Back on that huge learning curve!!!

We learnt this last couple of weeks that out-of-the-way benches and other nice things like food for the birds, nesting boxes, bug hotels, etc, etc, just don’t mix. Wooden benches can be repaired, and bird feeders can be replaced. That is all I am going to say on the matter…

So back to our bench maintenance program. The benches are starting to show signs of stress and rot. We will do our best to replace or shore-up the broken bits. I am pretty proud of how we keep it all workable and it’s great for us lot to be challenged with repairing them.

A good old litter pick and sit down to enjoy a coffee and cookie afterwards.

See how the path is slowly creeping in. The colour explosion is about to happen!!

We have an upgrade to the Dino Trail which I will do over the weekend. Thank you Sophie C – it looks brilliant.

Geocaching is also getting an upgrade. I have done three out of the 12 so far. We are getting close to 900 finds in 4 months!!

We are also starting to collect nesting boxes for the two areas on either side of the underpass. We are probably looking at about six to eight on each side. So far we have five. Some new, some refurbs that we can rebuild.

There are also a load more older boxes that need the metal plate over the hole that the woodpeckers have wrecked. 25mm for blue tits and 28mm for great tits. Work for the Autumn.

Flora and Fauna spotted over the last two weeks-

Any errors please just shout out. We are all in this together!!

Next week we are re-staining the benches (again) and strimming the vegetation around the bases. Working north to south.

There is a pond that we can build into the path. For the life of me, I cannot work out how to connect the two, but it is there and in the Autumn I think we should go for it. I shall apply to the CGF for a round bench in the area.

Usual stuff to finish – please drop us a couple of quid a month via the Patron link on right, if you can. But more importantly – just come along and join in. It’s so good for mental health to be doing stuff with a purpose.

Paul

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This Makes It All Worth While…

Nearly every nesting box has chicks!!

So we learnt that when people walk down the path the birds do not advertise their nests. I honestly thought that they had all been abandoned and that maybe the path was just too busy. But no, the birds give that impression to not draw attention, and now it is a blooming raucous down there!! So happy!!

This week we did a bit of picnic bench maintenance. Sadly someone felt it was a good idea to throw the rectangular benches down the embankment.

Now bear with me here – there are four bits to Cawston – the shops, the parks, peoples’ houses, and the greenway.

For a long time there has been unsociable behaviour around the first three bits, so we created areas on the greenway for ‘youth’ to go, sit, drink beer, do their thing and not impact everyone else. It works up to the point when someone starts messing with the benches.

Keep messing with the benches and there will be nowhere for the ‘youth’ to go except back to the shops, the parks, and the streets.

It’s really not that hard to work out.

Anyway, I will get off my soapbox…

At the risk, now, of upsetting the consensus feeling in our group that a bench was written off, I went back today and rebuilt it. Tough one with my gammy shoulder!!

The bench gets to live another day, and has more steel in it than Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator!! The ‘youth’ now have their bit back that is away from the shops, the parks, and peoples’ houses, and hopefully, some sort of peaceful normality can resume.

If anyone gets wind of who is messing with the benches – please just have a word… Everything on the greenway is kinda done for a purpose and for the greater good…

Loads of other stuff, Dino Trail revamp (really cool), Greenspace = Headspace. Victoria has got a plan for the underpass (amazing!!). Litter picks. Flora and fauna spotting. I have discovered a huge pond that we can work into the path and have picnic benches around. Geocaching is 800+ finds, but I am still a bit (a lot) triggered at the moment so will roll it over into next week.

Lastly, whilst having our cuppa and cake we realised that we were being watched…

Usual stuff to end – Patron us with a couple of quid a month, join us to help, or just bring biscuits and share a coffee. It is all about us reaching out and welcoming you into the group in whatever capacity we can. Honestly, we are just a bunch of folk just rubbing along and having a laugh…

Paul

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Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows…

It’s not always sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. Sometimes we have to seriously question what dragged us out in the driving rain and cold.

The first thing was an urgent bench repair.

And we litter picked the whole path.

We have something cooking with regard to the underpass – watch this space…

A few more bugs and wildflowers for the records.

You might notice the TREE tab above – I have started recording all the trees. Click on it and let me know if it’s useful…

I have also changed the Mental Health tab to HEADSPACE. Headspace and greenspace go so well together. I will be exploring this more next week.

Lastly, I have done a nerdy little slideshow of the stations and line when it was working. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it.

Until next week!

Paul

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What’s in it for you?

Where does your money go if you become a Patron…

£1 a month is a 20% share in a bird nesting box.

£2 a month is a 25% share of a 4kg bag of peanuts for the birds.

