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!