Covid-19 restrictions are regularly changing in response to the virus and, at present, the Rangers are not able to lead volunteer groups on site. However, works on our path networks still needs to be carried out. The Perth & Kinross Council Community Greenspace tool loan scheme in Highland Perthshire is in full swing. The scheme aims to provide the means to carry out small path tasks.
It’s not just our regular volunteer groups that can benefit from this scheme! Also making use of our tools has been the Outdoor Education group at Breadalbane Community Campus, which aims to give every child an experience on a hills, river, snow and opportunities to complete the John Muir Award.
Tools can be loaned out to groups that wish to carry out site management works or other great projects. Our Rangers are putting Covid-19 measures in place providing guidelines for groups and putting in extra sterilising measurers into place. If you or your group would like use of any tools, please contact your local ranger for more information.
I’m Chris Martin (not the Coldplay one) and I will be covering the East Perth and Kinross area.
I have recently moved up from Buckinghamshire, a long way south of the border, to settle in this wonderful part of Scotland and look forward to experiencing all this area has to offer.
I previously worked for the Environment Agency in Hertfordshire and North London. I started my career in the Field Teams and progressed to the Asset Performance Team for the Flood Risk Management department of the organisation. I am excited to apply my knowledge, skills and experience to the role of Greenspace Ranger.
I love and thrive being outdoors. I am passionate about people and the environment and I look forward to working with the communities of Perth and Kinross.
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!).
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.
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!
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.
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.
On 22nd November we went out to meet the Portmoak Path Group, bringing along our “flail” – essentially a large grass cutter capable of cutting long and thick undergrowth. We were cutting the vegetation and grass along a 600m length of core path between Kinnesswood and Portmoak Moss, before it gets too overgrown. Despite a bit of rain, the flail made short work of the cutting while some volunteers used machetes to remove some bracken on the path edge.
Andrew from the group tackling the path edge
Reminding ourselves which button does what…
The freshly cut path – ready to be walked!
Calum taking the flail for a spin
The Portmoak Paths Group meets almost every week to maintain a variety of paths in the Kinnesswood/Baldegie area. If you would like to be involved, or to be put in contact with the group please contact Ranger Calum at firstname.lastname@example.org