We made safe the path to Cawston Wood

For years people have been asking me if we could do something with the steep path that leads to Cawston Reservoir and Cawston Wood. So today we made it a lot safer by putting in steps. This is pretty much what we did to connect with Cawston Bridleway that crosses the greenway in the big clearing. Tim and Marcus put the steps in whilst Aaron, Linda and myself found the wood to make the steps and pegs to hold them in place. We also dead-hedged our boundary and put in a high step-over to deter motorcycles, not that anyone would be brave enough to attempt the steep incline.

The slope as it was:


It is horribly steep and when we do our weekly run it is a pain to get up. Getting down it is twice as hard.

Working hard to get the steps in:



And the place that everyone wants to get to:


The finished article:


So we now have a safer route along the greenway, past the reservoir and either out past the Nature Trails nursery, or into Cawston Wood and out onto Cawston Lane.

We have agreed with Nick and Helen, the Sustrans Greener Greenway’s Wildlife Champions, that we will go no further than our last bench, which is about 200 meters south of Potsford Dam. The path pretty much naturally opens up to Dunchurch station anyway. Any work that we do will be with Nick and Helen so that we can work with them and learn how to do things correctly. Our Mick is also a great source of knowledge.

Last photo is the obligatory fungus shot:


Lastly, I noticed how you were all admiring my apparel – lol


If you would like a T-shirt the cost price is £9.12 per shirt and P&P is £4.80 and is the same regardless of numbers so if everyone coordinates we can keep this cost down. There are 16 different colours that they come in. I do not make any money on this – I am offering at cost price.

Here is a link to the website that will show the colour options.


Thank-you so much for today. Next one is Thursday this week not Wednesday, as a one-off. We are in the bird-box clearing making it ready for our bird-feeder area.


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Revisit the Risk Assessment for Power Tools

Great workday today with Marcus, John and myself.

No power tools because I just wanted to remind us all of our safe working practices.

We must give the person using a power tool at least 15 meters distance. It is not fair on the person using the power tool if people are coming from behind to rake up the brash. I will invest in a whistle so that we can notify them to stop for a passer-by or any other reason.

I think we need “Men At Work” signs too.

This is not aimed at anyone in particular and I am the first to put my hand up and admit to dropping my guard and being a little bit over-enthusiastic.

Let’s work safely together and not put each other at risk of injury.

So, on to the workday. We have a partner who wants to help us get the bird-feeding area set up. This is really exciting and I can already sense a change of direction where we slow down and start to work on making the bird-feeder area the best it can be.

We started clearing the bramble today.

A quick before and after shows what we did.

I cannot quite remember what was here in the summer. Rose bay willow herb or greater willow herb, which was easy to pull out, but the brambles proved to be a bit tougher. Next week we are going to switch to the other side of the path and then switch back as we get near to the bridge. This will create an interesting path with micro-habitats along the way.

Great fungus find today:


Further down the path, the developers are getting ever closer. This felt like I was standing at the edge of a forest watching dinosaurs.


Our Kidney Vetch has distributed its seeds and is shutting down for the winter. It will be great to see this spreading next year.



Thanks for today and let’s remember to keep ourselves and each other safe.


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What a Difference Power-Tools Make

What a Difference Power-Tools Make….

Let me explain:

These two bad-boys made ripping out the scrub so easy. Well, easy for everything except my back!!

We had a brilliant turn-out with Marcus, Reece, John, Aaron, Amy, Mick and myself all pitching in.

Just look at what we created.

The challenge in the summer will be keeping the width and letting the flora and fauna happen in the margins.

We had so many people passing us today. Joggers, walkers, cyclists, couples, friends, all sorts of users. It is so nice to see that we are creating something that has such a broad appeal.

We have a couple of funding applications in at the moment to get our bird feeding station made. To recap, it is a round bench able to seat eight people with four poles around it at about 5 meters away to hang the feeders from. Each pole will have a different food and we can start to record and photograph what we see.

There is also the mental health aspect to consider. We are creating a vehicle for people to come along and make friends with like-minded people. It might be photography or identifying wildflowers, or just being a champion of our bird-feeder area and keeping the feeders topped up and recording what we see. Or even just smashing the path through. There really is something for everyone. We are a really friendly group and there is no pressure or heaviness about us, so if anyone is reading this and feeling a bit isolated, come and give us a try. If it wasn’t great we wouldn’t still be doing it eight years down the line.

Anyway, off the soap-box and just thanks to everyone today. Next week we are smashing through from the bridge down to the bird-box clearing.

What a great day.


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Hopefully found a bit of balance…

I tempered down the last blog entry and tried to make it a bit more balanced.

And today was brilliant. We have a nice wide path so that groups can walk or cycle in tandem along the route.


Mick, Marcus, John and me made it and we completed this section.


We raked off the brushcut scrub and now have a wide walkway.


And look at the sun hitting the ground. This will encourage a lot of wildflowers to grow here.


Last gasp of nectar… Grab it whilst you can…

Next one is next Wednesday just pushing down to open up into the picnic clearing, 9:30 start.

Great day today.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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.


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


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.


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