£3 a month is a 60% share of a tub of fat balls.

£5 a month goes towards our Public Liability Insurance (£15/month) or an 8% share of specialist wildflower seed or a whole tub of wood-stain for the benches.

There are loads of other stuff that we want to do to make the green space as colourful and usable to as many people as possible. You are not supporting us, we will be here regardless. You are supporting your green space.

This week we litter picked from the snowdrop bench heading south, and snipped back anything trying to grow into the path.

Light duties for me for a bit due to badly hurting my shoulder (Doctor on Monday). I can just about manage a litter picker!!

The geocaching.com trail has gone absolutely mad with way over 700 finds since the end of Jan this year. Give it a go – it’s totally addictive and free!!

The wildflower spotting is gaining momentum and our database of what has been spotted is filling up. I am also starting to record trees (if you spot any errors, tell us. We will not hold it against you).

That’s it for this week. Come and find us if you want to join in. All you need is biscuits and we will love you forever. You can jump right in, or work on the edges of the group if you need a little time to get to know us. Either way, we just have a laugh and a giggle. The offer is always there.

Until next week!

Paul

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Bluebells

This week was the one where we had to do what I have been putting off for ages. I have tried to convince myself that the bluebells around the bridleway bridge are some sort of hybrid and will probably be OK. Looking at the native British bluebells around the snowdrop bench and it becomes really obvious that the bridleway ones are not right.

So out they came.

I feel conflicted in many ways – waste of time putting them in, waste of plants and colour, not listening to advice and thinking it will be ok, etc, etc…

However, we did have a secret supply of proper 100% native snowdrops that are “in-the-green”. This means that they have flowered and are about to suck all the energy out of the green stems, before going to sleep for the rest of the year.

I don’t feel quite so bad knowing that we have replaced the bluebells with something just as pretty. We can put native UK bluebells in on the other side when autumn gets here.

We also did our weekender this week where youngsters can get their Duke of Edinburgh volunteer hours under their belts. Litter pick and last of the ivy clearing and seeding with a wildflower mix.

It will be lovely to see all the colours in the summer.

We have not massively tried to spot wildflowers and minibeasts due to it being quite cold, but we do have a few to add to the list.

Next week we are in May!!

We are going to start at the snowdrop bench and work south for the first two weeks, and north for the second two weeks, snipping and picking litter.

No new Patron supporter sign-ups in April!! If you can spare a couple of quid it helps so much (link on right-hand side).

Our usual Mental Health message – if you are needing human contact – come on down and bring biscuits. We will love you forever!!

Until next week!

Paul

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It’s All Going Green!!!

Boy-o-boy!!! Last week I was wondering why it was not greening up, and bang!! It’s greened up.

Nice to see the quadrant benches being used and nice to see the remains of a little fire in the centre. It’s good that people can get away from the residential areas and chill and stuff without impacting anyone else.

We litter picked and snipped back bramble with purpose this week. Definitely little and often is the way to go here.

We worked in a northern direction and it was nice that the normally challenging areas (underpass and The Bear bridge) were not at all bad.

It was great to see a family with the Dino Trail map looking for the dinosaurs and, the Geocaching Trail has nearly 600 finds since we put it in at the end of January. It just sends a little shiver of appreciation down the spine.

A couple of wildflowers and a couple of butterfly types were spotted, not that we were particularly looking.

I have updated the tabs above and iRecord.

Next one is Sunday 24th with the youngsters getting their DofE vol hours in.

Thanks for reading,

Paul

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Ooh – Something New…

I have rehashed the menu bar above to include a couple of new activities. Spotting and recording wildflowers, and the same with bug life. There is a brilliant smartphone app called Seek that makes identifying things easy and fun, and recording them using the iRecord menu tab keeps the national database up-to-date.

For us lot, it’s something new to do as a family or with friends, or by ourselves if we want. We can take a flask of coffee and a bite to eat to make a morning of it, and it is totally free.

Now if someone came up to me and suggested going on a butterfly hunt or wildflower spotting, I would more than likely decline, thinking, it’s not my cup of tea at all. However, it’s incredibly addictive, great exercise, fantastic for mental health being out and about getting ‘green time’ with a purpose, and it’s educational.

Dame’s Violet

And we get to fill in our list of finds in the Wildflower and Bug Life tabs in the menu above.

The Workday was snipping back bramble runners to keep the path clear, and a litter pick on the southern end. I have updated the Rugby Litter Busters site (right side menu).

Great views, great company, lots of laughs, and great to be outdoors with a purpose. Same time and place next week but working northwards.

