Catching Up!!

Please click on the Dino Trail tab above and see the amazing work that Sophie C has done to earn her Duke of Edinburgh award. I am very impressed.

The picnic benches are all re-stained and had the weak points sorted. I feel like we have been playing catch-up with all the recent silliness with them, but we seem to be in a better place now.

Looking forward, we have a new bench area going in by Max O, who is doing his Duke of Edinburgh. This will replace the bench that got smashed up. We have an exciting workday next week where we try to bring in a new pond, that has been created by the developers in the new bit of Cawston. But the real icing on the cake will be a project headed up by Victoria. I have loads of photos but saving them all for next week…

I will catch up with all the other DofE youngsters this week and get Sunday workdays sorted.

Wildflowers spotted…

It’s all getting a bit exciting and plans are afoot to create a poppy and cornflower meadow at the Potford Dam clearing, we will try to get a bit more diversity with the nettles on the southern end, and just keep releasing trees from scrub to help them to flourish.

It’s going to be a big one next week…

Until then!

Paul

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Bench Rescue

Such fun dragging the benches back up onto the path…

It gives us the chance to suss out the weak points and reinforce and re-stain.

The wildflower meadow was planted in autumn rather than spring. Not sure if this is a good idea going forwards because the bramble has gone a bit wild…

And the path is really closing in now.

And of course, our all important coffee and cookie break.

Next week we are at the second round bench.

I cannot stress enough how good this is. Totally relaxed and just a load of people forging friendships and doing stuff with purpose. Come and join in… Just bring biscuits…

Until next week!

Paul

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More Bench Work Today

But before we get into benches, look at the Dino Trail – Sophie C has created new maps and there are other bits that I just need to format to get on there – it looks really good. This is all part of the DofE Award that Sophie has been working towards. Brilliant work!

Poppies – if you cast your mind back to last year, you will remember that I harvested what felt like a million poppy seeds from a field next to the Dunchurch Bridleway (another trail that I have been working on). It connects to Cawston Greenway at one end and National Cycle Network 41 at the other, so it’s our umbilical cord to the Mothership. Anyway, Marcus and me spent ages putting the poppy seeds in, along with loads of others, in the autumn of last year.

Here is the result at Potford Dam clearing…

There is a whole load of other wildflowers in there, we just didn’t really have time to get into it, but we did spot a couple of new ones.

I restained the bench at the birdfeeder clearing whilst the technical guys fixed the second rectangle picnic bench. We will replace the first rectangle picnic bench with a couple of pedestal benches at some point.

Victoria also has something brewing so watch this space… Exciting just does not come close!!

Views up and down showing the path filling up with colour, and our next traunch of bird nesting boxes for the sections of path either side of the underpass, with 25mm (blue tits, etc) and 28mm (great tits, etc) hole protectors to keep the predators at bay.

Newly spotted wildflowers…

Next week we are at Potford Dam doing work on the picnic bench and clearing the bramble out of the wildflower clearing. Then staining the rest of the picnic benches working northwards.

Join us!! If you are worried about joining an established group just bring biscuits and we will love you forever. Or just pop along for a chat and get to know us for a few weeks before joining in, if that helps. We have all been there so we all know how it feels.

Lastly – PATRON PATRON PATRON!!! I know times are hard but if enough people donate £2, £3 or £5 a month it makes such a difference. We have some amazing things planned for the autumn to make the path even better for everyone…

Until next week!

Paul

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Urgh!!! Cock up with where we were starting!!

Me and Marcus had in our minds that we were starting at the most northerly bench and working south. We did this and restained 12 benches.

Mike and Reece didn’t have the same.

I must make my communication clearer in future!!!

Sorry guys!

But anyway, 12 benches stained and next week we move southwards to the picnic benches.

Great views of the path, the meadow, and where we got up to…

A few more Geocaching hides worked on whilst we slowly moved along.

The path is about to burst into glorious colour, all the baby birds have fledged and are making loads of noise.

Massively excided about trying to work the pond into the trail. I saw ducks on it last week so it has potential to really enhance our path.

Join in and enjoy the ride. We are just a bunch of people with no wildlife experience (except Mick) and are just learning as we go and having a right old laugh as we do…

I know that I have a whole load of stuff to catch up on with the path (Sophie C, wildlife tags, iRecord) I have not forgotten, just need a quiet half hour…

Until next week!

Paul

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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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