Bench maintenance southbound

For those who worried that we had chopped the path too wide – nature has fought back!! It is no longer wide.

Really good to see a lot of new wildflowers coming up in what was scrubby bramble or invasive ivy. There is going to be a huge burst of colour along this path anytime soon.

We slapped another coat of Ronseal on the benches and got rid of the vegetation growing underneath. What we are trying to do is make it so you kinda discover the benches as a bit of a surprise and are encouraged to sit and relax.

Lastly a coffee and cookie break next to our wildflowers. I really hope to get the wildflowers to be more and the nettles to be less.

Workdays are back and published on the side bit.

Paul

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Schoolboy Error

We placed our lovely refurbished bench under a tree. It did look rather nice, until our feathered friends started plopping on it.

Nobody is going to risk sitting here!

So, after carefully checking for any nesting birds, we made a clearing next to the tree with clear blue sky above.

That’s better.

Loads of happy and chatty people using the path. I don’t know why, but the green space does seem to bring out the best in people.

Customary look up and down the path.

And that really was it.

Next week we are meeting at the snowdrop bench and will either go north or south, depending on whether I can get any postfix.

Paul

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Not Another Bench Blog!

You are let off this week. There is a national shortage of postfix so we cannot put our bench in. Phew! I hear.

So we litter picked the whole path and just chatted as we went.

Plus a coffee and cake break, of course…

Someone has made a symbol on one of our benches and is burning candles. This is cool. The greenway is for everyone.

We are now allowed groups of six so I will sort out weekend workdays. It is all looking good.

Paul

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Benches part 4

We stained the rest of our benches this week, starting at what was the quadrant of four, more on this later.

Two coats of Ronseal’s finest. Muggins here forgot that the benches serve as a great surface to crack open the coffee, so we had to settle for the ground whilst waiting for the benches to dry!! Whilst I love freshly ground coffee, I think possibly not in this way!

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It’s all about looking after the work we have done over previous years and getting the most out of it. Judging by the rain we have had since, it was a good move.

Our good friend, Andrew, has made us a replacement bench for the one that is missing at the set of four. We used it further down the path when it got kicked over. This means we will have our quadrant back and is a great meeting place for larger groups. We put this in next week and, I promise, no further bench blogs after that.

Views from the quadrant.

I am in the process of getting the bits sorted for a once a month weekend-workday, and also trying to get the recording of wildflowers and insects bit, up and running. Should be able to share next week.

Paul

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Benches part 3

This is a story about a bench. This particular bench had been given to us by local resident, Kate. It had seen better days but we refurbished it and gave it a whole new lease of life.

This is so good on so many levels. Local community helping out, restoring a broken bench, giving others a chance to sit and have a picnic and enjoy the greenway, This could have so easily ended up down the tip, but now gets to live on in useful service for many more years.

Many thanks to Marcus for pulling the bench apart and rebuilding it.

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We enjoyed a coffee and macaroon after the long haul of getting the bench in position. And you see that rucksack – that was gifted to us by another lovely local resident, Jemma.

Nice to share a good news story.

Paul

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Benches part 2

Second week of a bit of TLC for our benches. We tightened the nuts and screws on the picnic benches and carried on with staining them.

Actually managed to remember a before and after picture this week!

We have the quadrant bench set and the small one-seater benches left to do next week. We also have our refurbished picnic bench to put in. Looking forward to getting this in place and creating a pleasant setting around it.

I did the obligatory litter-pick and did the quick-look-up-and-down photos.

Nice and wide so plenty of sunshine able to get to the edges of the path and encourage new things to grow. Spotted and recorded Small White and Orange-tip butterflies.

Our good friend, Andrew, has made us some replacement bat boxes so we need to schedule putting them up over the next week or two.

Loads of wildflowers starting to come up. I took photos with my phone but they are not close enough and of sharp focus. I will redo and we can try and identify and record everything that we see this year.

Lastly, just as we were packing up we had a massive hail storm!!

Crazy weather.

