The attractive loch-side beaches and surrounding scenic landscapes have drawn visitors to the shores of Loch Earn and St Fillans for many years, particularly on weekends when the weather is good. Unfortunately, not all visitors are responsible when out in the countryside, with large amounts of litter frequently left behind.
Organised by the St Fillans Gardening Group and Community Council, many residents were out last week to collect litter from the shoreline, laybys and paths before a new influx of visitors to the area. A fantastic effort was made to get the area much cleaner for both locals and visitors to enjoy. We absolutely love the area in which we live and welcome visitors from far and wide, but ask that when visiting that you love it like you live here too.
As schools start back to a normal routine there has been an amazing increase of activities within the school grounds. Community Greenspace has been able to facilitate this by loaning out tools to school groups. So if your local school is out and about within their school grounds but need more hand tools, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and the appropriate Community Greenspace ranger will get back in touch.
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.
Saturday (25th) was the first task of the year for the Crieff Paths Group, who were delighted to be joined by a few new members. Armed with a full arsenal of spades, rakes, drainage rods and more, we tackled several of the drainage ditches and culverts along one of Crieff’s most popular paths; Lady Mary’s Walk.
Months (& years!) of leaf litter build-up and vegetation growth had filled in ditches and blocked off culverts. These require occasional maintenance so that water can run off freely without damaging or flooding the path.
Lady Mary’s Walk runs alongside the River Earn and the old dismantled railway. Some of the old railway drainage run offs are still in place, of which one had been overflowing and had started to affect the path. We managed to clear this out and could see immediately that the water was flowing correctly into the ditch and through the culvert into the Earn.
There is still some work to be done along Lady Mary’s Walk, and other paths in the Crieff area will require attention. The group plan to meet on the last Saturday of each month (usually 10.30-12.30) and hope to meet on Wed 19th Feb in addition to this.
If you would be keen to join in with the Crieff Paths Group on future projects, or would like to find out more, please contact the Strathearn Greenspace Ranger, Calum, on email@example.com, or the Crieff Community Trust on firstname.lastname@example.org (or check out their facebook page).
REMINDER: We also have a Paths Group Networking and Training Event in Pitlochry on the 27th Feb – book now to ensure your place!
On 5th December a group of 20 volunteers – both members of the pubic and council employees – gathered to plant 88 trees up at Viewlands Park in Perth. We were lucky with the weather as a window of relatively rain-free opportunity was open to us for the hour and a half we were there. It’s surprising how quickly you can plant that many whips with a good few hands to the task, and makes you think what a difference can be made while having fun out in the fresh air. Now we just have to hope that they will thrive in time and give all the good things: beautiful foliage, cleaner air, habitat for fellow creatures, and extra carbon sink in these times of climate uncertainty.
By the end, a steaming cuppa and a biccy were welcome rewards!
On an eyrie Thursday morning just before Christmas, 15 Pitlochry path group volunteers turned up to clear leaves, dig out drains and steps and sweep the Aluminium Bridge in Pitlochry. Over 1km of tarmac footways and paths were raked and swept in just over two hours. Although this was one of the easy tasks, everybody kept warm fuelled by hot beverages and mince pies.
If you fancy joining in helping to keep the promoted pitlochry path network user friendly and “conserved” please contact the group via email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Greenspace work with communities to manage a variety of sites across the area including the Den O Alyth which is known for its native woodland, red sandstone geology and its freshwater ecology.
Recently staff from SSE Renewables as part of their corporate volunteer programme helped to conserve the den by working towards the aims of the management plan. Staff spent the morning working with the rangers to remove Beech Tree saplings from an area of native woodland using tree popping tools and bowsaws. Beech are not native to the area and out compete native stock so staff were given the opportunity to take the trees home to replant. In the afternoon footpaths were cleared of leaves and mud making a huge difference to the paths which crisscross site. As an extra challenge the team also removed a tractor tyre which had been fly-tipped.
This is the second time SSE have helped us at the Den O Alyth. The help is invaluable and allows the many objectives of the management plan to be achieved. The team from SSE worked hard and enjoyed the challenges of doing something different.
To find out more about corporate volunteering please contact email@example.com
On December 1st members of the Bankfoot community braved the cold to come and help plant some daffodil bulbs in the Coronation Park. Despite sub-zero temperatures, there was a fantastic turn out, with people of all ages getting their hands (gloves!) dirty to get the bulbs in. Included were members from the Auchtergaven Community Council, local residents with their friends and family, as well as children from Auchtergaven primary School.
Amazingly, there were around 300 bulbs planted in total, even with frozen topsoil! This was one of the last opportunities in the year to get the daffodil bulbs into the ground to have them come into flower this Spring. Hopefully we will see a very colourful section of the park in a couple of months time!
Well done to everyone that joined in, and a big thank you to all those that supported the event. If you would like to get involved in future projects in the park, or to find out what will be going on, check out the Bankfoot Play Park Improvements facebook page.
To find out more about volunteering with PKC Community Greenspace, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com or PKC Greenspace at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P6 & P7 pupils from the Royal School Of Dunkeld recently joined the rangers for a morning of practical work. The task to help fix the footpaths around Jubilee park and Birnam Oak which is part of the popular riverside walk.
The Pupils raked leaves, dug out muddy patches and wheelbarrowed material to fill In potholes. Pupils will use the practical experience to help them achieve their John Muir award.
The Royal School of Dunkeld are working with various partners to improve and learn about the Greenspace surrounding the school.