Saturday, 3 March 2012

Workday on the Cudworth Spur - 26th February 2012

This is the first of a number of workdays, which are planned on the Cudworth Spur. The trail in places has become narrow from the overspill of soil and grass on to the Tarmac and these workdays are planned to tackle those areas and to remove any vegetation that is impeding trial users.  
We were due to meet at the junction of the Lundwood/Cudworth Spur at 1000hrs. 1000hrs came and went, so my wife, my three kids and myself made a start. Marie, Corey and me got stuck straight in, Marie and me by removing the soil from our first area and Corey by removing the small saplings that had decided to take root at the side of the path. The youngest two of my tribe decided to go explore the woods close by while we got stuck in

My first thoughts were correct, when I first planned these workdays in and that was that it would be very labour intensive and tiring. It was very slow going due to all the roots that were in the soil. And those pesky kids, that kept coming passed on the mini motorbike certainly slowed us down, every few minutes they came whizzing pass with no consideration to other trail users. Descriptions were taken and passed on to the local police force.

The trail was very busy with cyclists, walkers and joggers who made comments about the work we were doing. One of the more funny comments from a cyclist was “you keep cleaning and we’ll keep using”. A couple jogging stopped for a quick chat, which was nice as this gave us a chance to have a rest. Corey on the other hand continued with his task of cutting back any branches or saplings that impeded the trail. The joggers thanked us for our hard work and set off in the direction of Lundwood. We stopped at 1200hrs for a spot of light lunch, cheese and ham sandwiches and a packet of crisps.

Feeling refreshed we continued our onslaught and with a bribe of either a McDonalds ice-cream or milkshake we managed to even get Peta-Marie and Arron to help out. We made good progress and as you can see from the picture below, we certainly have made a difference and widen the trail back to its form width. On the way back to the car, we got stopped by three cyclists who gave us some very encouraging words and thanked us for helping to maintain the trail.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Workday at Wath Road - 25/02/2012

During the inspection ride last week (19/02/12), along the Timberland Trail, we happened upon this very bad section between Wath Road and Cortonwood Retail Park. It was decided to put on an extra workday to tackle this area. It would seem that this is an easy spot for fly tippers to dump their load.  At the top of the embankment to the right of the pictures (below) is a small road off Knollbeck Lane, which backs on to the Trans Pennine Trail.

We met at the entrance of the TPT on Wath Road at 1000hrs and made our way to the area that needed the most attention. Armed with litterpickers, black bags and a bit of fodder we started the onslaught against the mass of rubbish. My daughter Peta-Marie was shocked at the amount of rubbish in the area, but this did not deter her from helping out.

My youngest Arron, even gave a helping by moving some of the larger pieces. By 1100hrs, we have made a massive difference to the area and had collected 12 bags of rubbish, removed a large piece of carpet, wood, plastic containers and numerous other items. We stopped for a quick break and a chocolate biscuit before we continued our assault on the on the rubbish. A number of people past us and spurred us on with their kind comments.

The morning soon disappeared and we moved into the afternoon, not deterred with the amount of work still outstanding, we continue with the offensive. Kate, Marie (the wife) and Corey (my son) continued working hard scrambling up and down the embankment picking litter. Slowly but surely, we could see the light at the tunnel and the area was looking at lot better and a lot cleaner. We stopped at 1245hrs for a spot of lunch and a quick breather, not to mention to rest our aching bodies.

Feeling refreshed we continued for a while longer before tidying up. We collected a massive 25 bags of litter, a steak knife, a fork and a screw driver amongst other things. That particular stretch is looking a lot better, but after a quick scour around it would seem that it needs a lot more work to clean that entire stretch, so more days will be planned it to tackle the area.

I would like to thank my wife and kids for helping out and to Kate who is the Workday Organiser for Penistone – Dunford Bridge Section of the TPT, who travelled all the way from Denby Dale to give us a hand. As you can see from the picture below, we have made a massive improvement. Thanks everyone.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Inspection Ride – Old Royston to RSPB Old Moor (Return) – 29th January 2012

It was a cold crisp morning, registering -0.5°c on the dashboard clock as I pulled in to the lay-by on Cold Hiendley Common Lane, near Haw Park Wood and jettisoned my bike off the rear of my car and made my way to the entrance of the Trans Pennine Trail on Navvy Lane/Notton Lane.