Paul

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Benches part 1

This week and next is all about the benches. We stained six so far and next week we will tighten up the joints on the picnic-style ones and give them another coat on the top surfaces.

We also put down a load of wildflower seeds. Every bench has to have a bit of a feature. This being a decent view across the heath, a busy wildflower patch, or birds darting in and out of a hedge.

We have another picnic bench to put in somewhere along the trail. This is one that we have refurbished and will make a really good story in a few weeks time.

Loads of people using the path today and hopefully nobody sat down and ended up with a stripy bottom.

Still waiting to hear if we can revert to fully manned workdays and also start our once-a-month weekender day. As soon as we can I will let everyone know.

Paul

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Waterworks Part 1

We have decided that we need to keep an eye on the waterway under the path. This area flooded badly in the winter so we just need to see what is going on.

After checking to make sure there were no nesting birds, we eased a path to allow us to see what is going in, and what is coming out. If it is simply too much volume of water we cannot do much about it. What we can do though, is keep the brook clear of branches and other blockages.

Part 2 of this will be at the other end just before Potford Dam. Here the brook runs parallel with the path, so hopefully we can incorporate it into our habitat management. There used to be a reedbed so looking forward to encouraging that to flourish.

The usual look up and down shows a nice dry path.

hard to imagine that this was waterlogged a couple of months ago.

Next week we are starting a bench maintenance program at the Cawston Bridleway cutting and heading south.

Paul

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New bench with a cracker of a view

The nice thing about being a volunteer group, is that we are not under any time or financial pressure. We can think about stuff and hopefully do things that are a little more geared towards the long-term.

With the new bench, our thoughts were this – 1, slightly closer to residential homes than other benches so needs to be a single seat (don’t want groups hanging around it). 2, sits slightly higher due to flat ground and help people to see over the gate. 3, we like every bench to have a bit of a feature, be it a decent view, feeding birds, wildflower mini-meadow, or even just a great place to meet (The Quadrant) to have a coffee and chat.

This bench was most definitely about the view.

Hear is us putting the bench in, from conception to finish.

And this is the view taken from here over the last ten years.

And that is it. A favourite place for so many people now has somewhere for us to sit and enjoy the tranquillity.

The path is still incredibly busy and everybody coming past were happy and chatty.

A quick look up, around and down as we have our coffee and macaroons.

Next week we are down at Berrybanks clearing the brook.

Paul

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Litter picked and snipped

It felt like we were never going to get to the end of our litter picking and snipping back sessions over the last few months.

But we eventually got to the little triangle of light at the end.

Everything is really greening up now, and on this section we have allowed a tunnel effect to happen. We are still getting dappled sunlight coming through, but maybe just monitor it over the summer to see if we need to cut a couple of glades into it. This will encourage biodiversity and help to keep the path dry.

I really want us to get back into the good habit of recording the flora and fauna (see iRecord button above). So far I have seen and recorded a couple of pairs of Brimstone butterflies and a Peacock or two. It adds to the diversity of the path for different users and, hopefully, one day a Cawston wildlife monitoring group will pop up.

In light of a recent conversation about managing the grassland between the greenway and Cave Close and creating a wildflower meadow, it does seem like good timing.

It’s just another opportunity for a group of like-minded people to gather and do their thing, share coffee and cookies, and forge friendships.

We are waiting to see what is happening with the Right of Way R168x.

The Dunchurch Bridleway needs a good snip back in the Autumn. It doesn’t get anywhere near the amount of traffic that Cawston gets, so it could do with a little help to make it feel a bit more welcoming.

We have our Young Autistic Adults program to restart as soon as we are allowed to have larger groups. This will involve fun activities on the greenway to develop confidence, networking and skills within this group. We will be filming what we are doing and then editing it into a short video clip for our youtube channel. It’s all good fun and creates yet another strand of interest and activity, for whoever fancies their hand at working with video editing and creation.

Plenty of happy and chatty people using the path as we worked away.

It is looking pretty decent now that it has dried out, even if I say so myself!!

Hopefully we will get news of further lifting of restrictions this week and can crack on with our plans.

Paul

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