Conservation Work in the Birks

20160507_11001220160507_11411020160522_150403IMG_6188IMG_6195Perth and Kinross conservation Volunteers had a planned task of Management plan works in the Birks of Aberfeldy.  unfortunately, none of the volunteers were available BUT the work still happened due to Abernethy Ardeonaig “Gappies” joining Jeannie to get the work done.  All involved are completing their John Muir Awards and have written a short article on their experiences. So in their own words;

“On Saturday 7th May and Sunday 22nd May, small groups of Abernethy Ardeonaig staff used the day to volunteer with Jeannie Grant, conserving the Birks of Aberfeldy area. I went on the Sunday. We spent the day next to the bench look-out point on the right hand side of the walkway. Jeannie told us all about how to tell between the different trees, and what ones we would be working with. Our job was to remove the beech trees as they are becoming a dominant species, not allowing other plants to grow. We used a variety of tools including spades, loppers and a bow saw. Everyone split away to different areas and started pulling up the small beech trees, snipping the bigger ones, digging out the roots and some were sawn down.  We additionally learnt how to make a fire in a Kelly kettle base so that it was safe and controlled, using small broken twigs, cotton wool and Vaseline. Once the fire was going we toasted marshmallows, celebrating the work and effort put into the day. By the middle of the afternoon the area looked clearer, and a big difference could be seen. It will take a while to clear the whole Birks area, but every bit of volunteering helps and makes a big impact.”

Jess Newbigging

Partnership working to keep our paths clear.

For a few years now there has been a partnership approach between Rannoch Path Group and Ardeonaig Centre to work on the paths in the Rannoch and Tummel area.  The Greenspace Ranger has joined this partnership, by providing tools, expertise and resfreshments.  This has enabled a number of paths in the Rannoch and Tummel area to recieve annual maintenance and improvements over the last three years.

Part of the John Muir Award and their Duke of Ediburgh Gold we asked the participants of Ardeonaig to write a short article on the works they have completed in the area.  They have been quoted saying “Rannoch was great”.  Their summary of what they have done and learnt is as follows;

As part of our DofE Gold Residential, we undertook two days of conservation volunteering with Annie from the Rannoch Path Group and Jeannie, the PKC Community Greenspace Ranger. On the first day, we met at the Lassintulloch forest entrance and set off on the path to MacGregor’s Cave.

There was a lot of bracken growing at the sides, so we used bracken bashers to bruise the stems, which weakens the bracken if repeated over a number of years. We also used loppers to cut back some vegetation which was a trip hazard, as well as some overhanging branches by the stepping stones over the burn.

On the second day we cleared the Hillside Path in Kinloch Rannoch, again using bracken bashers and loppers. We also used bow saws to cut back some fallen trees which were across the path, and a scythe for the long grass. We loved using the tools!

The paths are in a beautiful area, and we hope that people will be able to use them walking side by side rather than just in single file.

Andrew, Guy, Michael and Will

Abernethy Ardeonaig Environment & Conservation DofE Gold Residential

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Further paths works & volunteering in Pitlochry and Aberfeldy

Aberfeldy Tree Trail

Whilst doing the Explorer John Muir Award with the Community Greenspace Ranger, the volunteers have been helping to record the condition of the trees along the Tree Trail in the Birks of Aberfeldy.  The Tree Trail was designed and planted by the Matterson Family (Cluny Gardens) in the early 1960’s.

Birks of Aberfeldy PathsTo date the group has concentrated in maintaining the multiuser path width and removal of competition species to those in the tree trail.  However, over the past two weeks we have been looking at the condition of the trees.  They have been using a variety of information from maps drawn in the 1990’s to records of what trees were given plaques in 2011.  The group is thinking of ways how to collate all the historical data onto one spreadsheet or map.  This has the potential to be developed into a project towards schoolwork or higher education qualification. If interested please contact the Ranger as below.

Pitlochry Path Group start upgrading with SSE funding 

Pitlochry Path Group have been busy filling in application forms for Pitlochry Path upgrades.  They have been successful in gaining a £10000 grant from SSE.  The money will be spent on making a multiuser path from the Pitlochry Dam to the shore of Loch Faskally, new fencing and the group are repairing Lady Dell section of the path.

Today’s task was building up the path at Lady Dell using sandbags and type one materials.  The group split into smaller teams and production lines were created to fill sand bags, laying the bags, back filling and compacting the materials.  Work has not been completed and if you feel like joining in why not contact the Ranger to find out more!

Jeannie Grant
Community Greenspace Ranger
Breadalbane Community Campus, Crieff Road, Aberfeldy, PH15 2DU
Tel – 01887 822 425
Mobile – 07788 190 876

Pitlochry Paths Group

On Thursday 14th May Pitlochry Paths Group carried out some work at the Pitlochry Recreation Ground car park, joined by Greenspace Ranger Jeannie Grant. Pitlochry Rec is a fantastic park with a play area, football pitches, skatepark, terraces and a pavillion, but unfortunately the car park was getting a bit overgrown.

It was important that gloves were worn during this task as many of the bushes had sharp thorns, making it quite difficult to deal with. Although the bushes were being cut back to only 1 foot from the road edge, it was amazing how much plant material was eventually removed. The cuttings were placed into a couple of piles to be collected by the council afterwards, and the dust and debris was swept up too. There was quite a significant difference made over the morning – allowing everyone to leave quite satisfied with their work.

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Pitlochry Paths Group are a relatively new group, formed in 2014 and would welcome new members. Their goals are to improve and maintain the variety of path networks in and around Pitlochry. The group meet every other Thursday; for information on how to join please email Councillor Kate Howie at: khowie@pkc.gov.uk

Path Working at the Birks of Aberfeldy

The Perth and Kinross Conservation volunteers met up with  Jeannie Grant the Highland Area Ranger to carry out some path drainage clearance work on Saturday 9th May at the Birks of Aberfeldy. 

The worst natural thing for paths is water!  Especially water dripping off tree leaves!  To save and protect the paths, a number of different drainage systems are put into place to encourage the water to drain off the path as quickly as possible.  Due to the nature of the site there are a number of cross drains;  so the small group of volunteers managed to clear in the region of thirty drains! 

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Whilst clearing them it was identified that a number of them are needing realignment or minor repairs done to them.  It is slow work but when the drains work, it not only saves the path from further erosion but also is very satisfying.  So watch this space for a cross drain TLC day!