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.

SSE in action at the Den O Alyth

Community Greenspace recently welcomed 15 engineers from SSE to the Den O Alyth. The group split in two with one group cutting back branches and digging back years of mud from the path which links the Den to the main carpark. This involved a lot of digging and moving materials to create a much improved footpath surface.

In the afternoon the volunteers headed off for a walk round the den to help with Tree pulling . This task is really important to help preserve the den by removing non-native Beech Trees which help our native Trees flourish.  Using tree poppers and hand power the Beech saplings were removed making it a fun task. Drainage ditches were also cleared out to help keep the paths in good condition.

An enjoyable day was had by all and the team worked hard to achieve a lot.

We welcome corporate volunteers from many backgrounds and businesses. Please contact us at communitygreenspace@pkc.co.uk should your organisation wish to volunteer with us.

Pitlochry in Bloom

It is not often that a Ranger get invited to a Bloom AGM, but we snuck in under the Path group remit as they are the umbrella organisation.  What I hadn’t appreciated was that the Bloom Group is 25 years old, so we all got a bit of cake!

This group has achieved a lot over the 25 years but like all groups they need more volunteers and in their own words of their success and plea….

“Pitlochry in Bloom will be 25 years old this year.

I have been the Secretary of Pitlochry in Bloom for just over a year. I was quite new to the Committee and certainly had not realised what this Committee (The Bloomers) had done for the town over these years. They have worked tirelessly in Pitlochry since 1993, winning numerous awards and looking after the local environment, along with a band of volunteers and local groups including the Litter Pick Group and the Path Group. Were you aware of some of their work ?

Let me list some of them here for you.

  • The three stone signs at each of the entrances to the town welcoming you to Pitlochry;
  • The bed with the postman on his penny farthing beside the sorting office;
  • The bed with the whisky still in the middle opposite Aldour;
  • The fisherman in his boat just before the railway bridge;
  • The Victorian nanny with her pram at the other side of the railway bridge;
  • The stone loving seat opposite the scout hut;
  • The four large round metal
  • Containers at the War Memorial and the four metal benches depicting soldiers from the First World War;
  • The Victorian flower seller outside the RBS bank and the Porter at the station.

This is only some of the work Pitlochry in Bloom have done with fundraising and securing different grants. BUT they all have to be weeded, planted and repaired and this is down to a very dwindling band of our superb volunteers. 

The benefits the town receives are incalculable and I am sure you have all seen the tourists who come and take many photos and memories back home and describe Pitlochry as a beautiful, clean and welcoming town with its Summer Hanging Baskets and various floral displays and excellent path network.

The “Bloomers” urgently need some more local participation in order to continue. This is a very urgent appeal and without some new people stepping forward our survival is in doubt.

It would be tragic if this was to come to an end and all the flowers disappeared. 

Please get in touch with me if you are able to offer some of your time to help this very worthwhile Committee, either as a volunteer to help with gardening or bring new energy to our Committee.

katehowie@yahoo.co.uk”

1. VOLUNTEERING FOR ALL: – National Volunteers’ Week. 1-7th June 2018

Volunteers’ Week is a chance to say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.  It takes place 1-7 June every year and is an opportunity to celebrate volunteering in all its diversity.

During the week, hundreds of events and celebrations take place across the country, saying thank you to volunteers and recognising their invaluable and diverse contribution to the UK.

Here you’ll find inspiring volunteering stories, ways to get involved in the week, and free downloadable resources to help make your celebrations a success.

Here on our Greenspace Volunteer Blog we will be celebrating the diversity of our own volunteers throughout the week. Highlighting a different person or group each day.   If you would like to join in, please tag @perthandkinross #volunteers

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Volunteers’ Week themed days

Saturday 2 June and Sunday 3 June

All in a picture! Share your best volunteering pictures on Twitter and Instagram using #VolunteersWeek – the more diverse the better!

Monday 4 June

As well as tweeting about volunteering for all, we’ll also be saying happy birthday to the NHS – 70 this year!

Tuesday 5 June

We’ll be placing the spotlight on young volunteers.

Wednesday 6 June

Tweeting about all the ways volunteers get involved in sports and physical activity.

Volunteering for all

This year, Volunteers’ Week is about volunteering for all – celebrating the huge range of people who give their time in so many ways.

When thanking your volunteers this year, take a moment to remember each and every one of them. From trustees and campaigners to carers and fundraisers, this is a great time to think about the fantastic contribution all your volunteers make.

Woodland Sessions for People with Early-Stage Dementia

Week two of the Dementia Woodland Activity Sessions at Kinnoull Hill saw another great turn out including two new members. The sun came out, as did two red squirrels and a buzzard amid all of the sights and sounds of Spring and smell of wild garlic.

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We still have plenty of room and would love to see some more new faces. If you know of anyone who could benefit from a lovely woodland walk, or you are a carer needing a bit of respite please join us. We meet on Thursdays at 10am  until 1pm at the Shed, Kinnoull Hill. Tea and biscuits are provided.

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Ranger Joanna with John and signs of red squirrel feeding


Want to know more? Please contact Ranger Susan Whyte 01738 475 395. 

Perth Lade, March Litter Pick

 

“As the Community Greenspace Partnership Officer one of my community projects is the Perth Lade. We have been carrying out a number of different vegetation, tree and litter clearance works and are also working with local schools and community groups on different improvement projects.

