Archive for the ‘Litter picking’ Category

Next members' meeting: Monday 20th March, 7.30pm, Union Chapel, Wellington Road, Fallowfield.

Sherwood Street hedge

We planted this hedge on 8th February 2015.  It was our second attempt after the first planting of small shrubs were accidentally mown down by Sustrans contractors!  Over the intervening eight years most of the double row of trees and shrubs round the Sherwood Street/Wellington Road corner and the single row by the fence on the left of the entrance have grown well. Ian Barker's work group gave the plants a good pruning workday on 2nd February.  Most of them were cut back well, but a few were deliberately left as taller specimens.

Update – Mayor's Challenge Fund Development and Improvement Project.

The latest news is that there has been no progress in acquiring further information about what might be planned for the Loop and (more likely) the 'Yellow Brick Road' from Debdale Park to the Ashton canal.  This is despite several FotFL members lobbying their councillors by email and visits to their surgeries.  Our Chair has been promised a report from Cllr Tracy Rawlins, the Council's Executive member for Environment and Transport, but this has yet to materialise.

On a related issue, it is reported by a member that the long promised work is about to start on improving the Yellow Brick Road. In particular, it may be that the steep junction where the Fallowfield Loop goes over the Yellow Brick Road at Debdale is going to be eased. If you pass this point please let us know of any progress!

Information from a Council Press Release dated Feb 26th:

 'The feedback from past surveys/consultations has been used to inform the Council's plans for using  £300,000 Safer Streets funding that include the following measures.'
    • Site clearance and landscaping
    • Access point improvements with new entry markers and illuminated bollards
    • New and replacement signs along the whole route, and linked to access point
    • New fences, guard rails and barriers.
Additionally, the funding will look at areas that need resurfacing prioritised such as where tree routes have caused the current surface to buckle/break up.

Orchard projects and workdays

Dick Venes reports that Ian Barker's Sustrans volunteers have had a very productive two months.  Together with personnel from the Orchard Project the newest orchard ('Chervil') trees were cleared of surrounding growth and pruned as necessary.  At another session at the Levenshulme 'Quadrants', the volunteers tidied round and weeded the Incredible Edible Levenshulme's raised beds and pruned most of the Levenshulme orchard apple and pear trees.  The group has also worked on the willow maze and overgrown vegetation in the Abbey Hey section of the Loop.
In addition, the remaining apple and pear trees in Levenshulme and those in the Fallowfield and Debdale orchards have also been pruned.  The soft fruit trees are earmarked for pruning in the summer, as they are more susceptible to fungal diseases at this time of year.
If you are interested in helping with orchard work please contact Dick Venes via email: rjvenes@waitrose.com.

Litter picking

Charles Kinniburgh reports:
    1. On 10th February, an enthusiastic group of parents, pupils and teachers from Cringle Brook Primary School joined in on a litter pick organised by the school.  They concentrated on the section of the Fallowfield Loop between Slade Lane and Lindleywood Road and retrieved an impressive 31 bags of litter in little more than an hour.  They were ably supported by Zoe from Keep Manchester Tidy who provided the equipment. Erica and I from FotFL/Sustrans assisted where we could.  If you have a child at a school near the Floop and are considering holding a similar event, feel free to contact me for advice.
    2. Alston Road, which crosses the Loop just past the Debdale Park exit, in particular was very littered. It is a popular route for school children and in its current state sends them the wrong message with regard to looking after the environment.  So we organised a litterpick on 2nd March and cleared the road up, plus the adjacent playing field. 

Tree work on the Loop

Some of you will have noticed tree work taking place along the Loop between Slade Lane and Levenshulme.  It has been pleasing to see that Sustrans put up some very useful signs about the work, so that Loop users were well informed about the reasons for the work.  This is particularly good as many people get rather agitated about tree loss.  In the past, environmental surveys of the Loop have highlighted the variety of habitats along the route, and self seeded tree removal and pruning helps this biodiversity.

