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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Hard Going at A45 and Beyond

It was a tough one today. Marcus, Steve, Tim and myself started to try and move the water that is under the A45 bridge. Not as easy as it seemed, but we found a pile of hardcore and built a higher path. We just need to see if it all dries out and firms up. If it does, we can continue to do this. Down the path, we probably need to make wider glades and allow the path to dry out. A job for autumn.

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The picture is down the path just trying to open a channel to allow the standing water to run off into the watercourse to the right.

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Here we are looking at a tree that is rotten to the core and creaking with every light gust of wind. IMG_8660

It probably needs to be felled before it falls.

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This is the wet bit by the golf club. We have a nice dry path to the left that is on the higher ballast ridge. We just need to keep on pushing along this, in the autumn.

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Sustrans are working with us on this section. Loads of users today, walkers, runners and cyclists, so we are doing a good job. This path was impenetrable last year.

Lastly, no fungi today, but loads of wildflowers that I will load onto the wildflower tab and iRecord, and a bit of lichen, which is a whole new avenue of discovery.

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Next one is next Sunday in the picnic clearing pulling up nettles, so long sleeves a must!!

Thanks all today.

Paul

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Crowdfunding For Picnic Benches

I have set up a fundraising page for picnic benches along the greenway.

This will encourage people to come along the greenway for walks and to sit and watch the nature and wildlife on our doorstep. It will encourage people who maybe a little lonely to meet others with a similar interest and help them to make friends, or just simply get a new hobby or be encouraged to get out of the house and go for a walk or picnic with our families.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/cawstongreenway

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Thanks for looking,

Paul

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Sustrans Joined Us Today.

It is always a real pleasure when anyone from Sustrans joins us. Today we had Martyn, the Land Manager for the area. The reason that it is such a pleasure is because we have the chance to showcase our lovely greenway, and also feel part of something bigger, which of course is the Sustrans cycle network. It is also really good to get snippets of info on other parts of the network that we are connected to, which is NCN 41.

John, Mick, Reece, Marcus, Linda and myself made it today. The plan was to do a bit of a litter-pick and investigate a few more of the native wildflowers. However, my phone battery failed pretty early on, so that kind of killed the wildflower bit. I was very disappointed and felt for Mick, who really wanted to get involved in this. I think it proved a bit unrealistic to try and do a litter-pick and also a wildflower survey. The two just seemed to conflict, so maybe we need to rethink and dedicate a workday to simply taking good photos of our wildflowers and working together to identify them.

I had to nip back and get some photos as I left home for work, so we are a bit compromised.

We did, thanks to John, spot an interesting fungus on the branches of a tree. Pretty rubbish photo but it was from the bridge and was 20 foot up in the air.

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Don’t know if we will be able to get it recognised, but a great find.

The litter-pick was good and we pulled out a load of rubbish. Mostly aged bottles and cans of alcoholic drinks. It makes you wonder who and what went on when the railway first closed…

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A quick shot up and down from The Bear bridge shows our greenway looking pretty good.

I will try and get some photos of the wildflowers that Mick pointed out, later in the week. I really want to keep this part of the blog active and live. Also look at the Bird Feeder Area tab. Totally excited about this.

Wednesday workdays for me are now not an option due to childcare, through May and June. I will try and organise a Sunday afternoon workday for most weeks through this period. If anyone wants to pick up the Wednesdays, please shout out.

Thanks all today and thanks Martyn for taking the time to meet us and get stuck in.

Paul

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