If anyone can think of any other activities that we can build into the path, just let me know and we can see if we can do it. We have the Dino Trail, Geocaching, wildflower glades and benches galore, circular walks going north, east, south and west, mountain biking connecting to NCN 41/Draycote, jogging, picnics, quiet ‘green’ time, feeding the birds and squirrels, monitoring nesting birds and watching the chicks fledge, wildflower and bug spotting. We can even hop off at The Bear pub for refreshments.

The thing that makes all the above happen though, are the workdays and the generous Patrons who support us…

Until next week!

Paul

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First Attempt at Bug Hotel

What is going on with the weather!!! We seem to be forever waiting for those warm spring mornings and a flush of wildflowers. Slowly things are turning green, but taking time to do so. There is white blackthorn blossom, purple ground ivy and the bluebells are about to bloom, so we are getting there!

We finally got a pallet onto the path (long story!!!) and made it into a “bug hotel”. It is just a densely packed space with the ability for insects to travel up and down as well as back and forth.

We can see how it goes. Whilst it’s not the prettiest thing, it serves a purpose and hopefully, more insects means more birds and other larger wildlife. If it works, we can do some more.

We enjoyed our coffee and cookie break, the view is brill and there is no litter!! I picked up a small amount earlier in the week.

As I do this sort of thing, I am always on the lookout for wildflowers nearby, where I can collect seeds and add them to the path. Last year was huge for poppies, viper’s bugloss and ox-eye daisies. Hopefully, they will come up and spread. This year I am watching and waiting for green alkanet, orange hawkbit, red dead-nettle, wild mustard, and common fumitory to name but a few… Some might suggest that we are encouraging thuggish wildflowers, but the fight against nettles, bramble and ivy is what we are up against.

Well, that’s about it for this week. Become a Patron from £2 per month (right-hand side menu) to support the green space. I know things are becoming incredibly hard for people, money-wise. Just remember that the greenway has the dino trail map (in the menu bar above) for youngsters and the geocaching for older kids and adults. Picnics with amazing views or cheeky squirrels and birds to watch and enjoy. It’s all free and as soon as the weather gets warmer the wildflowers start to pop up, which is our next off-shoot – we want to record as much flora and fauna as possible this summer. It really is good fun using the phone app called Seek, which is part of iNaturalist, and gets quite addictive as well as a little bit educational.

Here’s a YouTube of the view to finish.

Until next week when we’re at the snowdrop bench working south!

Paul

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Weekender Plus

We had our weekender where youngsters can get some of their Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteer hours under their belts. We did a bit more clearing of ivy, seeding with a wildflower mix, and litter picking.

The wildflower seed mix contains cornflowers, flax, forget-me-not, chamomile, shrubby hare’s ear, marigold, safflower, bullwort, corncockle and honesty. We have used the same mix for years now and nothing peculiar or unwanted has ever grown.

There is a group called Trash Free Trails that encourage litter picking along paths like ours. I have logged our litter pick for this week.

The weekday work party saw us getting a bench in our underpass wildflower clearing. We feel it’s important to provide seating of some sort, so people can enjoy the wildflowers and watch the bug life.

This whole area is going to be so full of wildlife in a few months. Because it’s in deep cutting it becomes an absolute suntrap. We can push the scrubby edges back over the next few years.

We need to do something with the underpass. If we just paint it white, it will get graffitied again. Any ideas?

Flora and fauna identified and recorded on iRecord this week.

Next week we are creating bug hotels with the pallets that people have kindly given us. Cycle-of-life kinda stuff with wildflowers – pollen – insects – seeds – birds – small mammals. We will start at Potford Dam.

Until next week!

Paul

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Oh Dear…

Oh dear… It looks like we’ve created a naughty bench for misbehaving Cawstoners!!

But actually, it’s a view to sit at and absolutely adore. I love it and always have done.

Here is our YouTube of the view.

I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did creating it.

As you can see, all good fun!!

The two Toms, who are doing their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards, put up the robin nesting boxes. We are catching the season so late but hopefully, we can strike lucky.

We have twelve lovely Patrons who are driving all the good stuff that is happening on the path. I really wish that I could fast-forward into the summer and show you what is coming. This is not going to be just another green corridor.

I would like to see us double our Patron numbers over the next month or two, if you’ve been sitting on the fence, or fancy investing in the greenway, go for it. There is no long-term commitment or anything like that, and just £2, £3 or £5 a month makes such a huge difference. It’s our green space that is quite unique in that it offers so much for so many.

Click on the link and go for it!!

Next up, we have Duke of Edinburgh youth getting some more volunteer hours done this weekend, and a new bench in the underpass clearing next Wednesday.

Thanks for reading and until next time!

Paul

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