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Archive for the ‘Volunteering’ Category

Feedback received on the trial of open barriers on the Loop and the results of the Friends’ surveys (online and face-to-face) have now been collated.  A fuller report will be completed and published in due course, but meanwhile this summary report is being shared with Sustrans for discussion.

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Sustrans arranged a “Great British Rake Off” event 14291851_1184587371600200_1842510068958838096_nat the Sherwood Street entrance to the Loop today (as part of the ongoing Greener Greenways project). The area was cut last week at a Sustrans scything training event. Several FotFL members helped out, removing cut growth from the area, and focussing on weeding and pruning the two hedging strips we planted last year. The hedge has grown really well this year, like all plants, but this has meant we have had to keep on top of encroachment by nettles, thistles, docks and convolvulus, which seem to like the area!. Some yellow toadflax seeds were also scattered, having been collected from our sister route in Liverpool, and a small patch of ground was weeded, prepared and scattered with wild flower seeds. Incredible Edible Levenshulme’s wildflower drift at the Quadrants site has shown how attractive these can be.

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Following the recent “open barriers” trial on the Loop, we have been gathering Loop users’ views on the experience of having the barriers open.  We have already received a good amount of feedback through the website, by email and through a recent face-to-face survey on the Loop of passing users.  If anyone hasn’t yet provided feedback on the open barriers and would like to do so, then it is not too late!  Please complete this short online survey before the end of August.  We will then collate all the feedback received from different sources to give an overall assessment of the trial.

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Scything on the Loop

Members of the Friends were this weekend learning about scything on the Loop, with the sessions led by tutor Simon Tomlin who has written about the weekend here.  Attendees learnt that cutting with a scythe is quiet, clean, and safe to use, and we hope that these skills will continue to be put to use in future management of the Loop!

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Further to the recent post about the trial opening of Loop barriers, a final version of the feasibility study for the trial is now available, to incorporate some updates and corrections. A timeline of the planned trial is also available.  The trial is now in progress, with the first 6-week phase having started on 10th April 2016.  The Friends will keep users informed of the trial’s progress!

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Many members have found negotiating the barriers along the Loop to be a cumbersome experience, and the barriers can also prevent certain categories of potential users from venturing onto the route at all, whether in wheelchairs, tricycles, trailer bikes, or tandems. Together with Sustrans we are planning a trial opening of all the internal barriers along the Loop on six successive weekends starting shortly. Actually this will be on each Sunday and the following Monday, so that those using the route for travel to work or school can experience the change as well as leisure users. Subject to review, the barriers will then be open continuously for a three-month period following the weekend trials. The start date of the weekend openings will be confirmed as soon as small posts have been installed so that the barriers can be locked open safely – we hope by early April 2016.

Lorenza Casini, who jointly organised two successful Kidical Mass rides last autumn, with the barriers open, has drawn up an extensive plan and schedule for the openings in a feasibility report for the trial.  Our thanks are due to her for an impressive document. She sees opening the barriers as offering the opportunity for a step-change in the use of the Loop, bringing new users in, and better linking up the different communities through which the route passes.

Different events will be planned to take place while the barriers are open, culminating in a ‘Fallowfield Loop Festival’ some time in the early summer. Towards the end of the period we will conduct a survey of users, to gauge their reactions to the opening.

There are many things that volunteers can do to contribute to the success of this programme.  Please contact us if you can help with any of the following (or have any other suggestions!):

  • Helping with the opening of the barriers at the start of a Sunday and closing again on Monday evening.
  • Coming up with ideas for events to take place while the barriers are open.
  • Giving feedback, once the trial has started, on how you find the experience of the barrier openings.

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Incredible Edible Levenshulme volunteers were today again in action at the Quadrants, digging over the planned strawberry and wild flower areas. Pictures are on Incredible Edible Levenshulme’s Facebook page.  Besides removing the surface turf, a vast array of assorted rubble had to be dug out from what used to be the old station platform!  Three further raised beds will soon be installed for vegetable planting to add to the soft fruit beds already in place; other plans for the site include a herb crescent and a woodchip pathway leading to a picnic and resting area. The next working party will take place on Sunday 17 April from 10 a.m. and all are welcome to come and help – please see our events page for information on this and other forthcoming activities!

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Fortnightly Thursday task days!

Sustrans have this month started regular fortnightly task days on the Fallowfield Loop, kicking off with regular woodland management sessions. These tasks are now (from February 2016) on the second and fourth Thursday of the month. All tools and equipment are provided, including for those who want to tackle litter on the  Loop.

Everybody is welcome to come and help!  Please ensure you wear layered warm clothing, waterproofs and sturdy footwear!

Contact Abigail at volunteers-nw@sustrans.org.uk or telephone 0161 923 6050 for more information or to find out the meeting point for the next task day.Thursday Floop Task Day Poster

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Incredible Edible Levenshulme and several members of the Friends pitched in to help at this Sunday morning maintenance session of the raised beds at the Quadrants in Levenshulme.  Activities included composting and feeding, weeding and tidying up. Pictures and more details are on Incredible Edible Levenshulme’s Facebook page!  https://www.facebook.com/IncredibleEdibleLevenshulme/posts/554472518063098

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Two trees came down on the Loop last Friday evening and were right across the path (a little west of Bridge 27, Princess Road).  It seems that Friday’s heavy rain caused a strong deep flow along the channel parallel to the track and probably undermined the trees’ roots.  No damage was done, though, and the trees probably fell slowly, judging by the small number of broken branches.

Thanks to quick work by Sustrans (with a little help from volunteers!), the trees were cleared and the route was well open again by 9.30 a.m. on Saturday!

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