Outdoor Partnerships Volunteer Supplement

Welcome to the Summer 2018 edition of the Outdoor Partnerships Volunteer Supplement where we give details of some of the work our volunteers have been up to over the last few months.  In this edition: 

P3 Logo

Oswestry Ramblers P3

Ramblers CE

Volunteers from Oswestry’s Parish Paths Partnership (P3) group were thanked for performing a valuable service when they received a recent visit from the chief executive of Britain’s biggest walking organisation.

Vanessa Griffiths, CEO of The Ramblers, also congratulated Shropshire Council on encouraging and training P3 groups to carry out the work the council can no longer afford to undertake and said The Ramblers could be looking to use the county scheme as an example for the rest of the country.

The group was installing two metal kissing gates on a footpath close to Oswestry waterworks on June 8th 2018 when they were visited by Ms Griffiths and Rachael Bailey, the walking organisation’s director of delivery and development, who broke their journey to Shrewsbury for their whistle-stop visit.

They were in the county for a Ramblers' Roadshow held at Shrewsbury Town Football ground the following day.

After chatting with volunteers and answering questions she said she was highly impressed with the projects being carried out.

“I am only sorry that more councils do not train volunteers to take over the maintenance of footpaths and the repair and replacement of stiles. It is clearly working in Shropshire and in these times of austerity it may be the only way to keep them open,” she said.

Huge congratulations should also go to Shropshire Council for the trust and training they afforded the volunteers and to the landowners who co-operated with the programme.

Last week’s work finally opens up a fully-gated link between Mount Road in Oswestry and a point near High Fawr Reservoir, making it available to people with mobility problems.

Oswestry P3

Prees P3

Prees P3

On the 20th July Shropshire Council’s maintenance team and Prees P3 joined forces for a second work day of the year.  

Four maintenance officers and ten volunteers split into four groups.   One group installed a kissing gate, replaced a sleeper bridge and installed a fingerpost on Footpath 27 which runs from Cruckmoor Lane to the B5065.   Previous works on this route took place on another workday, back in April, when three gates were installed and some clearing was undertaken.    This means the route is now fully gated and open and available for users, which is a great effort.

The other groups concentrated their efforts on installing gates on Footpaths 28 and 30 which run south of the B5065.  In total, these groups managed to install five kissing gates and a fingerpost.    It was especially pleasing to have installed three gates on Footpath 28 as previously there was no furniture present for users to access through the fence lines.  The improvements made on all three routes will hopefully be enjoyed by many more walkers.

A big thank you goes to everyone who was involved and especially Matthew (pictured 2nd left below) who organised the work day and who also spoke to all the landowners involved and got them to agree to gates being installed.     Also, special thanks must go to Ruth who supplied delicious cakes again and to Peter who supplied everyone with ice cold beverages.  

Prees P3

Marton P3

Marton, a village in Chirbury, boasts a very active and enthusiastic P3 group who have been operating for over a year now.  In that time they have greatly improved several routes around Marton and increased accessibility by replacing stiles with gates.  More recently the group have ventured further afield into the Chirbury parish to make repairs in preparation for the Montgomery Walking Festival.  Over the last few months the group has repaired 2 stiles, fully replaced 3 stiles, installed a new kissing gate and built some steps to make a path easily accessible (see photo).  The group intend on continuing this work and have planned improvements around Marton Pool with a hope of promoting the walking opportunities in the area with leaflets in the future. 

Martin P3 - Steps and Gate

Cleobury Mortimer Footpath Association

WAW Wall Hanging

For the second year Cleobury Mortimer Footpath Association and Walking for Health have manned a stand at Cleobury Mortimer Community Day.  The town became an accredited Walkers are Welcome town in 2008 and have now, for the first time been loaned the WAW wall hanging to display at their community day in July 2018.  There was so much interest in it when five panels were displayed in the parish hall that the new chair of the council asked if it could be moved to the library for more people to see it.  Fortunately it was not needed urgently by another town so it went there for a further five days.  Val Simpson commented:

"We are very lucky that the Cleobury Parish Paths Partnership, Cleobury Mortimer Footpath Association [CMFA] contributes so positively to our miles of open and well maintained paths involving the whole town community in monthly walks using the route descriptions around the footpaths, a snip and slash summer  campaign   especially around stiles when people are out walking alone or in family  or friendship groups.  We also ask residents to ‘adopt a path ‘‘ near their home to clear in the summer month- brambles and nettles are rampant in the usual summer months. The Town Council has written the role of WAW and CMFA into the emerging town plan which has gone out to consultation with all voluntary groups who believe that the town supports the importance of welcoming and providing for walkers. This has led to changes being considered by the Council for signage of paths leading into, through, and out of our town."

