A route from the Western Relief Road Cycle Path to the Greenway and to Leamington Spa or Draycote Water?

A late update from Wednesday’s workday, but here goes.

We needed easy access to the southerly part of the path so we could get the bench components on site. We found a gate to a field that runs between the greenway and the Western Relief Road cycle-path. The distance across the field is 0.01 miles, or sixteen meters!!

If this was the official access point from the Western Relief Road cycle-path to the greenway, then it is 0.17 miles too early, but the cost of a zig-zag ramp up the bank to join the two paths, where the WRR cycle-path ends, might make this a worthwhile compromise. A huge bugbear of mine that this was not thought through when the WRR cycle-path was built and will be a constant irritation, but if we can get the farmer to let us have a tiny strip of his land to create the link, then maybe it is worth a shot?

Anyhow, the workday. We put up another bench. We saw some lovely dragonflies that we were too slow to get a photo of, but we did get a few wildlife photos. I am a couple of weeks behind with iRecord so will try and catch everything up over the weekend.

Thanks, Reece and Marcus for joining me. We put the bench up in double quick time and did a bit of wildlife spotting afterwards.

Next week we are putting a bench in where we had the Cemex workday. The same access point and we will be joined by Dan and Sim from Sustrans and the Greener Greenways Project.

I have applied for funding to buy a petrol hedge-trimmer to push back the taller scrub and just let the path widen and dry out beyond Potford Dam. We are getting a lot of people using the path so it makes sense to get all as dry and open as possible.

Thanks, Marcus and Reece for the work you put in. I must remember to actually go down the greenway and just enjoy a family picnic or walk, one day….

Paul

 

 

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Hedgehogs

Today was all about hedgehogs!! We had Debbie join us from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and what an interesting morning it was. In between making a bench, we had a really great talk about hedgehogs, and then made some hedgehog recording tunnels.

I will be checking the tunnels daily for the next five days. This is great news and fantastic to get WWT back with us. Thank-you Debbie for a great bit of training.

We had a few other great finds along the path.

And plenty that we did not get a photo of.

I will hold off adding a hedgehog tab until the survey has been done. Hopefully though, this is another avenue for us to explore.

Thank-you Reece, Mick, Marcus, Debbie and myself for a great morning. Learnt loads and I feel like we are rolling well and have good things coming our way. We are truly a nature reserve now, rather than a railway path.

Paul

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It Was All Pickaxes And Mattocks Today

Four of us today, swinging pickaxes and mattocks. Oh boy, I can feel my shoulders and arms starting to ache already.

Marcus, Paul, Steve and myself made it today. A good turn-out seeing as there was the Cawston Summer Sizzler BBQ this afternoon. We found the lowest point on the whole of the section adjacent to the golf club. The land falls away quite quickly to the west of the path, into the spinney, but there is a high retaining bank that we needed to scrape a channel through.

You can see how deep we had to dig that channel to get the water to drain. I am hoping that any standing water along this section will find its way down the bank via this outlet. I still think that we need to remove the canopy above the path and let sunlight dry it out. That will be a job for the autumn.

Wildlife and wildflower finds today…

A tough day today but we made great progress. The easier option would have to just stuck to the narrow ballast path, but to waste this lovely wide boulevard just seems criminal.

Next workday is this Wednesday placing a picnic bench near to Potford Dam. How I am going to get the bench up onto the railway line is anyone’s guess, but it will happen by hook or by crook.

We have Debbie from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust joining us and teaching us about tracking and recording hedgehogs. This will open up another avenue on the blog and give anybody who is reading, another hook to get caught by and get involved. You will notice that I have started a Grasses tab. An avenue that I got hooked on, by reading a wildflower forum. I don’t quite have the head-space to start recognising them yet, but it is a start.

Well done everyone today.

Paul

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Time for a quick catch-up…

Time for a quick catch-up… There is so much going on, on the greenway, so I thought it might be useful to roll back a bit and remind everyone of what we are doing.

But first, our workday.