This litter pick was one in a number of community litter picks that are carried out on the Perth Lade; this was on a much smaller scale than our action day carried out in October of 2017.  Regular litter picks/action days are to be planned for the future.

We will advertise our next litter pick soon, everyone is welcome to join”.

Kirsty Scott

 

 

BRAN press report 24.02.18

Blairgowrie & Rattray Access Network (BRAN) 

Nine volunteers met in fine crisp weather on Saturday morning, 24th February. Their work consisted of cutting back intrusive broom growth in the main plus brambles and other growth that threatened to reduce path widths.

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Areas covered included the track to the immediate south of the Blairgowrie Golf Club that skirts the north side of Meikleour Wood to the east of the A93, then on into the woodland. The group split to cover most of the tracks around the Hare Myre, one of our hidden local gems. Several swans were enjoying a slide on the frozen water including a couple that made a spectacular landing.

Having completed the necessary work on that side of the main road the party made for the west side where there was more broom and bramble growth to cut back through the plantation and towards Pleahillock. Here they found a partly collapsed beech tree that had toppled across the path, the landowner had helpfully cleared a way through but more work is required.

The photo shows (from the left): Cyril Reid, Ally Donald, Dave Stanghon, Roger Mackey, Jan Seymour, Grahame Mustard, Phil Seymour and Carol MacGregor.

Anybody interested in helping BRAN with its path maintenance should contact the secretary, Ian Richards. Ian_richards2007@yahoo.com

6th Green Flag for MacRosty Park

 

We are delighted to announce that MacRosty Park in Crieff has been awarded a Green Flag for a 6th year!

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, has welcomed the announcement which saw 70 successful parks being celebrated as 2016 award winners

Ms Cunningham visited MacRosty Park in Crieff today (Thursday 21 July) to celebrate it receiving the award for the sixth year running. Members of the Friends of MacRosty Park, Green Routes to Wellbeing and Perth and Kinross Council were on hand to celebrate how their hard work has helped to shape and improve this significant local space.

Councillor Michael Williamson, vice-convener of the Environment Committee of Perth & Kinross Council, said:

We are delighted that MacRosty Park has been awarded its sixth Green Flag Award by Keep Scotland Beautiful. It is an important public space in the heart of Crieff, and has proved invaluable as a venue for events and educational activities for the local community. Quality green spaces such as this are an important natural resource and bring great enjoyment to residents and visitors alike.

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All parks are assessed by volunteer judges with a background in parks management, conservation or ecology. Applicants are judged against testing criteria which includes assessing whether the park or green space is welcoming, safe, well-maintained and secure.

I would like to add a personal thank you from me (Ros) to everyone who helps in the park, in particular in the build up to the green flag assessment and celebration.  We got muddy, got wet (and sunburned) and hopefully we had fun regardless.  This would not have been possible without the support and enthusiasm of the volunteers and the Friends of MacRosty Park (past and present) and we are all incredibly grateful for their commitment.

 

Partnership Working in their words – Rannoch Path Group

As a Ranger it is easy to sell the benefits of volunteering but not often do we hear what the participants have to say.  The Ranger from Highland Perthshire worked with two different groups from Abernethy Ardeonaig Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) residents and the Rannoch Path Group.  As part of their experience to gain the John Muir Award participants were asked to write a few words of their experience…

Week 1

As part of our DofE Gold Residential, we undertook two days of conservation volunteering with Annie from the Rannoch Path Group and Jeannie, the PKC Community Greenspace Ranger. On the first day, we met at the Lassintulloch forest entrance and set off on the path to MacGregor’s Cave.

There was a lot of bracken growing at the sides, so we used bracken bashers to bruise the stems, which weakens the bracken if repeated over a number of years. We also used loppers to cut back some vegetation which was a trip hazard, as well as some overhanging branches by the stepping stones over the burn.

On the second day we cleared the Hillside Path in Kinloch Rannoch, again using bracken bashers and loppers. We also used bow saws to cut back some fallen trees which were across the path, and a scythe for the long grass. We loved using the tools!

The paths are in a beautiful area, and we hope that people will be able to use them walking side by side rather than just in single file.

Andrew, Guy, Michael and Will

Week 2

When we signed up to an Environment & Conservation Residential, I don’t think any of us pictured the following scene: standing in the pouring rain beside a raging (but still beautiful) waterfall. Yet we were there, and we were enjoying it to boot!

Maybe it was down to the company – the group of us who had not met before this week, and since had become the best of friends. Maybe it was down to the instruction – Jeannie, Annie and the Abernethy Team had created an incredible environment in which to work. Yet I suspect it was both of these and more.

The work we were doing felt meaningful. We began by widening a path, then lopping trees, bashing bracken, digging ditches, scooping bark and, in the end, improving the views. Of course, none of this could have been done without a set of awesome (yet dangerous) tools that kept us on our toes!

All was rounded off with a few great surprises – a walker who left a goody-bag for us as thanks for our work greatly boosted morale, the use of a Kelly Kettle for a welcome cuppa and toasted marshmallows created a community atmosphere, and the chance to meet some amazing volunteers made the experience truly excellent, despite the Scottish weather.

James & Ben, on behalf of the rest of the team: Dion, Gianna, Rachel, Kate, Meaghan, Chloe, Bethan, Cecilia & Sophie

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