A New Way To Support Us

We haven’t done any fund-raising for a while and looking in the Cawston Greenway petty-cash tin, all I can see is a few random pennies and a button that popped off my trousers after the first lockdown!!

We have teamed up with patreon.com and anyone who loves what we are doing can support us with a small monthly amount. A couple of quid, the cost of a coffee, anything that you won’t really notice. Honestly, it really helps to keep the show on the road and, allows us to invest in wildflower seeds, snowdrop and bluebell bulbs, preservative for the benches and all the other stuff that requires cash.

There is a link on the right-hand side and trust me, we will be so grateful for the support.

Loads of stuff going on at the moment. I will cover off the workday first, and then try and summarise what we have planned over the next few months.

As you know, we have made a new wildflower clearing. This week we seeded it.

The seed mix has 27 native wildflower types and we added what felt like a million poppy seeds (tiny black things) that I had harvested from a field about a mile away, also some vipers bugloss and field scabious that a chap had harvested from a similar project to ours in north London, which weirdly, is about a ten minute walk from where I come from. It is the disused Harrow to Stanmore Railway, locally known as the Belmont Line.

We have plenty of seeds left for the other clearings.

This is the wildflower mix

We then walked south and looked at the jobs that need doing over the winter. We are going to have just three statement wildflower clearings. This one, the one at the birdfeeder clearing and the one at Potford Dam. However, we are going to keep increasing the length of these clearings over time.

So what else is happening:

He have hit 60,000 views on the stats counter (my wife keeps telling me that people must be very very bored).

Mental Health – just to remind people that we are here for this. If you see us, come and talk to us. We love talking almost as much as we love coffee and cookies. Bring us some biscuits or come with a pair of loppers and join in.

Dino Trail – about to relaunch this. The first go was really to see how it looked and what problems we needed to overcome. The upgrade will hopefully work really well (still need someone artistic to do a decent map (hint, hint)).

Geocaching – Dino themed again and almost ready to go. Just need the stickers and log sheets.

The path to Leamington – work starts on the 8th October at the Leamington end. There is planning permission for the whole line to be made into a decent cycle path and also a branch off from Marton Junction to Long Itchington. The Bear pub is reopening so will be a convenient coffee stop and another coffee stop is planned around Marton or beyond. Exciting times.

And lastly – by this time next week our first bit of Cawston Greenway merchandise will be available. I am almost overflowing with excitement!!

Paul

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More Work on the Wildflower Clearing

Bit of a shaky video of our new clearing. I have a ton of poppy seeds to sow, along with a lot of other locally-sourced wildflower seeds.

Mick, Marcus and me today and it was hard, hard work, which is probably why the video is a bit wobbly. However, we grubbed out a load of bramble roots and raked it over. It looks pretty good already.

We have to be careful not to get carried away. Making the clearings is one thing but maintaining them is a whole different game. We have learnt in the past that it becomes impossible to even recognise some areas that we cut back and seeded.

What we decided today is that we are going to create four or five statement wildflower clearings. We already have one at the Potford Dam end and the one at the bird-feeder clearing. This one will be fantastic and we can drop in another couple, in-between.

I think keeping on top of four or five wildflower clearings will be enough and over the years we will be pushing them out along the path so they become longer and longer.

Really looking forward to seeing how this all looks in summer next year!

Paul

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We are now at the start of the cutting back season

This is where it gets to be fun!!

Five of us today so Lizzie and Grace did a huge litter-pick, Mick tackled the scrub on the south side of the underpass, and Marcus and me cleared the suntrap to the north.

What we want is certain points along the path that open up into glades and are full of wildflowers, and attract a lot of wildlife. For this to happen we need full sun. We have learnt to our cost that wildflowers and shade don’t really go hand-in-hand in the look that we are trying to get.

We just pushed back the scrub by about two metres on each side. Plenty left for existing wildlife. Next week we will rake it off and grub out the bramble roots.

It’s all about making the path as interesting as we can, and encouraging as much biodiversity as possible.

Paul

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The R168 Paths

The R168 network of paths are a series of Public Right of Ways that criss-cross between the Dunchurch Bridleway, Cawston Greenway and Cawston Spinney. The land that these paths cross is about to be developed.

This is what we will lose.

This is from the Dunchurch Bridleway looking ahead and then back at the start, middle and where it joins the greenway. We snipped back to this point along the greenway, last week.

I would urge everyone to get out on these paths before all this disappears. It really is a fantastic place to be.

Paul

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Double Workday

We did our usual Wednesday workday going from the snowdrop bench to Berrybanks. This was litter-picking and snipping back bramble. We then did our weekender, which was from the snowdrop bench but this time heading the other way. We got to where we planted the hedge in the glade with the round picnic bench.

