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.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Local Sustrans Volunteer Rangers Help Police – 7th August 2011

A request came through the main Trans Pennine Trail Office, from one of the local Police's Safer Nieghbourhood Teams (SNT) to help with a anti-motorcycle operation that was being conducted in the Barnsley area, on part of the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT).

Two volunteer rangers met at the SNT's base, where they received a briefing along with other members of the SNT. They were split in to teams and shown the local hotspots and the area they were to cover. There were two police vehicles on the ground along with two officers on mountain bike. There were also five Police Officers on foot in uniform and in plain clothes. Mid morning they were joined by another volunteer ranger and his dog.

Members of the public were engaged bethe police and rangers to ascertain if they had seen any motorcycles in the area. One member of the public informed the police that a small fire had been started next to the TPT. The police officer and two rangers went to investigate and they found a smouldering fire, thankfully the slight rain shower they had just had, had helped dampen the fire, so all that was left to do was make the area safe. As they returned to the TPT a motorcyclist shot past carrying a passenger, unfortuneately the were too late to stop it, but a discription and direction of travel was passed over the radio to the other officers on the ground.

After a short lunch break, everyone was back on the ground. The afternoon was pretty quiet and just as the SNT decided to call it a day, the youths from earlier came round the corner and once they had spotted the police turned round and went in the other direction. Unfortuneately the police was unable to give chase as they were dealing with another incident.

Everyone met up at the base for a de-brief and even though it had been relatively quiet on the TPT, the police still issued a quad biker with a warning and £30 fine. Those officers staying on duty decided to go back out and try and stop the youths who thus far hadn't been stopped.

Other anti-motorcycle operations are being planned for the near future, but the police require the public to report any illeagal usage of the TPT, so that they can build up a clearer picture and plan operations accordingly.

Volunteer Workday - 25th July 2011

We had reports that a number of signs in the Aldham Junction area of Barnsley had been vandilised with graffitti. So it was decided to paint the large cast iron arches, that were in and around Aldham Junction.

I had a meeting with Sarah Ford our LA Contact Officer from BMBC, who kindly offered to supply the equipment we needed, Sarah also organised for two of the BMBC Countryside Rangers to join us, this was also due to the H&S factor when painting the top of the arches.

We were due to meet at 1030hrs, but I got there at 1000hrs to survey what was actually required to be done, I was surprised to see the countryside rangers already waiting for me.

1030hrs came and went and with no other Volunteer Rangers insight we decided to start. As we were painting we engaged the general public.

The day went well, we managed to paint both arches until play was stopped due to rain. So it was decided to pack up and go our seperate ways, me home and the countryside rangers back to work.

As you can see from the final photos the arches look alot better with there fresh coat of paint. I would also like to thank Kym and Steve from the BMBC Countryside Rangers team for all their help and Sarah for suppling everything we needed.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Mall, Alhambra Shopping Centre, Barnsley - 15th July 2011

We set up our stall outside of TK Maxx, the mall kindly supplied us with one of their pods which we used to place all the leaflets on. The day started slowly and continued along the same theme.

We roughly had about 15 customers throughout the whole day, some just picked up leaflets, others stopped and chatted with  myself and Cliff Grimshaw, giving us their thoughts of the TPT.
We were also able to offer advice about which sections were useful for wheelchair and mobility scooter users and which sections had cafes’ as well.

Overall the day was a success, but I feel that the location was wrong and we discuss the possibility of using a market stall instead, which would mean we would be able to sit down instead of standing all-day!!!

Rabbit Ings - 23rd April 2011

We received anInvitation to attend the official opening of Rabbit Ings. To give you all a brief insight of Rabbit Ings history, Rabbit Ings is on Lund Hill Lane and has been created between the communities of Ryhill, Havercroft and South Hiendley in Wakefield and Shafton and Royston
in Barnsley on the site of the former Royston Drift Mine Colliery and tip site, which is owned by Wakefield Council. Over 130,000 cubic metres of soil and soil making material has been brought onto the site of the new park to
prepare for the planting of 36,000 trees and shrubs. Around 8.6 km (over 5 miles) of footpaths and cycleways have been constructed and new grasslands, ponds and wetland habitats have been created. The £7.5m project has been delivered by Yorkshire Forward in partnership with Wakefield Council with funding provided from the National Coalfields Programme and by the Homes and Communities Agency.

The event took place on the 23rd April 2011 and was attended by myself Scott Hurley, Cliff Grimshaw and John Sheriff.

                                                       The information stall set up.

                        The calm before the storm, Cliff Grimshaw eagerly awaits the first

The day started well with temperatures reaching 16⁰C by 1000hrs and increased as the day went on. Overall the day was a huge success and we had plenty to hand out, which Mandy Loach (TPT Officer) had supplied us with. Unfortunately we never received any items from the Events Team from Sustrans’ as requested. We also had a lot of interest in the maps, Walking Guides and Cycling Guides plus we had Frisbees, teddies and pencils to give away. We got a lot of positive feedback from the public and some negative which all was sent to Mandy. The day finished with a rumble of thunder and threat of rain. We had just finished packing the stall away when the first few spots of rain started to fall and the remaining stall holder in a mad rush to pack theirs away.

For more information on Rabbit Ings please look at Groundwork Dearne Valley and Wakefield Council web pages.