Snip Snip Snip

Snipping back is all we can do right now. With one other person from a different household and socially distanced.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, though.

First off – our snowdrops are starting to come up.

This was covered in dense ivy last year. It will be interesting to watch it grow and mature.

Moving on, we came to a wildflower scallop that we cleared out last year. I have kinda had this continual obsession that the path should resemble a woodland ride and break out into woodland glades at certain points along it.

So basically a nice wide path that breaks out into a number of clearings. All we can do is snip back, so we snipped back the other side of the wildflower scallop and released some of the larger trees.

One of the challenges that we have is that the path runs in a north-north-east direction on this stretch. This means none of the edges of the path are getting maximum sunshine. We can counter this by creating a wavy edge so micro-habitats that face south are allowed to develop. This will give us our greatest biodiversity.

We have one month left until the bird nesting season starts in March. We will then take stock of where we are and wildflower seed the areas where we want lots of colour.

Well done if you made it to here!

Paul

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Ivy

Ivy, love it or hate it… We have too much and it is stopping other things growing. It is also growing up tree trunks and into the canopy, which blocks out sunlight and can weaken the branches.

Before and after shows how little we are removing. Plenty left for insects, birds and foraging animals.

We continued with thinning out the small saplings to give the bigger trees space to grow and mature.

It just feels so much more open and welcoming. The more sunlight that we let in, the more biodiverse and interesting the understory will be.

This is a bit that we haven’t snipped back.

I know what I prefer to look at.

There is still plenty of really wild scrub all the way to the edge of the railway line, and on the other side of the path, as well.

Paul

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Daily Exercise

We are allowed to take our daily exercise on the greenway and do small tasks like a litter pick or snipping back. Only two people at a time and social distancing must be observed.

Today we just snipped back a load of tree saplings and made habitat piles with what we removed.

Thinning these saplings stops dense scrub forming and a tangle of leggy trees that are all competing for the same space. It also allows the trees that are left to reach maturity.

We will be cutting areas on a three to five year rotational basis.

As you can see, it really opens up the path so more sunlight will hit the ground and a more diverse selection of wildflowers will grow. It also feels less hemmed in and intimidating.

Next week we will snip back the ivy to create patches of bare earth. Then we will move onto another block further down the path and do the same again.

Paul

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Tree Release

We had news from Sustrans that we can do workdays as part of our daily exercise. Two people from seperate households at a time. I have had loads of people requesting to help. So sorry but not at the moment. Group workdays are a no-no.

We are going on a tree release bit of a trip. We are just going to clear the scrub around trees and crop out their competition so that they can mature.

We are back next week just cutting out all the tree saplings that are sprouting up. We really don’t need this.

What we want is mature trees in space where they can thrive, and sunlight that can get to the ground so life can prosper under the canopy.

Paul

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone who follows us or indeed, uses the greenway.

Just a socially-distanced litter-pick today.

And I have some super Christmas rocks to put out this afternoon.

https://www.facebook.com/MaggyAnneRocks/

I hope everybody enjoys hunting for them.

Muggins forgot to bring the mince pies but we had a festive and welcome coffee at the end.

Cheers, and look forward to next year!

Paul

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Nearly At The End Of A Long Year

Yeah, it has been a long and frustrating year for all of us. It has been great to see so many people using the greenway and I am glad that we have managed to cobble together workdays.

This week we got our little den up again.

I just love it! I could quite happily spend all day just pottering about. However, Marcus and myself went on a mission to create a clearing opposite the bench.

I actually remembered to take before and after photos today, and also a photo of our habitat pile for all sorts of wildlife. We will wildflower seed in March.

Our usual coffee break and look up and down the path. I cannot quite explain how beneficial this is in terms of brotherhood, kinship and friendship. Just sharing what is on our minds, chatting and making plans. It is good stuff, believe me.

What else have we been up to? I topped up the bird-feeders and made a record of all of our benches.