Sign boards

At the Levenshulme quadrants work day, we 'broke in' to the heavily graffitied signboard and found that the Loop map under the plastic cover was in very good condition.  The signboard at the Debdale Park exit was recently cleaned up successfully with paint remover but several others, including Levenshulme, look to be beyond recovery.  We have measured the polycarbonate plastic cover at Leve and are looking to replace the really badly defaced covers at several other locations.

Nature News

The January and February Sunday walks saw 2023 off to a good start. Despite being a grey murky morning, the walk round the Gorton Reservoirs gave us a good count of bird species (28) both on and around the water. The February walk from Withington Road to Platt Brook,on a much brighter day,gave a count of 25 bird species and many signs of spring with hazel catkins showing and many trees and bushes in bud. A pair of long tailed tits were seen preparing to nest in the brambles.
A big thanks to Erica for tirelessly recording and counting all of our sightings over many months 😄!

The March walk will start at the Quadrants (Crayfield Road) at 10.30 on the 26th. A separate reminder will be emailed nearer the time.

The future of the Friends

Currently we are operating with a soon to retire Chair, no Hon Secretary and a stand in Hon Treasurer.  Past appeals for members to volunteer for Officer positions have failed to attract anyone so far, so we are currently facing disbanding the Friends organisation at the next AGM.  If this happens, our Constitution states that ' in the event of the dissolution of the Association, once all liabilities have been met, any money or property left over shall be transferred to such charitable organisations as members deem suitable.'

If you are interested in helping the Friends group continue in the future,the time to volunteer is now!

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Sherwood Street dump

The patch of land next to Sherwood Street – the bit where there is no path – seems to be abandoned. We’ve cleared a lot of rubbish from it, but there is more to do. Maybe someone needs to think of something we could do with the land?

We spent Thursday morning topping and trimming the hedges at the Sherwood St entrance. Picking up the rubbish was just a bit of added excitement, as we didnt realise how much there was.

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Path from Mauldeth Road West

The path comes in from Mauldeth Road West, just west of Princess Road where the Princess Hotel and its bowling green were where the flats and its car park are now.

Map of the area from 1995 when the Princess Hotel and its bowling green were where the flats and its car park are now

On 15th December our volunteers cleared this entrance path back to its original width, by cutting the higher growth and scraping up the ivy from the path surface.

Two thirds of passers-by expressed appreciation for what we did, with many shouts of “thank you” and “amazing”.  Only one dissenter and I think that even they went away happy or at least placated.

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Without litter picking, much of the path and particularly entrances would become very littered in a fairly short space of time.

Fortunately, there are a good number of volunteers who are happy to do their bit to keep littering on the path to an acceptable level. Some of these volunteers belong to groups such as the Friends of the Fallowfield Loop or Sustrans (who manage the path) or a Scout Group. Others act on a purely individual basis and this is fine too. Everybody is welcome to join in, either on a regular basis, or just as a one-off. The following is intended to help those that want to get involved and are not sure how to make the first steps

Floop Litter Pickers Group

Volunteers litter-picking
Volunteers litter-picking

The Floop Litter Pickers was formed in autumn 2021 partly as a result of the pandemic when it made a lot of sense to split the path into sections and invite people to ‘adopt’ a section. (Prior to this, the only organised litter picking was done by a group meeting once per month and working on a different part of the path each time). To set up the Floop Litter Pickers, a number of volunteers were appointed as ‘Lead volunteers’ and they were provided with some basic equipment largely supplied by Manchester City Council and the Friends. It was left up to each one to decide when and how they would organise their litter picking. Most found others to assist them while others were already part of another group and could call on that group to assist them. The Floop Litter Pickers remain active today and most people seem to agree that based on the state of the path, the present set up is working well.

Probably the easiest way to get involved is to contact your local Lead volunteer.

