Let There Be Light…

Let There Be Light was the phrase uttered by Steve when we removed a group of young trees. Indeed, there was light in abundance.

A good workday with Steve, Aaron and myself making the late start. The plan was to make gullies on the path to help drain it off, but I didn’t really fancy heavy work, so I changed it to clearing around the areas that were submerged a few months ago. Amazingly, these were pretty dry. So we decided to remove the trees that are invading the space of the mature standard trees.

You can see the difference from the first picture to the last. The reasons for cutting back the young trees is three-fold though. Firstly to let light in to dry out the path, secondly to stop them getting entwined with the branches of the mature trees and cause damage as they rub together, and lastly to encourage flora and fauna that needs the sunshine to thrive.

Some great fungi finds.

Great start to the cutting back season. If we just continue in this way along the bit next to the golf course we can get rid of all the young trees and let the mature standards really flourish. We have a bit of work to do on the Cawston bit for a few weeks before we return to this bit on Sunday 24th to carry on clearing the ash trees.

In terms of users, five groups came past in the two hours that we were down there. A family with a spaniel, three single mountain bikers and a group of mountain bikers.

Really enjoyable day today.



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Last of the Summer Wine…

Last of the Summer Wine – well not quite but the last of the easy days just snipping back the brambles across the path.

Marcus, Linda, Mick and myself made it today and we cleared the encroaching bramble from the underpass to the start, which is adjacent to Henry Hinde Junior School.

From September we are into the cutting season and because we are now looking after 3.5 miles of path, rather than 1.9 miles, we have to be much more savvy with our time and efforts.

But first – look at what we found today.

Loads going on, wildflowers, fungi, butterflies, mini-beasts… It is a riot of activity.

Moving forwards, we need to cut back a third of the path where we have bramble and then set up a three-year cycle of cutting it right back to the edge and let new growth happen. Trees need to be cut back every ten years, so a ten-year cycle needs to be developed.

I will prioritise the areas that need urgent cutting back and then model everything else behind them.

Really happy with our progress this year. I am behind with the tabs on the blog and iRecord but will catch us all up when the kids go back to school.

Next one is Sunday 3rd September at the Draycote end. Pulling it a week ahead of normal because I am away the following weekend. Mattocks to just drain off that path next to the golf club.

Thanks, all who made it today.



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Busy Morning…

Oh yes, what a busy morning. Me, Reece and a kidney vetch plant started out. The plan was to snip back going north, from the underpass, but the kidney vetch needed to be planted south so we travelled southwards.


This is the planted kidney vetch. If we can nurture it and help it to spread, we will get the endangered Small Blue butterfly. This gives us a better chance of becoming something a little bit special and interesting.

Looking up and down the greenway shows a nice clean and dry path.

And the view from the gate shows how misty it was today.


Later on, we met up with Dan from Sustrans and things are starting to move forwards with our licence for the whole run to the NCN 41 pick up at Draycote. This is great news and I am confident that we can really push on with this.

No real wildlife opportunities but got to try out my new camera settings on a couple of bits.

Happy with the focus and depth of field.

As we were chatting with Dan, a robin could not help but keep earwigging on our conversations. Amazingly tame and curious.


Next one is starting at the underpass and going north just snipping back brambles, next Monday 28th start at 1:30. Travel light with just snippers.

Thanks, Reece and Dan for a great morning.


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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.


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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.


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


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


Looking up and down the path…


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.


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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.


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


This is a day flying moth.


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.


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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.


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.


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

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





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.


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