Further works to improve the Provost Walk in Auchterarder are well underway, continuing the incredible work that has already been done to improve this path network.
Meanwhile the Auchterarder Core Paths Working Group have been incredibly busy on the Jubilee walk, public park and surrounding paths through organised tidy-up sessions – even in the torrential rain!
“We still managed to tidy some of the Provost with our new tools today! We were soon warm after a brushing work out. Followed by bramble pruning and a quick litter pick. Primroses are flowering well now! Coffee n biscuits at the finish were well received. Thank you Jane.”
Over the last couple of months the Portmoak Paths Group amd Portmoak Community Council have been working hard to maintain the historical “Dryside Road” core path that runs from Easter Balgedie, behind Wester Balgedie to GlenLomond, after which it continues as a vehicular route. The path is well known to some of the locals, but has never benefitted from proper signage. For their last meeting of the year, Ranger Calum met with the group on the 13th December to install new signage posts at either end of the path, as well as another at the start of the core path to Glenvale.
We used a new signage design, one of the first to be used for the core paths in Perth and Kinross, and incorporated it into the new posts. Compared to the finger posts and large arrow blades used elsewhere, these new designs are smaller and mounted directly onto a shorter fence post. This allows easier installation and maintenance, as well as reducing the risk of signs being hit by large vehicles driving past – especially important to consider when placing signs at the entrance to farms! From a walker or cyclists perspective, the signs are at a better height for being read, and they are less intrusive on the landscape.
Moving forward, there are plans to further improve the path by installing a new gate and cutting back vegetation where the path has overgrown.
On 22nd November we went out to meet the Portmoak Path Group, bringing along our “flail” – essentially a large grass cutter capable of cutting long and thick undergrowth. We were cutting the vegetation and grass along a 600m length of core path between Kinnesswood and Portmoak Moss, before it gets too overgrown. Despite a bit of rain, the flail made short work of the cutting while some volunteers used machetes to remove some bracken on the path edge.
Andrew from the group tackling the path edge
Reminding ourselves which button does what…
The freshly cut path – ready to be walked!
Calum taking the flail for a spin
The Portmoak Paths Group meets almost every week to maintain a variety of paths in the Kinnesswood/Baldegie area. If you would like to be involved, or to be put in contact with the group please contact Ranger Calum at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Auchterarder Sports and Recreation Path Group have been going from strength to strength with almost a full year worth of tasks now under their belt.
The group were out on the Provost walk again this time starting from the primrose park end and managing the vegetation going along phase two of the walk. We noticed that there was some Himalayan balsam coming from the stream but unfortunately all the seeds had already popped on this. This will be something the group will tackle next year as it is only a small amount and easily manageable.
The group split in to two smaller groups with one group focusing on strimming the edges and the other group cutting back any woody plants or branches along the length.
A special thank you to Bear Scotland who have been very supportive of the group and were able to provide some willing volunteers!
The next focus for the group will be to get out on the paths and figure out what is needing to be done over the next 6 months looking at the wider network above and beyond the improved footpaths.
If you are interested in joining the group on one of the tasks please contact Alan Dorman- email@example.com
I got to visit the beautiful Loch Earn the other week to assist our St Fillans path group on the Glen Tarken Loop there are a couple of fords on the route and one of them is particularly challenging to cross at times.
The group decided they wanted to try and assist walkers using the path by creating an “option” of stepping stones that people could choose to use if they couldn’t get across any other way.
The task involved manoeuvring some boulders and getting them flat and stable with no movement at all, also ensuring that the river can still flow effectively. It is a little experimental and there is no guarantee the stones won’t just get washed away in the first storm but it is worth a try.
View from Glen Tarken over Loch Earn
The group are going to keep an eye on the stones and monitor for movement and also make sure they aren’t too slippy. If they become to slippy we will remove them.
Crieff Community Trust Path group were hard at work again. This time on a section of the Knock Promoted Path running along the back of the golf course. The path had become severely overgrown with rhododendron and laurel over the years to where it was only passible in single file.
The group decided to take this on and improve it to make it easier for all access takers.
Working away cutting back the rhododendron
They proceeded to hack away at the bushes to original path width leaving the cut material in habitat piles in the open areas next to the path. The next step will be to re-grade the path and take it back to its original width and put some additional path materials down to re-secure the path.
It was a great day and the group had a lot to show for their efforts!
On Thursday I met with some members of the Portmoak Paths Group to find out a bit about the work they are doing. We went to the paths on the hillside above Kinnesswood with the intention of de-berming some of the paths. Sharing the paths with the many walkers, joggers and cyclists are also some cattle. The intensive use of these paths combined with the heavy footfall of the cattle has resulted in trench-like paths with banks on either side. This creates small gulleys in which streams are formed after any rainfall, further eroding the paths.
Removing the banked sides of the paths and filling in the trenches had the effect of widening the paths and allowing water to flow off rather than along it. The result should be a reduced rate of erosion, less standing water (and therefore less mud) and paths that are easier to walk along.
In addition to the levelling out of paths the group also remove encroaching gorse and brush, cut back vegetation and carry out maintenance on a variety of paths in the area. There is always more to be done, as the path maintenance is an on-going but rewarding effort.
If you would like to join the Portmoak Paths Group, they would love to hear from you! They tend to meet every Thursday at 14.00 in the public car park in Kinnesswood (near to Portmoak Primary School). To get involved contact Greenspace Ranger Calum Bachell at firstname.lastname@example.org
Auchterarder Sports and Recreation held an event a Primrose Park recently which celebrated their hard work and efforts in fundraising and creating phase 2 of the Provost Walk footpath. To date the path has had £595,000 with in excess of £500,000 pounds needed to upgrade phase 3 – the most ambitious phase yet.
There was a very good turn out with support from lots of different organisations providing different experiences and showing how they supported the project in different ways from Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust who supported the group in fundraising and delivery, to funders such as Sustrans, local councillors and also the contractor who delivered the works . There were some fantastic bikes t supported those with support needs as well electric bikes. The electric bikes are free to hire for Auchterarder residents at Synergy Cycles in the town which is a great resource for a local community to have.
Julia and Jane who are co-chairs of the group deservedly opened this phase of the path as it has taken a huge amount of their time and effort for it to come to fruition.
It is great to see communities being celebrated for their hard work and here is looking forward to the completion of Phase 3!
One of the volunteers we support has been nominated as Paths for All Path Group Volunteer of the Year.
David is a member of the Crieff Community Trust Path Group and also regular out with our Crieff Green Routes Group
“I just love being outdoors with nature – and seeing how I’m helping to breathe life back into the land and paths in the local area just spurs me on. Five years ago, I retired from the Forestry Commission and moved to Crieff. I’m really chuffed to be nominated for the award and as a ‘newbie’ up here, I really feel as though I have been accepted. When I moved to Crieff the newly formed path group were looking for volunteers and I hoped that with my forestry background spanning some years, I might be of some use.”
Dave is so valuable in the volunteering he does in the Crieff area and we are thrilled that Dave has been nominated for this award. Good luck!