Floop Litter Pickers – Lead volunteers (Jan 2023)

Start of section Lead volunteer Contact details
St Werburghs Paul Hutton phutton1968@gmail.com 07821 642445
Withington Road Julian Beach (Scouts) julian@trink.co.uk 07973 382980
Princess Road Martin Rathfelder marathfelder@ntlworld.com 07968 703740
Yew Tree Road Cath Dyson dyson_catherine@hotmail.com
Sherwood Street Charles Kinniburgh charles.kinniburgh@gmail.com 07784 793363
Sainsburys Vincent Walsh vincentwalsh@tiscali.co.uk 07588 335781
Lindleywood Road Dick Venes rjvenes@waitrose.com 07749 421254
Slade Lane Pam Flynn pamflynn@cooptel.co.uk 07848 008249
Railway bridge before Quadrants Cerri Horrocks fabricake@rocketmail.com 07980 305760
Railway bridge after Quadrants Helen Nicholson h.nicholson@mmu.ac.uk 07905 095016
Nelstrop Bridleway Charles Kinniburgh charles.kinniburgh@gmail.com 07784 793363
Station Road Daniel Leaman axhn55@gmail.com 07879 657461
Ryderbrow Road/ Dean Road Charles Kinniburgh charles.kinniburgh@gmail.com 07784 793363
Gorton Allotments Ellen Maxwell Ellengmaxwell@yahoo.com 07766 242038
Wright Robinson Paul Billington BillLanc@yahoo.com 07767 057537

They will advise you on how to get hold of equipment (e.g. a litter picker, high viz jacket, gloves) and what to do with the bags of litter once collected. There is a natural turnover of lead volunteers and so we are always looking for new recruits. If you feel you would like to get involved in this way, please contact the co-ordinator: Charles Kinniburgh (charles.kinniburgh@gmail.com) 07784 793363

Volunteers at work near Errwood Road
Volunteers at work near Errwood Road

Schools, Scout Groups, etc

For individuals, joining the Friends is a good way of belonging to a group whose main aim is to ensure the path remains a valued and widely used asset. However, we also wish to encourage local participation in as many ways as possible and therefore would like to encourage other groups such as schools or scount/guide groups to become involved – and litter picking is a good way to do this and it has a valuable educational benefit too. If you want to know more about how groups can get involved, please contact Charles Kinniburgh (charles.kinniburgh@gmail.com) .


There have been no serious accidents or incidents while litter picking but nevertheless a few precautions should be taken:

• Be aware that the path is used by cyclists and therefore try not to switch sides more than you have to and always look before crossing the path

• Pay particular attention to protecting your face especially when reaching into bushes

• Only venture where you are comfortable doing so and have regard for your personal safety (e.g. work in pairs)

• Do not feel obliged to clear everything – fly tips and dangerous items should be left untouched and reported for others to deal with

• Do not leave valuables such as bikes unattended

The positives

There are a surprising number of benefits that you may experience as a result of joining the litter picking family. Here are some:
• a feeling of doing something useful (rather just moaning about it)
• some worthwhile exercise
• enjoyment of being in the fresh air and being surrounded by nature
• a mental health benefit by engaging your mind on ‘other things’

The commitment

There is no commitment ! You can do as much or as little as you like, when you like and how you like. It will all be appreciated.

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We were very pleased that the staff at Sainsbury’s in Fallowfield chose the Friends to be the community group that they worked with as part of the Sainsbury’s 150th birthday celebrations! We agreed three volunteering activities to carry out with the staff:

  • A stall for the Friends in the foyer of the Fallowfield Sainsbury’s store. The information stall proved to be a success with many visitors; we hope that we can repeat this activity during 2020.
  • Undertaking a survey of users on the Loop, with the aim of providing further data to support the Friends and help Sustrans further develop the Loop as a community resource. Erica led this activity with Bryony, the Sainsbury staff volunteer co-ordinator. In all over 80 survey forms were completed and the information gained will be shared in due course.
  • Holding a litter-picking event to familiarise some new people with the Loop while also producing a measurable change in the quality of the Loop environment. Here is a section of Charles’ litter-pick report: “On 11th August manager Gareth and his team showed up to super-charge the litter-picking regulars this month and we completed cleaning the Sainsbury’s to The Quadrants stretch in good time – and despite the littering being light, we managed to remove 6 bags of the stuff as well as having a good time to boot.  Thank you Sainsbury’s.”

