An end of year round off blog!
Our Project officer Claire’s last message has clarified several points, but I hope this end of year message helps answer more recent enquiries about the work and when we can expect it to be totally finished.
How we wish the weather would be kind to us! Yes the fresh rain and ice feeding our naturally flashy river have delayed the footpath final repair. But it is worth remembering that this was not part of the original silt removal plan. We had the benefit of an extra grant (DEFRA Green Recovery Challenge Fund) matching the funds raised by FoPV to do extra to improve the millpond’s surround. The money has enabled access improvements and Millrace controls and you can see how the paths and bridle path will look next year. Brand new safety rails have been installed on the rising path to the Dam from the Cafe.....so no more scratched hands from the scaly rust raised paintwork.
The north path is usable for the winter and will please the organisers of the Round Sheffield Run on 8 January. The look of the landscape is much improved and the memorial benches are in their future positions. Not a bad record for work in such a location and season.
2023 looks interesting: Another recent casualty of the weather seems to be the tree which has fallen across the main channel from the south bank and which will be a challenge to fish out: so cameras at the ready for a fine view some time in January of ingenuity, a winch and a boot!
There is still much to do around the Playground and the picnic green, and up above the millrace. Water safety measures can be expected soon with a catchpole, throw rope and signage ......once we worried about silt trapping people, now it is depth of icy water.
Practical work by our conservation volunteers will continue in 2023. On 8 December they planted around 300 new hawthorn whips to fill the gaps in the fencing along the bridleway where the silt removing dumper trucks had ploughed a path. ......a really difficult job in icy weather and on stony heavy soil. The 2 rows will we hope fill out over the next few years to provide a green barrier that nesting birds will love. Sadly after the team had built a discrete hibernaculum for overwintering amphibians and reptiles it was vandalised by someone, so it had to be rebuilt with signage.... obviously some people needed to be advised to leave it undisturbed.
Do have a look at the earlier blogs and cheery photos about the FoPV conservation volunteers at work. Why not join in some of the activities ......just contact the organisers via the website.
I hope this answers some of the questions that have come in this month! If you would like to know more about the original community consultation that underpinned the rejuvenation plan and the progress with this work, do book on our 7 January morning walk .....watch out for the website announcements.
Happy Christmas all our readers and many thanks for your stream of appreciative comments and questions and suggestions throughout 2022!
Ann le Sage
Friends of the Porter Valley Chair