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.

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

Blairgowrie Ranger Vacancy

How would you like to join our excellent team of Greenspace Rangers within Community Greenspace?

Link to job listing on myjobscotland

This is an exciting opportunity for a Greenspace Ranger to join the team to identify opportunities and encourage volunteering in a wide range of Council greenspaces. They will assist with community engagement on greenspace projects and themes and implement an agreed programme of greenspace maintenance tasks to provide opportunities for community involvement and management on greenspace sites and paths networks. This is not a traditional ranger role and an essential part of the role is to undertake site condition inspections for repair programmes and safety purposes including tree and water safety inspections.

The job advert closes on Tuesday 3rd March, so make sure and get your applications in on time!

Find out all the details on the below link:

https://www.myjobscotland.gov.uk/councils/perth-and-kinross-council/jobs/greenspace-ranger-blairgowrie-182989

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!

Tree Planting in Viewlands Park

On 5th December a group of 20 volunteers – both members of the pubic and council employees – gathered to plant 88 trees up at Viewlands Park in Perth. We were lucky with the weather as a window of relatively rain-free opportunity was open to us for the hour and a half we were there. It’s surprising how quickly you can plant that many whips with a good few hands to the task, and makes you think what a difference can be made while having fun out in the fresh air. Now we just have to hope that they will thrive in time and give all the good things: beautiful foliage, cleaner air, habitat for fellow creatures, and extra carbon sink in these times of climate uncertainty.

By the end, a steaming cuppa and a biccy were welcome rewards!

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

sdr

SSE in action at the Den O Alyth

 

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Community Greenspace work with communities to manage a variety of sites across the area including the Den O Alyth which is known for its native woodland, red sandstone geology and its freshwater ecology.

Recently staff from SSE Renewables as part of their corporate volunteer programme helped to conserve the den by working towards the aims of the management plan. Staff spent the morning working with the rangers to remove Beech Tree saplings from an area of native woodland using tree popping tools and bowsaws. Beech are not native to the area and out compete native stock so staff were given the opportunity to take the trees home to replant. In the afternoon footpaths were cleared of leaves and mud making a huge difference to the paths which crisscross site. As an extra challenge the team also removed a tractor tyre which had been fly-tipped.

This is the second time SSE have helped us at the Den O Alyth. The help is invaluable and allows the many objectives of the management plan to be achieved.  The team from SSE worked hard and enjoyed the challenges of doing something different.

To find out more about corporate volunteering please contact communitygreenspace@pkc.gov.uk

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.

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.