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Autumn clean-up of the Loop

An autumn clean-up of the Loop has taken place over the past weekend (20th and 21st October), almost exactly six months after a similar event in the spring.  Fortunately the weather was warm and dry on both days which made for pleasant conditions!  As previously, volunteers started from The Quadrants, Levenshulme on both days and headed east on the Saturday and west on the Sunday.  The task was over by 1 p.m. on each day which was partly due to the fact that the Whalley Range Scouts took responsibility for some of the Loop at the St Werburgh’s Road end and The Abbey Hey Neighbourhood Forum did the same for the Fairfield end. It was also helped by the fact that there was only about 40% of the litter collected this time and there were no blatant fly-tips to be dealt with. The detailed statistics were as follows (where the numbers in brackets are the corresponding numbers for the spring clean-up):

  • Number of volunteers participating Saturday = 15 (20).
  • Number of volunteers participating Sunday = 8 (17).
  • Number of volunteers participating more than once = 3 (8).
  • Total volunteer-days = 23 (38).
  • Total volunteers participating = 20 (29).
  • Number of bags filled on Saturday (Levenshulme to Fairfield) = 26 (61).
  • Number of bags filled on Sat/Sunday (Levenshulme to St Werburgh’s) = 28 (65).
  • Total bags of litter collected = 54 (126).

These figures only tell half the story as they don’t take into account the amount of litter picked up in the months prior to these events. Undoubtedly there was significantly less removed before this clean-up as compared to the previous one; we hope that this all points to the Loop becoming less littered!

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A clean-up of the Loop took place over the weekend of 28th and 29th April. Thanks to organiser Charles for this update!

Volunteers principally from the Sustrans Volunteers and the Friends of the Fallowfield Loop took part in the event and over the two days filled bags and bags with litter and collected piles of un-baggable waste. These were left at the side of the track for collection by Sustrans staff with their truck. Fortunately the weather was dry and not too windy although it was unseasonably cold, particularly on the Sunday.

The statistics were:

  • Number of volunteers participating Saturday = 20
  • Number of volunteers participating Sunday = 17
  • Number of volunteers participating Monday = 1
  • Number of volunteers participating more than once = 8
  • TOTAL Volunteer-days = 38
  • TOTAL Volunteers participating = 29
  • Number of black bags filled on Saturday (Levenshulme to Gorton Reservoir) = 55
  • Number of black bags filled on Saturday (St Werburgh’s to Withington Road) = 14
  • Number of black bags filled on Sunday (Levenshulme to Withington Road) = 51
  • Number of bags filled on Monday (Gorton Reservoir to Fairfield) = 6
  • TOTAL Bags of litter collected = 126

(N.B. The bags used were large (100-litre) refuse bags equivalent to approx 1.3 bags as used by the council for litter collection.)

Unfortunately not many pictures were taken to record the event as we had our work cut out completing the route. The real record fortunately is on the Loop for everyone to see – it’s looking a real picture!

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Over the past several months volunteers from the Friends and Sustrans have continued their excellent efforts to maintain and improve the Loop.  Recent activities have included a spring litter-pick, managing the saplings along the Loop edges, wildflower sowing and improving the grassed area at the Levenshulme quadrants!

New volunteers are always welcome so if anyone would like to come along and help from time to time (it doesn’t have to be every  Thursday) then please get in touch!



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