On Tuesday 3rd September volunteers from several path groups across PKC came to Crieff to take part in some PKC-led strimmer, leaf blower and pedestrian flail training. We had members from path groups in Crieff, Auchterarder and Abernethy taking part, despite a downpour throughout!
Much of the work the paths groups undertake requires the use of these tools, and proper operation of them is essential for the safety of both the user and those around them, as well as preventing damage to the equipment.
If you or your path group would be interested in being trained up on the safe use of strimmers, leaf blowers or flails we hope to hold another session soon. To register you interest please contact email@example.com
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 has seen a huge amount of weed growth across all of Perth and Kinross. Needless to say, the Lade in MacRosty Park is no exception, as several weeds including Burrweed and Duckweed took over in a short space of time.
On a couple of occasions over the last few weeks some eager volunteers have helped Calum to remove the bulk of the weeds and cut back the encroaching vegetation. Along the way we have found a host of different invertebrates, amphibians and even a dead brown trout (although we’re not quite sure how it got there!).
To give the amphibians and invertebrates the best chance to return to the water, the removed weeds were stacked next to the Lade and will be removed a few days later.
As a result the Lade looks much improved, and the water is running far better.
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.
Further works to improve the Provost Walk in Auchterarder are well underway, continuing the incredible work that has already been done to improve this path network.
Meanwhile the Auchterarder Core Paths Working Group have been incredibly busy on the Jubilee walk, public park and surrounding paths through organised tidy-up sessions – even in the torrential rain!
“We still managed to tidy some of the Provost with our new tools today! We were soon warm after a brushing work out. Followed by bramble pruning and a quick litter pick. Primroses are flowering well now! Coffee n biscuits at the finish were well received. Thank you Jane.”
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
Over the last couple of months the Portmoak Paths Group amd Portmoak Community Council have been working hard to maintain the historical “Dryside Road” core path that runs from Easter Balgedie, behind Wester Balgedie to GlenLomond, after which it continues as a vehicular route. The path is well known to some of the locals, but has never benefitted from proper signage. For their last meeting of the year, Ranger Calum met with the group on the 13th December to install new signage posts at either end of the path, as well as another at the start of the core path to Glenvale.
We used a new signage design, one of the first to be used for the core paths in Perth and Kinross, and incorporated it into the new posts. Compared to the finger posts and large arrow blades used elsewhere, these new designs are smaller and mounted directly onto a shorter fence post. This allows easier installation and maintenance, as well as reducing the risk of signs being hit by large vehicles driving past – especially important to consider when placing signs at the entrance to farms! From a walker or cyclists perspective, the signs are at a better height for being read, and they are less intrusive on the landscape.
Moving forward, there are plans to further improve the path by installing a new gate and cutting back vegetation where the path has overgrown.