The new Shropshire's Great Outdoors website is a huge success and hits to the site are easily out numbering those to the former walking and riding sites with over 8000 users in March alone. There are still more routes to be added and these will be done over the coming months and we are working with partners to add further countryside sites,. However, the site is already looking to be the most comprehensive resource for outdoor recreation in Shropshire. If you have a walk you would like added to the site and you have a downloadable pdf to accompany it please email it to us and we will get it uploaded to allow everyone to enjoy it!
A new Beckbury P3 group has been set up to focus primarily
on the Bridleways around the Parish. Their first outing was to address a bridge issue on
the Chesterton bridleway which was in dire need of re-decking after a number of
holes appeared in the existing deck boards.Zeena and Adam met on a cold but dry morning to rip out the old boards
and reinstall some new non-slip ones in surprisingly quick time!Also on the day the maintenance team
addressed some essential drainage issues which were having an adverse effect on
the surface at the top of the track, this had been brought to the attention of the team by Zeena and Adam who regularly ride the route and were having increasing concerns about being able to use it safely.They diverted the waterflow through a new pipe system and reinstating
the surface with stone.This route
provides a beautiful walk and ride descending down from Chesterton to Stratford
Brook and up through deciduous woodland to Rudge and thanks to Zeena and Adam’s
efforts the bridge is safe for both horse and rider.
A glorius morning was spent out with two of the Much Wenlock P3 volunteers, Ron and John, installing waymark posts along a route near Presthope car park on Wenlock edge. There was a difficulty in getting to site so everything needed to be walked in but lucky there was just the right number of arms and legs and enthusiasm to complete the work. A section of clearing was also done on the day which has made the route much easier to navigate. The route is now clearly marked and takes you through some beautiful countryside and the work done is a perfect example of how a little effort can make a huge improvement. Thank you Ron and John!
Since mid January and following local publicity the Shrewsbury P3 group now have 6 new members, bringing the total to 14 regular volunteers. This has eased the pressure on the 8 previous volunteers.
As a result they have done 10 sessions and worked 355.5 volunteer hours compared with 5 sessions and 77 hours in the previous 3 months.
As is its nature, Shrewsbury P3 has travelled to several parts of the county to work. There were two work parties to finish off the hardcoring of the path at the Mount in Shrewsbury.
They have also completed 7 work parties in the
Rushbury/Ticklertonarea, 4 miles east
of Church Stretton. One of the jobs here was to install a 20 foot long bridge and as you can see from the picture above the old one was in dire need of replacement.
Getting it across the stream was an ‘all hands on deck’
job. There were six P3ers, 3 of them new members. We also repaired a stile and
installed a couple of steps from a kissing gate down to the road for good measure. I think you'll all agree the end result is a vast improvement and all the work done here should open up a number of walks which could previously only be walked with difficulty. Well done to everybody on this sometimes soggy day. The
only things that ran out of energy were thecordless drills!
In addition to all this the team has replaced 7 stiles and fitted
new steps to another 13. They have also erected 7 kissing gates, 3 sleeper
bridges,, and 7 finger posts. To keep up to date with all of Shrewsbury Ramblers activities why not visit their Facebook Page.
Trefonen hillwalk weekend raises thousands of
pounds for charity each year, and has included a long walk since the year 2000.
Each year numbers have increased and we now have over 200 walkers enjoying the
countryside in north west Shropshire and into Powys, hence the name,
'Across The Cynllaith.' The walk gives two options- 10 miles circular, or 16
miles in a figure of eight. Whichever distance is chosen, the route crosses a
stream in a delightful dingle to the west of Trefonen. Unfortunately, the
ground either side of the stream is always soft and muddy: this year it has
been worse then ever.
The Trefonen & Treflach P3 group were determined
to improve the crossing by putting in a bridge. Helen Beresford and Andy Lipa
from Shropshire Outdoor Partnerships were contacted, the landowner was
consulted and gave his blessing, and eventually a plan was formulated and a
date set. In essence, Andy supplied the brains and we provided some
muscle. Five local volunteers plus Andy was just the right number to clear the
area, move heavy sleepers into position, and stake the sleeper beds in place. A
wire mesh was then stapled on the surface for grip. Although the weather was
cold, and we got slightly muddy, we had great fun and we are extremely pleased
with the end result. The real test will be when 'Across The
Cynllaith' walkers traverse the bridge on 28th May!
For more information or an entry form for Trefonen Hillwalk Weekend click here or to find out what else the Trefonen & Treflach P3 have been up to click on the link.
Three members of the Longden P3 group went out to address a few issues on a route in Annscroft.The three Davids soon got to work on installing a new kissing gate and replacing some handrails and deck boards on a footbridge.A gate at the end of the bridge was also installed which replaced some railing used for stock control.The Longden P3 have been active in the Parish for some time and even on a short walk around the area you will come across some of their work particularly in changing stiles to gates and installing dog gates by existing stiles, this work has formed great links between Hook-a-gate, Annscroft, and Longden.Thanks for a great morning’s work David, David and David!