If you would like to find out where your nearest P3 group is or for information about setting up a group in your parish please email helen.beresford@shropshire.gov.uk or call 01743 255957.  More information can also be found on the Parish Paths Partnership webpage.

Volunteer Rangers

Scouts at Corbet Wood

Scout Logo

Wem scout group have recently visited Corbett Wood to brush up on their outdoor skills and to help tidy up the site following a series of tree safety works which left large piles of brash at the sides of the paths.

The scouts practised their fire lighting skills, as well as use of bow saws, loppers and axes to cut the piles into manageable sizes to be burnt to reduce the amount of material stacked on site.
The scouts put in a huge 77and a half hours’ worth of work into tidying the site and really enjoyed their time getting out of the scout hut and into the woods and hope to be able to come back again soon.

Severn Valley Country Park

Green Flag Award

Our volunteers have been working hard on not only Severn Valley Country Park but also at supporting volunteers at our other sites.

With the help of our volunteers at the Country Park we have gained the national Green Flag Award for the 15th consecutive year! This is national award that recognises the very best standards in the management of country parks and nature reserves and without the help of our 35 volunteers we would not have been able to achieve this. Our Thursday Group continues to go from strength to strength. We now have eight regular volunteers and still have room for more!

We are recruiting event and education volunteers to help Rangers with a busy event and education programme at the Country Park. With over 50 schools visiting every year and a busy events calendar, potential volunteers will get the chance to help with activities such as pond dipping, minibeast hunts, orienteering, nature crafts and large-scale events such as our annual 10k run. The role of Education and Events Volunteer will require individuals to undergo a Disclosure Barring Service Check (DBS Check, previously known as CRB) provided by Shropshire Council and will need to complete a volunteer registration form. If you wish to find out more please call 01746 781192 and speak to James Brookes or Sarah Fortune who will be pleased to meet with you to tell you more.

Our volunteers have been successful in obtaining a grant of £500.00 from Veolia to pay for a new butterfly and bee garden in the main car park. This has been enhanced by the kind donation of plants from Ashwood Nurseries of Kingswinford and Cook’s Nurseries of Stourport. Already the garden is looking well established and is attracting lots of pollinators!

We are unable to take anymore new volunteers on a Tuesday but we would very much welcome new members to join our Thursday group. The Thursday group will meet mostly at Severn Valley Country Park at Alveley but will from time to time meet at other countryside sites in South Shropshire. Please ring 01746 781192 for more information or email James Brookes.

SVCP Volunteers

Stanmore Country Park (Nr Bridgnorth)

Common Orchid

The volunteer group here have been working with our Thursday Group from Severn Valley and have sown lots of Orchid and Yellow Rattle seeds in the meadows. Species rich hay was taken from Severn Valley Country Park and spread on the meadows at Stanmore. This has been done for the last three years and it is already proving to be successful as we now have lots of Yellow Rattle growing and some Orchids have been appearing. We have also put in a refurbished entrance sign which looks really good and tells people about what they can see at the site.

More volunteer days are planned at Stanmore, please ring 01746 781192 for more information.

Donington Pool Local Nature Reserve (Albrighton)

Donington Pool

The volunteer group here now number six regular volunteers and have been joined over the last few months by members of our Thursday group. Recently the group have cleared the channel of the Humphreston Brook to reduce the risk of flooding, maintained the paths through St Cuthbert’s Meadow and with the help of the Thursday Group a new green path and dead hedge has been made in St Cuthbert’s Meadow to provide a circular walk. Wild flower seed has been scattered and it is hoped that more flowers will come through next year.

If you are interested on becoming a volunteer on one of our 24 sites around Shropshire, or to find out more information, visit our webpage, email lee.fraser@shropshire.gov.uk or call 01743 255956.

Wild Team

Shropshire Wild Teams

The Wild Teams have been busy as ever in Spring/Summer 2018, returning to sites as well as starting work on new sites with different partners. The teams have coped brilliantly in the heat, still managing to get jobs done despite the tough conditions. Wild Teams had a brilliant opportunity recently to undertake a Spider & Harvestman Identification course at the Fields Studies Centre, which was enjoyed by everyone who went, hopefully we’ll be able to put it into practice with some of our future surveys. Throughout August, all of the teams will be focusing on Wildlife Surveys, and with both our old and new partners will be busy into the winter. The project as a whole is still searching for future funding, and if all goes well we hope to introduce the John Muir Award for our volunteers.

Oswestry Tigers

Oswestry Tigers

The Tigers have recently started some new partnership work over the border in Wales, working with the Dee Valley AONB, with plans to work with Wrexham Council too. The team have already got stuck in to some Rhododendron clearance and hope to return soon to do some more work for Dee Valley AONB. The team have also continued to work with the Canal and Rivers Trust as well as the Shropshire Wildlife Trust, doing tasks like path clearance and bracken bruising, which is especially important as everything is growing so rapidly.