Today’s workday was building benches. We have six benches to build on the Cawston bit and try and create a different surround for each bench. This will hopefully encourage different wildlife at each location. We will do the same beyond Potford Dam as soon as our extended licence comes through.

The bench at the underpass has already been tagged. Youth: I don’t care if you tag it. You are brightening up the underpass with your spray painting. All I ask is that you don’t break or move the bench. It is there for all of us to use. Great paintings in the underpass. I love it.

Marcus, Paul, Mick and myself made it today, a good turn-out seeing as there was a lot of things going on in Cawston and Rugby.

So what are we trying to do…

We started off with two miles of abandoned railway line eight years ago. We cleared it and widened the path over time. The wider the path got, the drier it got. The drier it got, the more people started using the path. Last year we pushed down to make our patch three and a half miles, to connect with National Cycle Network 41. This means people can get to Leamington Spa, or divert off and either go around Draycote Water or go half way round and pick up the path that routes out of Draycote and after going along the Ashlawn Road cycle-path, drop down onto the Ashlawn Cutting, another disused railway line, and route back to Rugby Railway Station, where all the paths lead to.

We are at the point where we can call ourselves a Nature Reserve. We have created a fantastic habitat for all sorts of wildflowers, bees, butterflies, birds and mammals. The picnic benches will be there to help people to sit down, have a picnic with their kids, and just enjoy the nature around them. Please use this blog to help recognise wildflowers and butterflies and kinda just get into what this is all about.

To open up the path from Cawston to Draycote has been a long-term goal of mine for all of the eight years of doing this. It is a path that goes somewhere and hopefully, we can get a zig-zag ramp at Potford Dam to take the cycle path along the Western Relief Road up to the railway line so that it also goes somewhere.

So that is about where we are at.

Next Sunday we are back next to the golf club with mattocks. We plan to drain the path so we will be gouging channels to the west and let the water run off.

Great day today.

Paul

 

 

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Went down there with a heavy heart, came away with my spirits lifted…

Went down there with a heavy heart, came away with my spirits lifted… Let me try and put into words and pictures, what I mean by this. Last time we were down by the A45 and beyond, our task was to try and shift the standing water. It was going nowhere, or so it seemed, and our work felt a bit fruitless. Today I went thinking it was going to be another worthless slog, and I had totally run out of ideas.

When I got down there I could see that the standing water had all but drained away!!

All of these areas where completely submerged last time we were working here. Now we have little streams that we can step over and the water drains into the watercourse on the westerly side of the path. Considering the rain over the last week, I am really happy with the state of the path. As we cut away more shade and widen the path, it will get drier and drier.

It was a slightly smaller group today, Paul, Tim, Howard and myself, but we worked hard shovelling ballast onto the path to raise it up, and gouging out the drainage channels with our mattocks, to let the last remaining water drain off.

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So from what seemed like a workday with little hope, it turned into one of elation. Also great to see loads of cyclists and walkers using the path. We became a bit disjointed towards the end but I made it my mission to get to the end, where we join National Cycle Network 41 at Draycote, and cut back any bramble that is making a break for it across the path.

A few wildflowers and mini-beasts to go into the relevant sub-sections, and actually got a couple of pictures of bees. They are so hard to photo because they are so busy flitting about.

Thanks to all who made it today. Was a huge step forwards. As I have mentioned, I am now out of action until the 28th June, when we start making our picnic benches.

Paul

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They said it would be easy…

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Pulling these stumps out was supposed to be easy. But because the ground is so stony and hard-packed, it was really tough!!

Paul, Mick, Marcus, Aaron, Linda and myself made it today and we worked on pulling out the stumps that were left from our work in the winter. The stumps are dangerous because they are a trip hazard, or worse, if someone comes of their bike and falls onto one.

The path is now clear of stumps around the underpass. We just need to keep on ripping out any others. A few new wildflowers that I will put in the wildflower bit of the blog. Only one type of butterfly, which was the Speckled Wood.

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Great day, great company, great work.

I will update workdays for June later. Still a tough month, time-wise, for me, but then things get massively better towards the end of the month.

Paul

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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 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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