Path Auditors making a difference.

Path groups in Highland Perthshire have always been encouraged to audit their paths.  Every group does it differently but each method works!

During lockdown people were encouraged to take daily exercise once a day and that message should not be lost as we come out of lockdown.  During these daily walks the Pitlochry Path group sent the Community Greenspace Ranger photos of access, signage, and vegetation issues.  This has enabled remote decisions to be made on what further action was required and how the issue could be resolved.

One such example is that of a snapped fingerpost on the Clunie path and Strathtay Way (also part of the Rob Roy Way).  During Phase 1 a household volunteer from the Pitlochry Path group was able to replace the fingerpost. This was achievable by having a small stock of replacement posts available for path groups, and by the volunteer using their own tools.  A hand made Rob Roy Way logo was created as the original had disappeared.  As lockdown and travel restrictions have eased this route has now been properly way-marked.

If you want further information on Path Auditing or volunteering for a local path group please contact communitygreenspace@pkc.gov.uk .

What are the rangers doing in lockdown?

In normal circumstances the PKC Greenspace Rangers are fortunate enough to work closely with many different volunteer and community groups; including leading conservation tasks, helping achieve John Muir Awards, undertaking path maintenance and helping raise funds for larger projects. During the current pandemic and social distancing the rangers have not been able to do many of the projects and tasks that we had planned. So what have the rangers been getting up to?

Some of the normal duties are still possible to continue, such as responding to dangerous trees and access issues, but for the most part we have been working from home. We have used this as an opportunity to catch up on some of the less-exciting paperwork that comes with the job such as writing and updating risk assessments! Other things we have been able to do from home include working on site management plans and keeping in touch with our many wonderful volunteer groups (if you haven’t seen our recent paths group newsletter – check it out here!).

The 4 rangers on leaflet delivery duties – maintaining social distance of course!

Some new duties have also popped up as a result. At the start of lockdown we put signs up around may of our greenspaces with outdoor access guidance. More recently we have been given the opportunity to help other departments with critical services; delivering food parcels to those needing additional support at this time, and delivering leaflets reaching out to as many people as possible about the different support available to anyone that may need it. If you are resident in Perth & Kinross and require additional support please visit this web-page https://www.pkc.gov.uk/coronavirus/communitysupport.

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!

Pitlochry final task for 2019

On an eyrie Thursday morning just before Christmas, 15 Pitlochry path group volunteers turned up to clear leaves, dig out drains and steps and sweep the Aluminium Bridge in Pitlochry.  Over 1km of tarmac footways and paths were raked and swept in just over two hours.  Although this was one of the easy tasks, everybody kept warm fuelled by hot beverages and mince pies.

If you fancy joining in helping to keep the promoted pitlochry path network user friendly and “conserved” please contact the group via pitlochrypath@gmail.com or jgrant@pkc.gov.uk

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Paths groups in Perth and Kinross

We have a growing network of paths groups that help to maintain many of the paths within Perth and Kinross. Tasks undertaken in this year alone includes vegetation management, grass cutting, addition and improvement of signage, creation of new paths/restoration of old paths, litter picking, learned how to operate strimmers/leafblowers and flails, bridge building and general access improvements. We hope to continue the great work next year!

Visit this page to find out more about the various paths groups and what the work that they do.

If you would be interested in joining or setting up a new paths group, please contact communitygreenspace@pkc.gov.uk or your local Greenspace Ranger.

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.

Helping to look after the Dunkeld Path Network

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P6 & P7 pupils from the Royal School Of Dunkeld recently joined the rangers for a morning of practical  work. The task to help fix the footpaths around Jubilee park and Birnam Oak which is part of the popular riverside walk.

The Pupils raked leaves, dug out muddy patches and wheelbarrowed material to fill In potholes. Pupils will use the practical  experience to help them achieve their John Muir award.

The Royal School of Dunkeld are working with various partners to improve and learn about the Greenspace surrounding the school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Protecting wildflower meadow – Aberfeldy

I am reporting on a very successful collaboration between Farmer, Upper Tay Path Group, Rural Skills (at Breadalbane Secondary) and Perth & Kinross Community Greenspace which has seen works to help and protect a stunning wildflower meadow within 10minutes walking distance of Aberfeldy.

The issue for a number of years has been compacting of soil where people walked through the meadow and nutrient enrichment where people have not picked up after their dogs.

The Rural Skills students built a short section of fence to block off one of the entrances to the meadow.  This hasn’t worked so the Path Group got the path that is to be used mowed.  The path was widened by cutting back the Blackthorn and the cut branches were used to barrier the other entrance to the meadow.  Waymarker posts were installed and a temporary signage installed.

It is hoped that the Rural Skills can produce a signage and funding is to be sought to highlight what is growing in the meadow.

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Gloves and Cake!

Highland Perthshire was buzzing with volunteers during May! It was a busy month with community groups, school groups out working together. Tasks included refurbishing a boardwalk at Rannoch Station, removing Beech trees from the Birks of Aberfeldy, building bird boxes and bashing bracken.

As a result of the wet weather and number of tasks we had a mountain of gloves needing to be washed! Thank goodness for the amazing donations of cake that kept everyone motivated and full of energy!

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