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 firstname.lastname@example.org or PKC Greenspace at email@example.com.
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.
The Green Routes to Wellbeing in Crieff have done a fantastic job in achieving their John Muir Discovery Awards! 7 people within the group have earned the award through their voluntary activities in MacRosty Park and Lady Mary’s Walk with Calum, the Greenspace Ranger for Strathearn.
After discovering the different species that live in the area we have built bird and bat boxes to go up throughout the park. In addition to this we have planted and maintained several flowerbeds, which are regularly visited by bumblebees and butterflies! We also found a red squirrel using an old bird nest box, so it’s anyone’s guess what will make use of our new houses!
We have really enjoyed the nature-focussed activities involved in achieving the award. In the past we have done a lot of vegetation and path management, or maintaining/weeding/planting flower beds, with little context outside of keeping the park looking good. So, by tying in previous tasks with more of a focus on biodiversity and nature we’ve had a greater sense of achievement.
With a couple keen birders, an ex-forester and a former landscaper in the group, there has been considerable knowledge shared between us, and I think we all have a better understanding of our surrounding environment as a result. Going forward we will be doing some more nature-focussed tasks to tie in with our routine maintenance. As a group we have plans to create another wildflower area in the park and to promote the red squirrels in the area by building a squirrel feeder.
This summer Kids Week in Crieff begins on Sunday 14th July with Gala Day. KWIC then includes a variety of activities and events through five consecutive days of activities timetabled from Monday 15th to Friday 19th July 2019. KWIC is aimed at all ages of kids (from tots to teens) and is an all-inclusive, intergenerational, week-long event held in various venues throughout Crieff.
Several events will be taking place in MacRosty Park, including the Fairy Walk throughout the week and the Gala Day on Friday the 19th July. Visit the Kids Week in Crieff website or the KWIC Facebook page for more details. Event timetables are available in many stores in Crieff as well as the Pavillion Café and Strathearn Community Campus.
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!
Everyone is welcome to join us at the opening of phase 3 of the Provost’s Walk in Auchterarder on Wednesday 3rd July at 2pm!
Starting south of the Public Park, off Western Road, the celebration event will begin at 14.00 with the ribbon cutting and shall then involve a visit along the path to the western end and back again. The return distance is just over two kilometres and the path will be open to all non-motorised traffic – foot, bicycle, wheelchair/mechanical wheelchair, pram and horse. This will be a great opportunity to meet with those involved, including funders, community path volunteers, and other members of the Auchterarder Community, some of whom have never visited this section of the path due to the poor condition of the surface, drainage and the narrow width plus difficult access at the western end.
MacRosty Park can only be maintained to a high standard with the help and support from visitors and the local community.
If you have the time and would like to help out we invite you (weather permitting) to join us in the park on Wednesday 22nd May 10am – 12pm
will remove duckweed & burr weed from the Lade watercourse and overgrown
vegetation from the banking
All abilities welcome – Please note that this activity is not suitable for young children. Tools, Nets, Tea, Coffee and biscuits provided. If you have your own waders please bring them as we have limited sizes available.
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.
On Tuesday 22nd, one of the volunteer groups in MacRosty Park in Crieff braved the wintery conditions to cut back some of the encroaching vegetation. The vegetation surrounding the toilet block had got to the stage where accessing the items stored behind the building was nearly impossible, not to mention being a bit of an eye-sore.
As seen in the before and after photos, there was quite a transformation! (not to mention the addition of more snow…)
If you would like to volunteer with community greenspace, or simply want to find out more please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Many people think of most wildlife slowing down for the winter or, in the case of some birds, flying to warmer climates. But, there is still plenty of wildlife to be seen – including some special winter visitors!
Red squirrels are still busy looking for food to store away for the winter months. They are frequently seen foraging on the forest floor or scrambling up the trunk of a pine tree. Your best chance of seeing them is to look in your local coniferous woodlands. Be aware of them running across the road though, as they don’t have very good road sense! Find out where they have been spotted recently on the Red Squirrels in Perth and Kinross Facebook page
Red squirrel and a blue-tit at a feeder spotted by Ranger Calum. Do you know of any feeders near you?
One sound that is often associated with the arrival of the colder months is the calls from large flocks of geese flying overhead. You may see the large “V” formations as they pass by. Did you know that this “V” is a great example of teamwork? Each bird flying reduces the air and wind resistance for the bird behind, allowing them to fly further before getting tired – they also take it in turns to fly at the front!
If you are lucky, you may even have some new faces in your garden. One special winter visitor is the Waxwing. This bird flies over from Scandinavia to find food, sometimes in quite large numbers. Keep an eye out for them gathered in small-to-medium flocks in Rowan or Hawthorn Trees. There are plenty others to be found; including goldfinches, long-tailed tits, blackbirds, woodpeckers and more.
The acrobatic long-tailed tits are great fun to watch – look for them in hedgerows, bushes and low trees
What wildlife have you seen in your area? Let us know in the comments below!