.

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At least the coffee and cookies provided a bit of relief from the rain!!

Until next time!

Paul

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Seek and you will find…

The wildflower plant ID app (Seek) that David from Sustrans told us about is really coming into its own.

The purists might say that we are cheating and should be scouring books and ID guides, but a lot of what I am seeing and recognising via the app, is actually going into my head and I am retaining it. Half the time, I am just using the app to confirm my first thoughts, so that must be a good thing…?

Today, Marcus, Aaron, Kieran and myself cut back anything trying to jump across the trail, from the underpass to Berrybanks, after Aaron buzzed any low-lying growth with a strimmer.

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This is definitely the lull before the storm. In the autumn we need to cut back the overhanging trees in this section and get some sunlight onto the path.

The banks are doing a pretty good job of looking after themselves though, with a mass of wildflowers, butterflies, damselflies and bees. At some point however, we will need to establish a cutting regime on a three-year cycle, or it will all just turn to unmanaged scrub again. We can work out which 1/3 sections to clear back in September and then create five or so deep scallops across the winter season.

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It’s pretty amazing when we think about the man-hours invested in this section to initially clear it. As soon as we have our benches at either end it will be ‘job done’ and another section that we can be rightly proud of, as we just manage the scrub.

Wildflowers Spotted:

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There are plenty more but just no time to really get into a wildflower or insect hunt today.

Great coffee and cookie break today. There seems to be so much going on and loads to talk about, both with the greenway, the various projects that are linked to it, and the extended path to Leamington Spa and beyond.

All will be revealed as and when things start to come to fruition.

Paul

 

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Another Day at the Office

Victoria, Tom, Marcus and myself managed to cover about half a mile on the trail today. We started at the underpass and worked southwards to the Drummond Road entrance.

We are just keeping bramble runners off the path and picking up any litter at this time of the year.

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Up and down shots looking good.

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I did indulge myself in a little bit of wildlife habitat creation.

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We need to thin the young trees all along this section to get as much dappled sunlight onto the path as possible.

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Our coffee and cookie break was on-the-hoof again, due to no benches on this stretch, but we have a plan, so watch this space.

Loads of people using the path with many showing an interest in joining in. Lots of benefits in doing so and plenty of different things to engage with.

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In September we are making an insect hotel to enhance the area around bench #2. This adds another layer of interest and biodiversity.

Here is how to make one…

With this in mind, we need to start collecting logs, bricks, bamboo canes, and anything else that creates nooks, crannies and burrowing holes.

Bench #1 has our bird-feeders, bench #2 will be the insect hotel and bird-boxes, bench #3 is our living hedgerow and bench #4 is our wildflower mini-meadow and reed-bed. It’s a pretty diverse and interesting run of different habitats to enjoy.

Until next time!

Paul

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Thank Heavens For The Coffee

Well, that was another twenty or so minutes of my life that I will never get back as, once again, I tried and failed to put up our basecamp tarp.

At one point, a passer-by enquired, “What’s it going to be?” I really couldn’t answer because I had become a wrapped-up mess of tent-poles, guy-ropes and a blooming tarpaulin that thought it was a spinnaker in the 2019 Around The World Yachting Final!!

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So I packed up the basecamp kit, cracked open the coffee and comfort-ate all the biscuits, as I stood there in the drizzle, before stomping off northwards with my shears.

I managed to snip back loads of bramble runners, eagerly reaching out onto the path, for about half a mile.

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It also gave me a chance to think about where we are heading with the wildflower meadowy bits.

The annuals will only come up next year if we cultivate the ground. I would rather do that just on the edges and let the grass and perennials develop into a decent wildlife-rich meadow that flip-flops either side of the path. That way we get to keep the scrub and bramble that already plays host to many insects and small mammals, and add-to rather than replace what is already there.

I stopped off at the bird-feeder clearing and watched for activity. Plenty of which there was, but it was people rather than wildlife.

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Lovely to see families walking and enjoying the path though, even in the rain!!

Wildflowers Spotted:

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All-in-all, a decent morning despite the early frustrations.

Paul

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Loads Going On…

Loads going on… Where to start…

David from Sustrans had been in touch – he recommends a new phone app called Seek which helps to recognise wildflowers and wildlife. I used it today and got a Greater Plantain ID. It is down there in the blog… It is fantastic!!

Martyn from Sustrans is organising us signage that will explain the history of the path and what we are doing.

We have CAWSTON GREENWAY workwear tops on the way – this is massively important for people who want to feel part of something. Admirals and Cawston Councillors have earned a place on our SPONSORS page!! Thank-you so much.

Loads more bubbling away… WATCH THIS SPACE!!

Today was rushed, again by me. I am having to pack in too much stuff before the workday and I need to change something. I don’t even have time to put up our basecamp tarp at the moment.

Sharon, Marcus and Aaron got on with snipping back the path from the Drummond Road entrance to the bird-feeder clearing. Loads of fresh bramble trying to grow across the path.

I filled the bird-feeders with Harty’s spicy fat-ball mix. No time to sit and wait for the squirrels though!!

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A decent coffee and cookie break once I had caught up with myself.

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And this is what it’s all about, keeping the path clear and finding the time to chat and connect and stuff.

WILDFLOWERS SPOTTED

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I will probably have to keep muddling through until I move house. After that, I will start to get a bit more with it.

Please bear with me!!

Paul

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Complementary Colours

It was like nature had put out the bunting to welcome Reece, Marcus and myself back to Berrybanks, a rather appealing purple and yellow theme, and the butterflies loved it too.

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An attractive mixture of St. John’s Wort and Tufted Vetch at first glance.

Loads of bug-life but no time to start chasing them about today.

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A nice curvy path creates little micro-habitats for all sorts of things. Good to see a pair of Bloody-nosed Beetles this far down the path. We just snipped away anything that was looking at growing inwards, which was mainly bramble, and picked up any discarded litter.

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No benches in this area so we need a log circle or something like to sit at. I have an idea so watch this space!!

Nice to enjoy a coffee and chat after a good morning of work though, despite some dummy forgetting the biscuits!!

Until next time!

Paul

 

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