The heavy rainfall during last autumn and winter caused many
problems to local paths, but especially to the path north of Shifnal towards
Coppice Green, where the slope up from the road proved too slippery for many
Shifnal Pathfinders to the rescue! With the willing
assistance of our ROW contact Tim Simmons the team installed a log handrail
alongside the path, enabling residents and visitors alike to climb the path and
complete their walks in all weathers
The new Norbury P3 and Shrewsbury Ramblers P3 came together for some joint working on a project at Birchope, near Bridges. The Wonder of Wentnor and Norbury Walk for the Bishop's Castle Walking Festival was due to go through the area and one particular section was difficult to negotiate in all weathers. With the help of David Hardwick the two teams got together to revet the side of a steep slope and install some steps. All in all 50 volunteer hours went into this project but, as can be seen in the pictures, the work has made a great improvement to this part of the network. There is still some jobs to address in the area and the next party is planned for the 25th of May. A big thank you to both groups for all their hard work.
In the area surrounding Bridgnorth we have four different volunteer groups helping us to keep our nature reserves and country parks in good order. Here is an update on some of the things they have achieved recently.
Spring 2016 sees us working towards attaining the Green Flag
Award for the Country Park for the 13th year in a row. The Green
Flag Award is a national award given to places attaining high standards in the
a) A welcoming place, b) Healthy, safe and secure, c) Clean
and well maintained, d) Sustainability,
e) Conservation heritage, f) Community involvement, g)
Marketing, h) Management.
Severn Valley Country Park has won this award every year
since 2004 making us the first site in the County to gain the award. Work that
the volunteers have done recently include repairing park furniture, installing
a new gate and access into one of our meadows, repairing a pool by one of the waterfalls
and helping with the 2016 Severn Valley Duck Race!
We also had a group of Geocachers from the West Midlands region volunteer at the park for a morning. This was part of International Cache In, Trash Out Day (CITO) where Geocachers are encouraged to do some volunteering on an open space before going off and finding Geocaches on site. We had 20 people turn up on the day, some from as far away as Kenilworth and Alcester in Warwickshire. They did a fantastic job of cleaning off one of our all ability paths. In just two hours they cleaned a 20 metre length. One of the participants was in a wheelchair and was very pleased to know that their hard work would benefit other visitors and make their visit more enjoyable. They enjoyed it so much that they have already asked to come back and do more on site soon!
Over the past few months the volunteers and Probation
Service have been working hard on a number of projects.
The volunteers built a Minibeast hotel out of wooden pallets
and items found around the site. They have been preparing for an open day to be
held on Sunday 15th May 12 noon–4pm to which everyone is
invited. There will be lots of stalls and guided walks around the site and a
chance to meet the volunteers. The Probation Service have been laying new paths through the
woods and have cleared an area ready for the installation of a bird hide.
The volunteers at Stanmore have been successful in obtaining
a grant of £8,000 from the Bags of Help Scheme to fund improvements to the
Country Park. These include new interpretation boards depicting the history of the
site and paths upgraded for easy access.A new way-marked walk linking the park with the Hermitage, a route that
RAF trainees used to follow. Overgrown footpaths will be cleared so that local
people can enjoy exploring this wonderful area of Bridgnorth. The natural
heritage of the park will also be enhanced. The site was once home to several
rare black poplar trees, these were lost in high winds. The grant will pay for
planting an avenue of these amazing trees, as well as a commemorative poppy bed
and a community orchard. Work will start on these projects in the near future
and the group are holding a number of events for the public over the summer.
These include a bat walk on Saturday 21st May, green hay strewing
and collecting yellow rattle seed from Severn Valley Country Park on Sunday 24th
July and preparing land for the orchard planting on Sunday 25th
Our volunteers have been working with the Probation Service
on tidying up the area around Donington Pool ready for the spring. This has
already had benefits as it has allowed more light onto the woodland floor which
has caused an increase in the number of Bluebells flowering this spring. We
have welcomed a new volunteer who has settled in really well and now we have
four regular practical volunteers. At our last volunteer day we repaired a
broken fence and prepared the site for the next open day which are
held on the first Saturday in the month 10am – 4pm. With the help of volunteers
from Severn Valley Country Park we have installed two new memorial benches near
St Cuthbert’s Meadow and one of these was in memory of a one of the founder
members of the volunteer group Brian Jones. His son and daughter in law were
present at the installation of the bench.
A big thank you to all our volunteers at our sites for all
their hard work. If you would like to join any of our groups or would like to
find out more please contact the staff at Severn Valley Country Park by calling
Two new Community Wildlife Groups have been set up for the River Camlad catchment area, and the Rea Brook catchment area . Members decide which species and habitats are important to them, and concentrate on threatened wildlife, helping existing populations and habitat to be conserved.
