Community Environment Challenge Fund

Acorn Dell Path Improvements

Work to improve the footpath along Lady Mary’s Walk by the side of the Turret Burn, has been progressing extremely well despite the wet weather. The path improvements are all down to the efforts of a very active group of volunteers who formed the ‘Friends of Acorn Dell’  a few years ago with the aim of repairing the section which runs through the community owned land.

Under the direction of the Crieff Community Trust and along with The Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust & PKC, the group has raised substantial funds to make this happen. A major part of the funding came from PKC’s Community Environment Challenge Fund which voluntary or community organisations can access for projects which could make a significant difference to the local environment.

Typical criteria which the fund requires are “Benefits to the wider community”, “Link to other regeneration initiatives” and “An ability to complete the project within 12 months” all of which the Group were able to meet.

Crieff Community Trust have an excellent site at http://www.crieffcommunitytrust.org.uk/ where you can read more about the progress of the path and how to get involved in the projects set out in the Crieff Community Action Plan

For more information about the fund and how your community can apply for support visit http://www.pkc.gov.uk/CECF

Established in 1997, Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust support a wide range of projects across the area.

Bridging the Gaps – Building the Future

Community Workshops in Alyth

On Sunday 17th January, 123 people came to a successful community event which took place in Alyth as a direct response to the flooding that occurred in July 2015.

Following on from the previous consultation exercises: Alyth 2020 and PKC Placecheck, residents were encouraged to attend to help Perth & Kinross Council, Alyth Development Trust and Alyth Community Council prioritise town improvements. Workshops covered ‘Tourism, heritage, arts & business’, ‘Supporting all ages in the community’, ‘Bridges & town centre’ and ‘Transport & accessibility’.  The workshops provided opportunities for the community to express their views and preferences for the placement and design of replacement footbridges across the burn and to identify other actions for improvement to make Alyth a more connected and sustainable place in the future.  Residents could also record their views on the exhibition boards at the events if they were unable to attend a workshop or complete Perth & Kinross Council’s survey about the replacement of the bridges.

The events were led by Alyth Development Trust, facilitated by PAS  (Planning Aid for Scotland) supported by Perth & Kinross Council and funded by Sustrans.  The next event will be on Sunday 31st January – everyone welcome!

More information and a survey avout replacement footbridges in Alyth town centre is on the PKC website: www.pkc.gov.uk/alythplacecheck

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Bridging the Gaps – Building the Future

 

Pitlochry Junior Ranger Scheme

Ranger Services from throughout Highland Perthshire, including the National Trust and the Cairngorms National park help to deliver the Junior Ranger Scheme annually at Pitlochry High School. In its third year PKC Greenspace Rangers were invited to get involved.

To date the Group has joined me (Jeannie Grant, Highland Greenspace Ranger) to help complete the planned PKC Forest Plan works and footpath maintenance in the Pitlochry Area.

While taking part in the Junior Ranger Scheme pupils also complete their John Muir Conserve Award. One of the remits of this is that participants share their experiences. I requested that the participants write a short article on their experiences.

So in their own words;

Sycamore clearing day Saturday 5th Dec from Hannah

On Saturday 5th December, four of us (Ellie, Cameron, Callum and I) and some of the S4’s travelled to Black Spout woods with Jeannie & Mr Kearney to clear sycamore saplings and trees. Sycamore is a dominating species that easily spreads, taking over parts of the woods. It can be identified by its green buds – not to be confused with ash that has black buds – and our job was to get rid of them. We snipped the tiny sycamore trees with loppers and bow-sawed the bigger ones. Some really large trees we had to use the bird’s mouth technique which is where you cut into the trunk diagonally & then horizontally to remove a chunk. You then cut horizontally across from the other side and the tree will fall in the direction the chunk was removed.

At lunch we toasted marshmallows on the Kelly kettle and also tried out the four person emergency tent which is basically a large waterproof sheet that you pull down over the top of you, then pull in the edges and sit on them. It was actually surprisingly warm inside.

After lunch we continued clearing.

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Rhododendron clearing day sat 14th November from Cameron

On Saturday 14th November 2015 the Pitlochry high school junior rangers went to the lower slopes of Ben Y Vrackie to cut down rhododendrons that were invading the majority of the path so we had to cut a lot down. When we were doing the task we had to count the people who walking up the hill to see how much money should be spent on repairing the path.

We went up to the rhododendrons. We then started to cut them down. We all had areas each while Jeannie and Mr Kearney took the branches that we cut down to habitat piles. Habitat piles are piles of branches where little animals and bugs can live as it naturally decomposes.

We had lunch and some hot chocolate from Jeannie’s Kelly Kettle.

After lunch we went back to finish off the job. There were overhanging branches up the path so a couple of us went and got them as the others completed the rhododendrons and made the path neat. We all had a great day and all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Author: Jeannie Grant

 

Water, Water everywhere!

It is true – we are all fed up of the rain.  However, it is the best time for a Ranger to get out and about on site to make sure that the systems set up to remove water from our paths are working.

With this in mind, the 7 January was a good day for me (Highland Area Greenspace Ranger, Jeannie Grant) to get out and check up on one of our wetter sites – Black Spout Woods. Knowing that this might involve some quick action, I invited the Pitlochry Path Group to help me.

