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.
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!
At Green Routes to Wellbeing Perth we have been up at St Mags hill working our socks off to battle back the wall of goarse and broom so that whoever has decided to walk to the summit can experience the best view available. Another advantage of doing this is that it gives other trees a chance to grow as when the quantity of broom and goarse is that bad it can dominate saplings putting them in the shade not giving them a chance to grow.
Once the ground had defrosted in mid-February the Crieff Green Routes to Wellbeing group were able to start work on re-edging the paths around MacRosty Park. This turned out to be quite physical work. Using lawn-edgers we could cut the turf and soil back to where the new edge was to go, making sure to keep relatively neat lines. Using hoes, we could scrape the cut turf off the tarmac paths and sweep it into piles. The large amount of cut soil was then shovelled into wheel barrows, and many barrow loads were carted away. In places the grass had grown over the path by over half a foot on each side – meaning that once we had finished there was an addition foot of path to walk on! We are hoping to continue this good work over the next few weeks, targeting the areas where the paths have really been taken over.
The Green Routes to Wellbeing group in Crieff have been doing a range of activities going from planting bulbs to reinstalling a core path sign. The first session of this year for the first part planting daffodil bulbs at the side of the lade then because we managed to race through all the bulbs we restored a tree cage.
The next week we found a sign that was looking a bit worse for wear as it was completely broken at the bottom so the group got to work using spades and a pinch bar to create a new hole for the sign then put the sign along with a mix of smaller stones, big stones and soil and packed it in with the pinch bar to make sure it was as solid as possible. With the job that they done I think its safe to say that sign isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. After this there was still some time left so we cleared a few ditches to make sure the water was not restricted by leaves whilst going through drains.
Recently a family of beavers have moved into a area at the Lady Marys walk so the task was to walk this path and to keep an eye out for any beaver damage. The day for this was perfect as the sun was in the sky and there wasn’t a cloud in sight combined with the great scenery you experience when you walk Lady Marys.
A new 6 week block of Green Routes to Wellbeing started last week clearing gorse and broom from the summit. Join us tomorrow at 10am for unlimited tea, coffee and chocolate biscuits while making St Magdalene’s Hill better for people and wildlife.
A new Green Routes to Wellbeing Groups is starting in Perth on 5th September 2018 and everyone is welcome to join. The group will be working to improve St Magdalene’s Hill by clearing paths, thinning trees and removing litter. No previous outdoor experience is required and all tools, gloves, tea and biscuits are provided for you. Come and feel the benefits of spending time in the outdoors learning new skills.
We will meet at the same location each session, in the car park at St Magdalene’s Hill. The car park is accessed from the corner of Glendevon Road and Glenlochay Road.
For more information or to let us know you are coming, please contact Joanna Dick by emailing JoannaDick@pkc.gov.uk or phoning 01738 475 377.