Those Brambles Fight Back!

The area of The Meadow to be cleared of brambles and overgrowth.

A slightly daunting task lay ahead on grey and blustery day today.  The focus, to clear the remaining brambles and brush in preparation for wildflower seeding, planting and installation of some of the benches.  The growth of branches and brambles in this section of The Meadow were probably the most established (and probably the reason clearing it has been left until last!).  But we jumped straight in with scythes, brush hooks and bow saws.  Hard but satisfying work and a few hours later (plus a few minor bramble scratches), the majority of the section was clear of the main growth.  One more work day and it should be complete.  Again, it was all positive comments and compliments from those passing by which is a massive encouragement as a volunteer.

Spring is certainly on its way and we will be keeping a close eye as things begin to wake up from their winter sleep.  I think the nettles will probably win the race and so will need careful monitoring and scything control to give the wildflowers the best possible chance.

Work all done for the day!

Active Involvement = Public Awareness!

It's been February half term break this week so I thought it would be worth while starting this blog post off with some pictures of the many activities that have taken place.

Pallet Bug Base Building

Sign Making

Bench Building
Two benches completed ready for installing at the Meadow... Four to go!
It's been a personally reflective time for me this week with The Meadow project. It has also certainly been eventful as the project has moved up a gear as spring quickly approaches.  Over half term I took the opportunity to book some holiday time away from my work.  It has also been an opportunity to tick a few of the Meadow jobs off the list. The increased pace of the project and my active involvement in the project has led me to fully recognise how physical volunteer activity can lead to raising the awareness in the community to the local issues and resources that are available.  On three separate occasions and three separate locations this week the activities have led to talking.  People passing by see the activity taking place resulting in questions being asked...This is then an opportunity to introduce members of the local community to the resources of the paths and cycle routes in our area together with the environmental benefits we are hoping to enhance through The Meadow project.

The week commenced with some bug base building and sign making for The Meadow site.   This was followed by the delivery of a serious amount of timber and some heavy duty cutting taking place.  Part of the timber is being transformed into sleeper benches and the remaining pieces are to be used as Monolith sign posts and display boards.  If you are available over the coming weeks, any assistance that can be offered with the installation of the benches and signs would be greatly appreciated...please let me know when you might be available and I can try and make arrangements to organise some activity... email me

The week concluded on Sunday the 19th of February 2017 as we ventured out on a rather drizzly morning.  Base camp was quickly pitched with the mission of installing the bug base and sign built through the week together with some of the purchased bird houses.  I'm keen to get as many of the bird houses in place for the beginning of march and the nesting season.

Base camp ready for installing the bug base and bird houses.

Installed and waiting for residents!

The list of opportunities for volunteer involvement continues in Merseyside North and the Meadow Project.  If you think you can assist, support or volunteer some of your time with any of the following activities, please do email me and let me know  I will do my utmost to arrange activities dates and times to be convenient and can supply the tools required for the task (I may also provide some fancy chocolate biscuits!).

Activities taking place over the coming weeks...
  • Bench installation
  • Sign post installation
  • Bird house installation
  • Bug Base building and installation
  • Path edging
  • Vegetation and bramble clearing
  • Wildflower seeding
  • Bush planting
  • Litter picking
  • And the always popular... Poop scooping (Don't worry...I have some long handled poop scoopers and plenty of poop bags).

One Step at a Time Through the Meadow 12/02/17

Another cold day down at the Meadow.  The aim of the day was some brush clearing, litter picking and a bit of path edging.  We pitched up base camp and set up an information point to engage some of the people passing by.

Base camp for the day
Unfortunately two strokes in with the scythe and I managed to snap the handle.  After a brief moment of sadness and grief at my loss, I continued to clear away with the edge of a spade... obviously nowhere near as efficient as the scythe!  All the same, some progress made but not as much as I had hoped to achieve.

A minor bit of brush clearing following the scythe snapping incident... before - after. 

Jam butties by the fire side at Meadow base camp.

Oliver edging the path
Some of the discussions I had on site today gave me time to reflect on the project and why I personally with the assistance of others are creating the Meadow.  As well as many of the compliments I receive about the Meadow project I hear in equal amounts, the negatives about the site or area... 'The dog fouling is awful along here'... 'It's a lovely idea to install benches... but they'll just come along and set fire to them'.  Also sadly today, there were a few signs of anti-social off road motor bikes.  Deep tire marks have ripped up some of the ground.  But I guess this (and other reasons) is why I as many others, venture out as a volunteer for Sustrans and the Trans Pennine Trail... One person drops a piece of litter... another person picks it up... the visible and environmental damage has been counteracted (I always aim to fill at least one bin bag with litter whilst I'm out).  It would be deeply saddening if someone purposefully damaged, destroyed or defaced some of the work we are doing at the Meadow.  In my mind, this would be an opportunity and reason to try even harder, plan bigger, and focus on what I believe is important.  It's always going to be a balancing act, but I hope, after time, the balance will tip in our favour. I can honestly say that I do believe the work that has been done so far has improved the site with the removal of litter.  I also think that the dog fouling has decreased (but there's certainly room for improvement with this!).  Onward to the next day!

Proud of the path edge encroachment clearing! 
If you believe you could spare a little or a lot of time to help out... it would be great to hear from you. I'm not asking you to sign up with Sustrans or the Trans Pennine Trail as a volunteer (although that would be great!)  I'm just hoping for a few extra hands to assist and help the project reach its full potential.  Please email me

Activity Update for Sunday 12th Feb 2017

Unfortunately there has been a slight delay in the delivery of the rail sleepers and wood for the benches and signs. However, there is still plenty to work on a the Meadow. The general clear up will continue on Sunday 12th Feb (litter picking and cutting back etc) and hopefully we can begin to install some of the bird boxes over the coming week.The wood is due for delivery this week so I will update information here as we progress. Once again, if you are able to assist on one of the work days, please ensure you let me know so I can best facilitate. Email


Nice little write up in the Champion Newspaper about our Meadow Activities!