Take the lead – responsible dog walking

With so many people stuck at home and taking their daily exercise as locally as possible many paths are seeing more foot traffic than usual. If heading out on a walk please remember to take away or dispose of any litter and to pick up after your dog. Check the Scottish Outdoor Access Code for advice on walking responsibly.

Find out more here

At this time of year lambing is also well underway, so it is particularly important to keep dogs under close control where there may be livestock. Dogs can cause unnecessary worry that may contribute to the premature death of sheep as well as any unborn lambs. If you need to go into a field of sheep, keep your dog on a short lead or close at heel and keep your distance from the animals.

In the video below Bob Barr and Kate Hall share there experiences of dogs worrying sheep in the Lothians.

 #TaketheLead

Drain clearing at Lady Mary's Walk, Crieff

Saturday (25th) was the first task of the year for the Crieff Paths Group, who were delighted to be joined by a few new members. Armed with a full arsenal of spades, rakes, drainage rods and more, we tackled several of the drainage ditches and culverts along one of Crieff’s most popular paths; Lady Mary’s Walk.

Months (& years!) of leaf litter build-up and vegetation growth had filled in ditches and blocked off culverts. These require occasional maintenance so that water can run off freely without damaging or flooding the path.

Lady Mary’s Walk runs alongside the River Earn and the old dismantled railway. Some of the old railway drainage run offs are still in place, of which one had been overflowing and had started to affect the path. We managed to clear this out and could see immediately that the water was flowing correctly into the ditch and through the culvert into the Earn.

There is still some work to be done along Lady Mary’s Walk, and other paths in the Crieff area will require attention. The group plan to meet on the last Saturday of each month (usually 10.30-12.30) and hope to meet on Wed 19th Feb in addition to this.

If you would be keen to join in with the Crieff Paths Group on future projects, or would like to find out more, please contact the Strathearn Greenspace Ranger, Calum, on cbachell@pkc.gov.uk, or the Crieff Community Trust on crieffcommunitytrust@gmail.com (or check out their facebook page).

REMINDER: We also have a Paths Group Networking and Training Event in Pitlochry on the 27th Feb – book now to ensure your place!

Bulb planting in Bankfoot

On December 1st members of the Bankfoot community braved the cold to come and help plant some daffodil bulbs in the Coronation Park. Despite sub-zero temperatures, there was a fantastic turn out, with people of all ages getting their hands (gloves!) dirty to get the bulbs in. Included were members from the Auchtergaven Community Council, local residents with their friends and family, as well as children from Auchtergaven primary School.

Amazingly, there were around 300 bulbs planted in total, even with frozen topsoil! This was one of the last opportunities in the year to get the daffodil bulbs into the ground to have them come into flower this Spring. Hopefully we will see a very colourful section of the park in a couple of months time!

Well done to everyone that joined in, and a big thank you to all those that supported the event. If you would like to get involved in future projects in the park, or to find out what will be going on, check out the Bankfoot Play Park Improvements facebook page.

To find out more about volunteering with PKC Community Greenspace, please contact communitygreenspace@pkc.gov.uk

Crieff Paths Group at Turretbank Wood

Crieff Paths Group were out with their strimmers, loppers, shears and rakes to improve the existing path at Turretbank Wood, and to create an alternative longer route through the previously overgrown vegetation.

Despite it being a cold, frosty morning we managed to (eventually) convince the strimmers to start up, and set to work widening the path. We lopped back some overhanging brambles and blackthorn from the path’s edge, and scraped he hard surfaces back where leaf litter and grass was starting to decompose.

This area of woodland used to have a large problem with the invasive species, Himalayan Balsam, but over the last couple of years the path group have been working hard to remove it from the site. We were delighted to see that this year there was very little this year, allowing us to improve access and other aspects of the woodland.

If you would be interested in volunteering with the Crieff Paths Group, please get in touch with Catriona Davies at candocrieff@gmail.com or PKC Greenspace at communitygreenspace@pkc.gov.uk.

Tree Pits in Crieff

The Green Routes Group in Crieff was busy last Thursday creating some tree pits for a few of the trees along the lade-side in MacRosty Park. We were lucky enough to be joined by Graham from another department within the council, and Sebastienne from the NHS.

Tree pits are used for several purposes, and can be very small or vast in size – depending on the location and the size of the tree. In the case of these trees the pits were created to prevent grass from growing right up to the base of the tree. When cutting grass that is too close to the base of the tree there is a risk of damaging the tree with the cutting equipment.

