All Things Come To Those That Wait…

All Things Come To Those That Wait… Some guy on a bike passed me today and commented on how the path was so full of wildlife. I didn’t know if he was complaining or happy or what. But it seems to be that we have turned an overgrown and horribly littered wilderness into a lovely path and nature reserve that leads to Draycote village, Draycote wildflower meadow and Draycote Water.

I don’t really know where to start because there was so much to see. So I will try and put it into pictures.

You see what I mean when I say there is something for everyone. If you like photography, or mini-beasts, butterflies, wildflowers, fungi, chopping back the path or whatever. We probably have something to capture your interest. So come along and join in on this exciting adventure of ours…

We saw probably eight groups of walkers or cyclists during the three hours that we were down there, so the path is getting good use.

Paul

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Wet One!!

It was indeed a wet one. It just rained and rained and rained. But Aaron and myself soldiered on. I think carrying the bench parts down to where it is sited was the hardest part. My back, legs and shoulders ache badly.

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But look!! It’s all about the view. Just to sit there and look over towards Cawston Reservoir and woods.

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Or the other way across arable crop fields. This is to die for. Every bench has a window and a view like this.

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Looking up and down the path…

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For me, this is too tight. It needs to be three meters wide at least. We will get a hedge-trimmer soon and push back the scrub. Once we get into a rhythm we will be cutting back sections and start a three-year cycle of cutting right back. This is the only way that we can have a dry path.

Next one is this Sunday down at the Draycote end. We are just walking up snipping back any bramble that is shooting across the path. Travel light with just a pair of hand snippers and walk up to Potford Dam and back.

Good, if wet, day today.

Paul

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We Didn’t Quite Get To The End….

….in fact, we missed it by about 1.6 miles!!!

But hey-ho, it was a great day with the great company of Mick and Reece.

We just snipped back any brambles that looked like they were about to break out and run across the path.

Loads of fruit starting to ripen and the path was dry, despite all the recent rain. This just shows that if the path is nice and wide, it will then get the sun and have enough absorbency to deal with the heavy showers. This is the way forward, me thinks.

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In my haste to get out of the house on time, I forgot my camera, so we had to resort to my rubbish iPhone. I managed to get three pics before my battery drained….

This is Tansy

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This is a day flying moth.

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And this is Yarrow.

Next week is a hard one! We need to get the bench parts onto the path and then carry them down way past Potford Dam to its site. It is going to be tough so many hands will make light work.

Great day today and lovely company. We are looking good.

Paul

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A Hand-Made Bench…

A hand-made bench – or hand-assembled, because some muppet forgot to put the electric screwdrivers on charge beforehand. We were forced to take turns on the rubbish screwdriver that only just fitted the screws. To say it was an easy day would be hard. Drizzling rain, traffic problems getting on site, pilot holes not pre-drilled into parts of the bench…. But Marcus and myself struggled on.

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A building site behind, but a lovely, if grey day view, the other way. This is what the benches are all about. Creating windows that look out on to open countryside.

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Flora and fauna brought nothing new, but some wonderful photos.

 

Some lovely wildflowers and some great mini-beasts and fungi….

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Just a quick look up and down – this is how wide we need to make the path so that it has enough sun to dry out.

 

Well that is it for July. One more bench to put up and then we are just snipping back and picking up litter until September.

I will progress the nature reserve angle this week and see if we can become a special site.

Great outcome to a tough start of the day.

Paul

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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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