The weather was horrendous, the rain did not stop, and water was everywhere – at one point the centre of Pitlochry was shut down for a while.

Three of the Path Group volunteers braved the weather, two were soaked within moments of arrival – no gortex was going to keep this water out! They wisely gave up and went to find a warm dry place, I remained with the remaining volunteer, and I am delighted that we persevered… together we cleared all the access track ditches, which undoubtedly prevented further erosion and flooding.

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To help Rangers keep your why not join your local path group, or get in touch and let your friendly ranger service know of any greenspace issues you see while out and about. Get in Touch.

Author: Jeannie Grant

Junior Rangers help with PKC Forest Plan

Pitlochry Junior Ranger Scheme joined the Highland Greenspace Ranger on a cold but bright Sunday in December to carry out vital woodland management works.

They all helped to clear sycamore, which is spreading in particular in one corner of the woodland.  Using loppers and bow saws they cleared naturally regenerated trees.  Some even had a go at felling small trees, using tree felling techniques.  Watch this space as those involved will be writing their own blog.

If you are a group wanting to carry out work or a project in the great outdoors, the Community Greenspace team are here to help.

Hard-core Volunteers

 

For a while now the Highland Greenspace Ranger Jeannie Grant has been working with a Path Group, with the dedication and determination to meet regardless of the weather!  Today was no exception! The task started in the sunshine but soon declined into horizontal sleet, rain, hail and snow!  They persevered to get the path cleared of leaves and encroaching vegetation.

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A mile was cleared in a couple of hours.  They were not satisfied with the length achieved during this time and have organised a follow up task next week, so that it is all clear for the Christmas holidays to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.The group in question is the Pitlochry Path Group.

Why not come along or find out more by contacting Jeannie Grant on 07788 190876.  It is not only a good workout but you get a cuppa and a natter to!

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International Volunteers Day

We may have missed International Volunteers Day which was celebrated on Saturday 5th December, but we couldn’t have written a better message of thanks to our own volunteers than the one recently published on the FromScotlandWithLove blogsite. I’ll offer you this quote from it and then let you read it at your leisure.

“If you are a volunteer, never underestimate how valuable you are. It doesn’t matter how big or small your contribution or what the cause you choose to give your time to – the fact that you are doing it makes the world a better place. Don’t compare what you give to what others give, everyone is in a different circumstance and always remember that even if you can change one thing for the better, make one person smile, that is what is important. That is what is invaluable. That is what inspirational.”

Inspirational stuff, indeed!

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It’s been ‘All Go’ at North Inch Golf Course

As we near the end of the year, it’s a great time to reflect on what has been an extremely busy and productive year at the golf course. Our newly formed volunteer group have helped us to transform the presentation of the course and offer a facility that the golfers of Perth and Kinross are happy to play.
 
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Taking on tasks not included in the maintenance contractors remit, our volunteers have focussed on the extra touches that show there is some real TLC being put into the golf course. They have worked hard on raking up of leaves and tree fall debris, painting fences, all the way to cleaning up an old stone bridge, to name just a few!
 
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When we launched the volunteer program, we felt that we wanted to give something back as a thank you for donating time to the golf course. We developed a reward scheme to go along with the program, now what better way to reward a golfer than to reward then with golf!
For every 3 hours of volunteer time that is given to the golf course, our volunteers earn a Free round of golf (also 3 hours, if you don’t hang about!). This has proved very popular, with these rounds being used by either the volunteer themselves or having been passed on to a friend or colleague.
If you would like to get involved and help us to continue with our improvements at North Inch golf Course, then please get in touch by calling Niall McGill on 01738 476372 or email nmcgill@pkc.gov.uk

Extra help welcome

Milnathort and Kinross Allotments Association recently contacted Perth & Kinross Council to engage the services of the Unpaid Work Team to assist with the planting of trees in allotments in Kinross.

The Association had received a donation from the Woodland Trust of 420 young native trees which were suitable for planting throughout the site to not only encourage more wildlife but also provide a windbreak around the boundary of the site in the Turfhills area of Kinross.

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In addition to the 30 allotment plots, which are in their second season the site also provides a community garden area. The facility is used by local residents including the local children’s gardening club, Kinross High School’s Learning Support Department, the local day centre for older people and the ‘Broke not Broken’ Group who plan to grow food at the site.

To improve the allotments further, the Unpaid Work Team delivered a load of compost for the gardeners’ use and also laid some slabs next to the Association’s main polytunnel to improve access.

Anyone interested in engaging the services of the Unpaid Work Team, (which are free of charge), to carry out tasks for the benefit of the community should complete an application form which can be obtained by telephoning 01738 445793 or 472564 or by e-mailing cjs@pkc.gov.uk

Tree Planting at Methven Den

It was wet, wet, wet at Methven Den on Saturday, but well done to all who braved the weather and attended.

I hear from the Methven Parks Facebook page that the trees are in and that the soup was good! On behalf of the Methven Park Committee, thanks to Jane for her mobile kitchen, to ALL who came out in the rain to help plant the trees, and especially to the Woodland Trust for the trees themselves.

It will be wonderful to watch them grow up in the coming years.

Methven Den Nov 15

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