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!