We have certainly given everyone plenty of places to sit and enjoy a coffee and biscuit. Some have fantastic views, some have wildflower clearings, some are designed for a solitary seat, others for groups. It’s back to that “The Greenway Has Been Created For Everyone” philosophy.

Next week is a litter-pick starting at the Rotherham Close entrance. I will bring some mince pies and coffee. This will be the last one for 2020. I actually have to do some paid work the following Wednesday!!

As always, everybody more than welcome to join us on this great adventure.

Paul

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Back in the Clearing

We were back in our new old clearing this week. Or should that be old new clearing…?

Anyhow, here we are creating an area where people can stop, have a seat at our bench and just enjoy the wildflowers and the wildlife.

We are even allowed to imagine the double-tracked railway-line with up to twenty-two trains whooshing back and forth between Rugby and Leamington. A busy line, indeed.

As always, we pile up the cuttings to make habitat piles for all sorts of wildlife.

We are going to seed the area with a shade-loving wildflower mix in the spring. We are also going to replace the bat-boxes and work to get this bit as biodiverse as possible.

We put in a load of bluebell bulbs on the east side of the path a few years ago, so hopefully we will get a good showing in the spring.

Looking up and down the path.

And a festive cuppa and cookie…

Absolutely anyone is welcome to join us. Totally laid back and easy going. Lots of jobs I am holding off until I can get our Young Autistic Adults back. If you want to get involved, message me or just rock up with decent footwear and gloves.

Paul

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This was our first clearing ten years ago!

A very mixed emotion post here.

We had bats roosting in the tunnel before someone set a fire and drove them out. We put up bat boxes but they don’t have the ladder bits so they are not used.

This was also our first proper clearing and slightly sad that we have let it rewild.

It reminds me of the people who have come and gone on our work parties. Some have gone because they have passed.

I kinda now just want to clear all the scrub out and get a load of wildflower seeds down. However, it is quite shady so we need to box clever.

Coffee, cookies and litter-picked the area. If you want to join us you have to bring cookies, or you are not allowed to join in <JOKE> all welcome!!

Paul

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Ooh! A New Wildflower Clearing!

It is always terrific fun when we put up our den. A mixture of the hilarity of trying to put the thing up, and the schoolboy satisfaction that we have made a den in the woods and now have a camp.

I know, I know… Little things and all that, but it is good fun.

We created a new wildflower clearing opposite our newly secured bench. This is just about as south facing as we can get, so should do very well.

We can keep pushing this area out over the next few years and create a hub similar to the bird-feeder clearing.

It is all about controlling and managing the scrub so that we have as much biodiversity as possible, as well as a usable path and places for people to stop and rest.

We enjoyed coffee and cookies whilst sheltering in our camp. I think we only saw one other person during the whole morning.

A good, if a little wet, morning. Next week we are trying to add ladders to the bat-boxes so they start to get used. That will be interesting.

If anyone wants to join us you will be more than welcome. We are pretty laid-back and just kinda rub along.

Paul

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Bench Maintenance

So this week we decided that we would replant one of our benches. It became uprooted a while ago, but trying to put together a workday where we are able to socially distance, and be a bit sensible, proved a challenge.

It is one of the first benches where we were making the legs too short. We extended the legs so that we would get a lot more purchase from the new cement. Luckily the slope compensates for the short legs and it is quite a comfortable perch.

We are trying to have some sort of a bench every 500 metres or so, it just allows people to sit and enjoy the path and the wildlife.

That is really all we did and we just enjoyed a socially distanced coffee and cookie afterwards.

As always, the cups are put back in the bag after our coffee, and put in the dishwasher when I get home.

We have provisionally booked an Adventure Workshop for Young Autistic Adults for the 9th December. We will be replacing the missing bench in the Youth Quadrant and also the hide bench at the bird-feeder clearing. If lockdown continues we may have to push this date out a bit. I have one person keen to attend and could do with one more…

Here is a picture of the last of the berries on offer.

I can almost feel the long, cold winter approaching.

Paul

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