I was met by fellow ranger John Sheriff, where we waited 15mins to see if anyone else would join us. At 1015hrs we sent off.

The trail itself is in pretty good condition, there was some muddy stretches and some dry, but nothing major. There were a few areas that needed some attention,  a small stretch near Monk Bretton that is in a serious need of a litter pick and a section in Lundwood that seems to draw people to start fires, a wheelie bin had been set alight and just left in situ, not very visually pleasing when you cycle past. Also just pasted Wombwell there is another area that could do with a litter pick.

Once at RSPB Old Moor it was time for a quick brew stop and a chance to discuss what we had encountered on the way down. This was followed by cycling back to Old Royston. I find it better cycling both ways, as sometimes you can miss things, which you would not normally see.

Once back at Old Royston we had a quick chat before we went our separate ways and made our way home.

Next inspection ride will be from RSPB Old Moor to Wortley (return) on the 19th February 2012, again it’s a 1000hrs meet, at the car park at Old Moor.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Workday at Bullhouse Lane Bridge - 8th January 2012

If you’re not sure where Bullhouse Lane Bridge is, it’s the bridge which crosses over the trail just after Bullhouse Bridge, travelling towards Dunford Bridge.  Like Ecklands Bridge, Bullhouse Lane Bridge had become overshadowed by saplings and new growth – but not for long!

Several people turned up prepared to do battle and having introduced ourselves, the task, and the tools, we were soon busy lopping, chopping and chatting - cutting back overhanging branches, trimming bushy growth, and removing a number of cunning-but-not-cunning-enough young trees. We needed no shelter from rain this time - the weather was warm and (occasionally) sunny. I saw several people having to take their coats off!   

We soon began to make a difference - letting the light and air in, which in turn will encourage wild flowers to grow and allow the surface to dry out. It was tricky dealing with the brash and cut timber, as we were working on a section with steep sides, but fortunately we had John and Trevor to direct us in trimming branches and creating habitat piles.

It was very satisfying to think that not only were we improving the trail for its users, but - in creating habitat piles - also leaving something useful in our wake, and supporting the biodiversity of the trail. I’m hoping we can be more pro-active in this respect on future workdays – any ideas welcome.

It wasn’t until I was on the way home that I realised I hadn’t actually had my lunch. I meant to have it, and then got busy on something else and forgot all about it, and in fact we were still working as the light began to fail. I wonder if those BMBC rangers put something in the tea…

The cyclists, walkers, and horse riders who passed by were very enthusiastic about what we were doing. Some of them stopped for a chat, and a good number asked how they could become involved. Later in the week I bumped into two walkers who expressed their delight at the differences they had noticed. I admit we haven’t perfected the entire Penistone – Dunford Bridge section of the trail overnight, as I first anticipated - but the work we have done is clearly being noticed and appreciated by the people who use it.

I was pleased that we were joined on the workday by a number of people who are not rangers but who use the trail regularly and would like to help to look after it. I hope we can persuade more of them to become involved in time. Who knows, that idea of perfecting the Penistone – Dunford Bridge section overnight may not be so far-fetched after all….

Come and join us for our next workday: Sunday 5th February

                                                    Lopping, Chopping, and Chatting guaranteed.
                                                     Free tea, coffee, and biscuits – bring a mug!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Volunteer Workday at Leapings Lane - 6th November 2011

Sunday dawned with blue skies and bright sunshine. This was particularly remarkable, sandwiched as it was between days which were cold, grey, and damp. On this - first workday that I had organised on the Trans Pennine Trail - I have to admit to being a touch over-ambitious in my aims for the day. I can see, in retrospect, that it was unlikely we would be able to clear all the vegetation, remove all the litter and clean all the signs, along a mile and a quarter stretch of the trail between Leapings Lane and Shore Hall Lane. The sunshine I had assumed was, however, with us all the day, as was a plentiful supply of tea, coffee and biscuits (thank you Sarah!), and good spirits. 