We are doing our best to keep it wide enough so that people can walk two-abreast. Everything is starting to go over and die back. It feels like we will be into autumn very soon.

We also chopped back the Dunchurch Nature Trail path last week, so a decent walk and a good path connecting to Cawston Greenway.

A couple of things in the pipeline –

Dino Trail gets an upgrade so new map and dino pics more secure and blending in better.

Geocaching Trail for families with older children, or adults who are into this.

We have named the benches so people have a better bearing of where they are. Will put on map.

Mark all the entrance and exits on the map so people can plan walks better.

Loads of seeds collected so able to create new glades in the autumn.

Hopefully getting an information board that tells people about the history of the path and the wildlife.

That’s about it for this week.

Paul

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Dino Trail is Up and Running

We created our first try at the Dino Trail this week. The trail runs from the quadrant of four benches, toward Potford Dam and the last bench. Each bench has a marker that is in the shape of a dinosaur claw and points to roughly where the dinosaur is hiding.

There is a map and tick-sheet on the Dino Trail tab above. This needs to be more child friendly. We are working on it. Also, the white backing on the discs needs to be brown/green to blend in. This will be done on the first upgrade. We just wanted to get it out there and see if people with youngsters can see any value in having this. Any feedback thankfully received.

The path was very busy today and lots of new and exciting wildflowers showing.

Usual coffee, cake and quick look up and down.

Great to see so much colour and variety.

Please do give us feedback. It’s good to know if we are on the right track or not. The ethos has always been that the path is for everyone.

Paul

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Dino Trail

The railway path is called the Lias Line. This is because it is built on limestone that was formed in the earliest part of the Jurassic period, lasting from about 208 to 178 million years ago. The system of rocks deposited during the Lias, consisting of shales and limestones rich in dinosaur fossils.

With this in mind, I have been trying to put together a trail that has some significance to the path, and is also a fun activity for our younger users.

Meet the team!!

The idea is to have a dino trail with the fellas on circular roundels along the path. I can put a downloadable tick sheet on the blog and hopefully we can eventually get the Augmented Reality bit to work and make everything come alive.

Other that that, me, Marcus and Mick cut back the encroaching growth and litter-picked from Berrybanks to The Bear.

And that really is about it for this week. Lots and lots of hard work ahead when the bird nesting season in over, but for now we are just enjoying the relaxed workdays.

Paul

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Snippety snip!

Once again me and Marcus snipped back about half a mile with our sheers!!! It is pretty tough going. But the coffee and cookies help.

Everybody more than welcome to come along and join in.

Collected poppy seeds from another of my projects. Will be making an area that is just rich in poppies. Looking forwards to that. Imagine wandering through a path of poppies. Devine.

Quick look up and down…

A few more fots of wildflowers. Everything seems to be coming to the end and going over!!! Strange times…

Well done to Lizzie for recording all the wildlife and flora that she is spotting, on iRecord (see tab at the top for more information).

Until next time,

Paul

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Weekender

Our second post-lockdown weekender. Lovely to get out on a Saturday and see loads of different people using the path. We did an urgent cut back on the bit from the snowdrop bench to Potford Dam. It was really getting tight.

We had joggers, walkers and mountain-bikers up and down, so good to feel like we are adding value.

Nice to have a different kind of cookie on our break, great to chat and laugh about stuff. This is such a great thing for mental health. It was pretty hard going today just chopping back the nettles for two hours, but we got there.

Our wildflowers are looking good and seed collection has started for autumn, when we will create new glades and clearings.

We are really happy with how the greenway is shaping up and getting more and more colourful and diverse.

Paul

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Batman and Robin

Well actually bat boxes and a robin nesting box that we needed to get up. What could possibly go wrong?!

After consulting with our wildlife expert, Mick, we felt that the landing-ladders on the boxes were a tadge too short. Luckily we had the tools to improvise and the old boxes to utilise.

Lots of fun getting the things up and really looking forward to them being used.

This clearing has so much going for it. Our bench, bat boxes, the historic bridge, loads of wildflowers coming up where we eased back scrub in the winter, the Cawston Bridleway connection. It is such a great place to be, and holds so many memories of past workdays. I think this was our first clearing some eleven years ago when we started this great adventure.

Here is us having our coffee break and chat.

Thanks to everyone today, we were all superheroes in the way we got around the challenges, and Andrew, for making the things in the first place.

And another superhero is Jade, who sent me these beautiful pics of our wildflowers.

Proper talent and I really hope Jade becomes a regular contributor to the blog.

Next one is our weekender. Saturday 24th. All welcome, sturdy footwear and good gloves. Bring your own snippers so we are not passing stuff back and forth. Meet at the snowdrop bench at 10am

Paul

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