Knock of Crieff Management Plan Walk and Talk

Top panoRecently PKC have been producing a draft management plan for the Knock of Crieff.

This management plan will be looking at the infrastructure across the site and how we can improve it for the local community.

We will also integrate the Forest Plan within the new Management Plan.  Interested parties were invited directly and the walk was advertised in the local area.

The walk and talk was a success with several groups group 1represented and able to give their opinions and comments on the draft proposals which are now being fed in to create a second draft which will go to wider online consultation in the coming weeks.

We talked about items such as proposals for improving the two car parks, inclusion of an all abilities path, improving the views from the summit of the knock and providing some more informal seating around the site.

Thank you to those who came along to our walk and talk your input has been invaluable!

 

 

 

Junior Rangers brave the cold;

Perth and Kinross Community Greenspace Rangers enjoy working with Pitlochry High Pupils in order for them to get their Junior Ranger and John Muir Award (Conserve level) awards. The last task held in November was a challenge for everyone… in their own words…

25/11/17- Black Spout Wood- Replanting Seedlings

The S3 Junior Ranger group travelled on the minibus to Pitlochry’s Black Spout Woods on a winter day that crept in through our multiple layers of clothes with gelid fingers, so it was best to get working as quickly as possible. Our task was explained to us by Jeannie, to replant seedlings or saplings away from the adjacent archaeological site, an Iron Age building explored in 2005-2009 (the building was discovered to be approximately from 250 BC- 50 AD), to conserve the site by ensuring the site is devoid of trees in case the trees take over the ancient site.

We spilt into groups of roughly two or three to complete our task. Firstly, we would select a seedling to move, this was facilitated with small pieces of red and white plastic tape tied around some saplings and dig a square with a spade around it. This was done so that the roots of the tree remained intact. This was imperative as it ensured the tree would have the best chance with some pre-establishment when it was relocated.

We then found a small glade in the forest to plant the tree, it is best to give the tree as much sunlight space as possible. A square was then dug out, and the turf put to one side to be utilised later, which was deep enough to accommodate the tree’s roots and with a periphery of space around. The tree would be positioned and the turf would be packed in around it, upside down in order so that the tree would have a good opportunity to grow and we pushed the soil down by stamping thoroughly.

After the tree was planted we needed to fortify it against overgrazing from animals such as deer grazing on it and destroying it. We would place 2 or 4 poles (depending on the size of the seedling) as a base to wrap the chicken wire around.  In order to do this we would firstly construct a hole to hold the pole utilising a pinch-bar, we would lift the pinch-bar up and let it drop and the weight of the pinch-bar would create a hole. The hole would be made more capacious (not too large although in order to give the pole stability) by moving the pinch-bar in a circular motion in this hole. The wooden pole (chosen as it is rather cheap and conforms to the surrounding environment) would then be inserted and secured with a metal open-bottomed cylinder with handles on each side (this was very effective but cumbersome due to weight so some of us required assistance) and this had the same effect of the pinch-bar, we would lift it up and use the weight of its fall to secure the pole. We would continue doing this until the pole was sufficiently in.

After the poles were fixed in we would then wrap and secure the chicken wire around the tree. We approximated the length the chicken wire and cut them utilising a multi-functional device with a wire-cutter included. To secure the chicken wire on the poles we could either utilise a stapler or nail a large nail a third of the way in and then we would deliberately bend it over to secure it.

We then consumed our lunch in the warmth of the mini-bus and after this we finished fixing the protection.

Our next job was to plant holly bushes and hazel saplings which then could be used in later years in producing berries and nuts to help the environment as it helps to feed local wildlife such as red squirrels helping them to survive the year. These were donated by SEPA. Our method of doing this was utilising a spade to dig a small hole in the soil and securing the plant in. In order to protect the plant we would stick a small wooden pole in the soil diagonally towards the plant and use it to support a hollow plastic cylinder that was around the plant to protect it from overgrazing. We attempted to spread these plants out as much as possible and avoid grouping the same plants together so we would not be planting plantations that only support certain species.

Overall, the entire group that came really enjoyed it and are grateful to Jeannie for taking the time to do this with us.

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