We were lucky enough to have with us two BMBC Rangers, Kim and Steve, and it quickly became apparent (in the nicest possible way) that they knew a lot more about the trail, and its upkeep, than I did. This was tremendously useful and saved us a great deal of time and effort - rather than expending our energy cutting down untidy brambles and long grass which the winter weather would sort out, we turned our attention to dealing with the foliage and saplings actually impeding the trail, clearing rubbish and tall weeds from around the seating areas and the bridge, and cleaning signs. Kim and Steve also made a brilliant job of clearing the steps access at Leapings Lane.

Of course it was not all hard work – lopping, chopping, chatting, and breaks for lunch and for a cup of tea soon put the time in. It was surprising how much difference, between us, we made to the trail: areas which had been overhung with branches were opened up, unsightly litter vanished, signs sparkled in the sun, and seats became inviting places to pause and enjoy the view.
In fact the warm sunshine kept us working away until well into the afternoon. The three youngest volunteers: Corey, Peta-Marie (carrying twigs away, right), and Arron Hurley, worked hard along with the rest of us - a special well done to them.

The trail itself was very busy throughout the day with a variety of users - horse-riders, walkers with and without dogs, families walking and on bikes, and cyclists: male and female, in groups, and on their own. Many of them expressed their thanks or appreciation for our work and generally cheered us on.
A good day for the trail, and for us! Come and join us on our next workday: Lopping, Chopping, Chatting, free tea and coffee, guaranteed - and probably Sunshine.

Sunday 4 December @ Bullhouse Bridge 1000 - 1600hrs

Kate Dobson Workday Organiser (Sustrans Volunteer Ranger 11232)
th November

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Penistone Agricultural Show - 10th September 2011

Not my best planned event, but a success thanks to Sarah Ford and her team, who brought a number of items from the TPT Office.

For me I spent the morning walking round the show with my family, looking at the stalls and really enjoyed the mountain bike skills demonstration and the poultry competition. Next year I don’t think there will be any need to buy food from Tesco’s prior to going in, because if you walk round the trade stands there’s normally samples you can try and most of the food we bought, we brought home.

In the afternoon, I spent 3hrs helping out on the stall. There were plenty of interest in the leaflets and other items such as teddies, torches, t-shirts etc, which you could give a small donation for to the Friends of the TPT. There were discussions on a number of areas, from littering to graffiti, and soil erosion to drainage problems. All were recorded and relevant departments will be informed.

TPT Stall in the NFU tent.
A number of local organisations came and spoke to us informing us of events that they were going to hold along the TPT. One organisation was offering potentially free training in dry wall stoning. The local scout group are doing a charity walk later on in the year along the TPT and Penistone FM are putting a committee together and would like the TPT to be part of it, Mandy details were given out a number of times throughout the day.

I bumped in to a couple of Volunteer Rangers; John Sheriff was busy helping his other half, in one of the trade tents and John Gardener who is one of Barnsley Countryside rangers was extremely busy helping build bird boxes, next to the TPT stand, there was no let up in interested people, young & old who wanted a bird box or bug house. We also had interest in the Volunteer Roles and what we do; unfortunately the person who enquired lived well inside the Wakefield area.

Towards the end of the day, I spoke to Sarah Ford about next year’s Penistone Show and the potential of helping out again, which looks quite fruitful. So all in all, an extremely good day.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Milepost Workday - 14th August 2011

Having done a couple of inspection rides in the spring, I noted that two of the four mileposts (Lundwood & Carlton) in the Barnsley area were in need of a bit of TLC, so it was decided to put a workday to give them a touch up.
Carlton Milepost

Lundwood Milepost

Unfortunately only I and one of ranger turned up for the workday, which may of been a blessing in disguise, due to the fact that the mileposts are not that big. Still we gave them a lick of paint, even though we are no Michelangelo!!!



We decided to give the mileposts a basecoat of black and highlight the lettering in white. As I have already stated we are no Michelangelo, this fact, lead on to a discussion about who out there could give these mileposts justice. I do not know if anyone has seen the milepost at Old Royston or even the multi-coloured one at Wortley but they look fantastic. We came to the conclusion that these mileposts may make a good project for an art student’s portfolio, so once term has began; I am going to look into Barnsley College and Carlton Community College, as both of these have art departments.

Lundwoods finished milepost

John Sheriff giving the finishing touch
to the Carlton Milepost.

It only took John Sheriff and me about an hour to paint the first one and slightly longer for the second. I have to admit that the mileposts do look better, after their lick of paint.