For more information on these groups or to see a schedule of their upcoming events please follow this link.
The Green Team spent a day planting hazel and hawthorn whips to create a hedge under the rockface of Earls Hill in Pontesford. The day started with
digging into very difficult rocky soil (more rock than soil) but undeterred the team soldiered on to complete the task in hand. The area has seen a
lot of the trees felled recently to restore the original scree habitat,
favoured by insects such as the grayling butterfly and flora such as bloody crane’s-bill. However it is also a good area for dormice.
Now much of the cover has been removed “safe” routes are harder to come by.
The planting of the hedge will provide a corridor for mammals to use. They
then helped with stacking logs against trees on the lower slopes. These were
the trees that had been felled higher up last year. Other tasks the Green Team have undertaken have been hedgelaying, clearing brash along the Montgomery Union Canal, installing a gate in Bayston Hill, waymarking assessments for Nils and Poles Coppice, curlew surveys and wildflower surveys.
Team Alpaca have been very busy replacing stiles for gates in a variety of locations across Shropshire. Changing stiles to gates is an important principle in making the wonderful countryside of Shropshire more accessible to a wide range of abilities. Team Alpaca successfully upgraded two stiles for gates in one day on a route near Ticklerton and as you can see from the picture below it is a path well worth walking to enjoy the spectacular views to be had.
Other activities that have been undertaken by Team Alpaca include clearance and other works for the National Trust on Wenlock Edge and Long Mynd and helping out with the curlew survey out in the Clee Hill area. There have also been a number of tasks undertaken for the Discovery Centre in Craven Arms including hazel coppicing and the creation of a butterfly habitat to help attract a variety of butterfly species to the centre. The butterfly garden will not only serve as something pleasing for visitors to look at but attracting butterflies will help will pollination of plants around the centre.
The Elite Crew have been busy over the last few months on a variety of activities including hedgelaying, clearing vegetation at Nesscliffe and working on behalf of the Cambrian Railway project and Shropshire Wildlife Trust on clearance work. The have also been clearing paths at Llanymynech Limeworks to help people get around the site more easily. Other activities have included helping with the curlew survey, planting wild flowers in West Felton's churchyard and painting locks on the Montgomery Canal. It's a testament to the team that they undertake such a variety of task and thank you all for your hard work.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Wild Teams or you have any work you think the groups would like to get involved with please email Simon Brown or phone on 01743 255055
The Shawbury Walking for Health group celebrated their 8th
birthday in April 2016.
This group is led by Margaret and Tony Cook, with
administrative support by Jan Bailey.
The group continues to go from strength to strength with an
average of 30 walkers on a Monday morning.
The walks start at the village hall
at 10 o'clock and last about an hour. Sometimes they may decide to go further
afield outside of the Shawbury area and go to somewhere like Haughmond Hill which offers a mud
free, flat path, opening to spectacular views. Each walk ends with
refreshments back at the village hall. If you like to join one of these walks just turn up on the day and you'll find a warm welcome.
Radio 4 recently approached us
to participate in their programme ‘Open Country’. This is a regular
feature highlighting places around the country that has a particular current
issue. At the moment there is a planning application to build a housing
estate at the bottom of the hill fort in Oswestry. The programme was to
discuss the importance of this sight to local people. The walking group
were interviewed as regular users of the hill fort and asked about why they
come and walk there. In the end, this interview was not used but
the walkers enjoyed the media attention and got their picture on the website and it was a good excuse to go for a
walk up on the hill fort.
Well done and thank you to Heather, Sid, Linda, Graham,
Alison and Syd who all trained as Walk leaders in April. It is great to have you on the team!
A big thank you to all our wonderful Volunteer walk leaders
for all that you are doing to support people in getting out and enjoying the
Walking for Health and Next Steps walks in the county.
The next Walk Leader training day will be on 24th
June at Shirehall so if you know of anyone who would like to train to help back
mark or lead our walks around the county then they can email Mick Dunn Walking
Coordinator or call on 01743 255059
for more details and a booking form, many thanks.
A new Grade 3 WFH walk started on Thursday 31st
March at Church Stretton. The walk is enabling more people in the community to
enjoy further walking opportunities and has bridged the gap between the other
graded walks on offer. It will also enable a progression for those who are able
to move up the grades in to the other groups which is fantastic. The first walk
attracted 11 people and numbers have been between 5 and 11 walkers on
subsequent weeks, so well done and many thanks to Trish, John and the team of
volunteers at Church Stretton who have enabled this to happen and distributed
the promotion to help spread the word. The walk leaves at 10.30am every
Thursday from Mayfair community centre.
If you are interested in helping with this walk then please
contact Trish Howard or Helen d’Albert on 01743 255059,
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