Crieff Paths Group at Turretbank Wood

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 candocrieff@gmail.com or PKC Greenspace at communitygreenspace@pkc.gov.uk.

Helping to look after the Dunkeld Path Network

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police Scotland Youth Volunteers in Action.

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The Beatrix Potter Garden in Birnam was recently treated to an Autumn tidy up thanks to Police Scotland Youth Volunteers.

The volunteers gave up their Sunday to help cut back and clear overgrown shrub beds, clear ivy plus expose some of the statue’s which are unique to the garden. The group also helped clear shurubs from an overgrown cairn and added a gravel path.

Lunch was kindly provided by the Birnam Arts Centre and the project was supported by staff from  Community Greenspace.

 

 

Looking after Larghan Park Meadow

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Volunteers from Wisecraft in Blairgowrie recently helped give the Wildflower Meadow in Larghan park its Autumn makeover. The meadow is an important feature in the park, creating great habitat for pollinators throughout the summer months. 

Now Autumn is upon us the meadow is cut and raked to help spread the seed while the cuttings are lifted by keen volunteers. Lifting cuttings helps our wildflowers thrive by removing the nutrients from the soil.  

Its is hoped the work will contribute towards the John Muir Award which the group are currently completing.

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Tree Pits in Crieff

The Green Routes Group in Crieff was busy last Thursday creating some tree pits for a few of the trees along the lade-side in MacRosty Park. We were lucky enough to be joined by Graham from another department within the council, and Sebastienne from the NHS.

Tree pits are used for several purposes, and can be very small or vast in size – depending on the location and the size of the tree. In the case of these trees the pits were created to prevent grass from growing right up to the base of the tree. When cutting grass that is too close to the base of the tree there is a risk of damaging the tree with the cutting equipment.

To create these pits we needed to dig out the top 4-6 inches of soil from around the base of the trees. We then put down some mulch matting to prevent weeds from growing as readily, and filled in the rest with bark. Once finished the pits looked great, and should require very little maintenance each year, other than occasional top-up of bark.

Path groups training in Crieff

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 communitygreenspace@pkc.gov.uk

John Muir Awards with GRTW Crieff

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.

Weeding in the Lade

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.

 

John Muir Awards with Green Routes to Wellbeing

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!

 

Grand Opening of Provost’s Walk

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.