To create these pits we needed to dig out the top 4-6 inches of soil from around the base of the trees. We then put down some mulch matting to prevent weeds from growing as readily, and filled in the rest with bark. Once finished the pits looked great, and should require very little maintenance each year, other than occasional top-up of bark.

Path groups training in Crieff

On Tuesday 3rd September volunteers from several path groups across PKC came to Crieff to take part in some PKC-led strimmer, leaf blower and pedestrian flail training. We had members from path groups in Crieff, Auchterarder and Abernethy taking part, despite a downpour throughout!

Much of the work the paths groups undertake requires the use of these tools, and proper operation of them is essential for the safety of both the user and those around them, as well as preventing damage to the equipment.

If you or your path group would be interested in being trained up on the safe use of strimmers, leaf blowers or flails we hope to hold another session soon. To register you interest please contact communitygreenspace@pkc.gov.uk

John Muir Awards with GRTW Crieff

The Green Routes to Wellbeing in Crieff have done a fantastic job in achieving their John Muir Discovery Awards! 7 people within the group have earned the award through their voluntary activities in MacRosty Park and Lady Mary’s Walk with Calum, the Greenspace Ranger for Strathearn.

 

After discovering the different species that live in the area we have built bird and bat boxes to go up throughout the park. In addition to this we have planted and maintained several flowerbeds, which are regularly visited by bumblebees and butterflies! We also found a red squirrel using an old bird nest box, so it’s anyone’s guess what will make use of our new houses!

We have really enjoyed the nature-focussed activities involved in achieving the award. In the past we have done a lot of vegetation and path management, or maintaining/weeding/planting flower beds, with little context outside of keeping the park looking good. So, by tying in previous tasks with more of a focus on biodiversity and nature we’ve had a greater sense of achievement.

 

With a couple keen birders, an ex-forester and a former landscaper in the group, there has been considerable knowledge shared between us, and I think we all have a better understanding of our surrounding environment as a result. Going forward we will be doing some more nature-focussed tasks to tie in with our routine maintenance. As a group we have plans to create another wildflower area in the park and to promote the red squirrels in the area by building a squirrel feeder.

Weeding in the Lade

This summer has seen a huge amount of weed growth across all of Perth and Kinross. Needless to say, the Lade in MacRosty Park is no exception, as several weeds including Burrweed and Duckweed took over in a short space of time.

On a couple of occasions over the last few weeks some eager volunteers have helped Calum to remove the bulk of the weeds and cut back the encroaching vegetation. Along the way we have found a host of different invertebrates, amphibians and even a dead brown trout (although we’re not quite sure how it got there!).

To give the amphibians and invertebrates the best chance to return to the water, the removed weeds were stacked next to the Lade and will be removed a few days later.

As a result the Lade looks much improved, and the water is running far better.

 

Kids Week in Crieff 2019

This summer Kids Week in Crieff begins on Sunday 14th July with Gala Day. KWIC then includes a variety of activities and events through five consecutive days of activities timetabled from Monday 15th to Friday 19th July 2019. KWIC is aimed at all ages of kids (from tots to teens) and is an all-inclusive, intergenerational, week-long event held in various venues throughout Crieff.

Several events will be taking place in MacRosty Park, including the Fairy Walk throughout the week and the Gala Day on Friday the 19th July. Visit the Kids Week in Crieff website or the KWIC Facebook page for more details. Event timetables are available in many stores in Crieff as well as the Pavillion Café and Strathearn Community Campus.

John Muir Awards with Green Routes to Wellbeing

Over the last month the Crieff Green Routes to Wellbeing volunteers started progress towards achieving John Muir Discovery and Explorer Awards through their volunteering work at MacRosty Park and Lady Mary’s Walk in Crieff.

So far we have learned a bit about the history of John Muir, the Scottish-American naturalist who helped to found and protect the Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks as well as many other natural areas. Through his work and writings John Muir has inspired many conservationists in Scotland, USA and elsewhere around the world.

After talking about John Muir’s history, we then talked about what makes MacRosty Park so special to us, while walking around each part of the park. The variety of different habitats and species within the park were one of the main things that stuck out to us – from well-manicured flower beds with various flowering plants, to the wooded areas around the park with tall trees and the ground covered by wild garlic. We discussed how the maintenance that we do as a group contributes towards this variety and why it is important to have this amazing space just on our doorstep.

Last week we finished making a bug hotel out of recycled pallets, sticks, pine cones and other things found around the park. Even before construction was finished we could see some insects moving in! Can anyone think of a good name for out new hotel? We have also started to build some bird houses. After spotting several Robins, blue tits and other birds around the park, we have no doubt they’ll be well used once finished!