Drainage ditch clearing with PSYV

In order to keep the paths on our countryside sites in good condition we need to prevent too much water from the undergrowth from flowing onto the path. Of course, it is never possible to keep the path completely dry, so the path is usually shaped to ensure that water is able to run off the path rather than puddling. An important method for this is to have drainage ditches on some of the wetter parts of the paths to allow water to run away from, and underneath, the paths. At this time of year, once all the leaves have come off the trees, it isn’t unusual to find that drains suddenly become clogged – more so if the drains haven’t been cleared for a couple of years.  

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We were recently joined by the Police Scotland Youth Volunteers (PSYV) to undertake some work on the drainage ditches on Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park to maintain the high quality paths. Despite a bit of rain, the 13 volunteers worked along a stretch of the pathway on the western side of Kinnoull Hill. While in the area we took the opportunity to remove some of the younger beech trees, in keeping with our long-term plan of encouraging the regeneration of native oak, birch and pines trees.

PSYVLogoThe PSYV did a fantastic job, both at clearing the ditches and removing surrounding vegetation and beech. Although the ditches hadn’t quite reached the stage of being fully clogged up the difference before and after was still quite significant, and now the ditches should be good for a couple more years. To find out more about the PSYV visit their website or check them out on their Facebook page.

For more information about volunteering with community greenspace in your area, please contact communitygreenspace@pkc.gov.uk or call 01738 475000.

Portmoak Paths Group

On Thursday I met with some members of the Portmoak Paths Group to find out a bit about the work they are doing. We went to the paths on the hillside above Kinnesswood with the intention of de-berming some of the paths. Sharing the paths with the many walkers, joggers and cyclists are also some cattle. The intensive use of these paths combined with the heavy footfall of the cattle has resulted in trench-like paths with banks on either side. This creates small gulleys in which streams are formed after any rainfall, further eroding the paths.

Removing the banked sides of the paths and filling in the trenches had the effect of widening the paths and allowing water to flow off rather than along it. The result should be a reduced rate of erosion, less standing water (and therefore less mud) and paths that are easier to walk along.

In addition to the levelling out of paths the group also remove encroaching gorse and brush, cut back vegetation and carry out maintenance on a variety of paths in the area. There is always more to be done, as the path maintenance is an on-going but rewarding effort.

If you would like to join the Portmoak Paths Group, they would love to hear from you! They tend to meet every Thursday at 14.00 in the public car park in Kinnesswood (near to Portmoak Primary School). To get involved contact Greenspace Ranger Calum Bachell at cbachell@pkc.gov.uk

To find out about more volunteering opportunities in Perth and Kinross see our volunteer page

New Temporary Ranger for South Perth and Kinross

I’m Calum Bachell, and I will be covering the South Perth and Kinross area until January 2019. Having worked as part of the community greenspace team as a graduate trainee in 2015 I was delighted to come back as a greenspace ranger.

Between leaving PKC in 2015 and now I have completed a Master’s degree in Biology at the University of Tromsø; spending 1 year in Tromsø and another 1 ½ years in Svalbard. I focussed on studying nest defence behaviour in eider ducks against arctic foxes and predatory birds. After completion of my degree I worked a field season for the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, researching and monitoring seabird populations on the west coast of Norway.

My background is largely in ecology and wildlife, having studied a BSc in Ecological Science at The University of Edinburgh between 2010 and 2014. Working now as a Ranger allows me to apply my knowledge and experience in Greenspace sites in Perthshire. Now based back in Scotland I look forward to covering the South Perthshire area, including the incredible Kinnoull Hill, Loch Leven Heritage Trail and other great greenspaces in the area.

Easy Butterfly Surveys

This glorious weather has brought the butterflies out and what a beautiful sight it is.  We  recently joined Anthony McCluskey from Butterfly Conservation Scotland for a fascinating insight into butterflies.

Did you know only the male orange-tip butterflies have the bright orange tipped wings? Both have the beautiful green patterns on the underside of their wings.

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We visited the North Inch to see the wildflower meadows while Anthony explained how simple it is to record urban butterflies. You choose an urban Greenspace, visit it three times through the spring and summer and report your findings to Butterfly Conservation Scotland using your smart phone or the website. All you need is a sunny day, a simple id guide and a picnic!butterfly one

If you would like to record butterflies as part of the Urban Butterfly Survey, visit the iRecord website – https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/join/urban-butterfly-survey

There are lots of events happening in the Butterfly Conservation Scotland East Branch area this summer, and you can see them all here; https://butterfly-conservation.org/244/events.html?uf_Class=EastScotland

You can also help by planting pollinator friendly plants and herbs in your garden or window boxes.

 

 

Far reaching Rangers!

In  Perth and Kinross there are a total of two full time rangers and three part time rangers covering an area of 5,286 km, the fifth largest area covered by a Council in Scotland.

Although every ranger service is unique, throughout Scotland we all have some common aims which are to engage with people of all ages and encourage all to use green spaces.

In Perth and Kinross we are taking the lead in working with community groups, in particular path groups, health and well being and dementia groups.  Our work also contributes to the Scottish wide statistics as shown on the poster below.

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If you are interested in finding out more about the work we do or want to volunteer in one of the many groups please do get in touch.

Provost Walk Path Preservation and Protection

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Volunteers hard at work

The Auchterarder Path Group have been working in partnership with Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust to upgrade the Provost walk on the west of the town the first phase was opened at the end of June and work is now underway on the second phase.

However the group had noticed on the first phase vegetation(creeping buttercup and leaf litter) had started to become a bit of an issue and it was damaging the path and making it more difficult to use.

The group decided to run a task and managed to get a great turnout for a first task of 11 volunteers which included workers from Bear Scotland. Although the day was driech  the groups spirits were not dampened(probably helped by the baking done by the group leaders) and they managed to get the path back to looking almost brand new again.

If you are interested in volunteering for the Auchterarder Path Group please contact the Greenspace Ranger for the area, Alan Dorman by email adorman@pkc.gov.uk or call 01738 475000

Highland Tools

Over the last few years the Community Greenspace Ranger has been purchasing tools for local groups to use.  These hand tools have been loaned out to a Bloom Group, Paths Groups and even the Gaelic Class in Breadalbane – all in a week!

Jeannie the ranger stated “it is great to see the tools used by all the local groups but please book in advance what you want to borrow. Where appropriate it is best for local groups to source their own tools via either recycling unwanted of fundraising for new”.

If you have any ideas of how to resource groups, please get in touch via communitygreenspace@pkc.gov.uk

 

Wild Fox

Posted by Monty, Greenspace Ranger

Being a Greenspace Ranger doesn’t mean that you meet with wildlife every day, but there’s always the off-chance that if you keep your senses aware and your eyes open, you might just get lucky.

Here’s a lovely dog-fox I caught on camera yesterday near Maryburgh, south of Kinross.

wild fox

As he came across the field towards me, I stood perfectly still. I happened to be downwind of him, with my back to the sun, so he wouldn’t have seen me standing there.  He came right across the field in front of me and after I’d taken a couple of photos, I made a deliberate noise to watch his reaction.  He stopped and sniffed the air, though I doubt he could smell anything unusual.  Nevertheless he turned and trotted unhurriedly back across the way he came.  As he passed under the fence at the other side I happened to notice another large fox, perhaps the vixen, too far now for my poor camera skills.

Saying that, I captured this lovely view of Loch Leven with Vane hill just right of centre, around about the same time yesterday.

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Looking towards Vane Hill