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Issue 6

February 2016

Greener Greenways News Welcome to the sixth edition of the Greener Greenways newsletter!

Greenway winter management plans

This is a really packed issue! We have had loads of progress in terms of habitat management over the winter months (full stories on pages 3-7). The series of training sessions on scrub management and hedgelaying, delivered by David and I, has really seen the volume of work escalate. We have also had fantastic support from our partner organisations—thank you for all your hard work!

Since joining the Greener Greenways programme in October 2015, our ecologist David Watson, has been busy preparing winter management plans. He completed a whopping 17 short management plans by Christmas, so that staff and volunteers could begin implementing them before the end of winter. An example is given below: He’s also been out meeting the teams and breaking down the habitat management prescriptions into task lists for estate staff and volunteers. Here are David’s thoughts on what is needed next: “Conservation is often a long term undertaking and it’s very important to have a plan to help decide where we want our routes to be in five or even ten years’ time. It took a big effort to finish all the draft management plans for the Greener Greenways routes by Christmas, but the great thing is that now they are complete volunteer groups across England and Wales can really see where we are heading and start to work on these long term goals. The plans are also a great way of keeping tabs on what we have accomplished and targeting our efforts in the months and years to come. Of course what we really need to make these plans work is more information on what wildlife opportunities and management issues we encounter on our greenways so the more feedback we can get the better.”

The results are in from last year’s wildlife surveys! You can read a brief overview on page two however it really is well-worth reading the full story and reports here: http:// www.sustrans.org.uk/ news/wildlifechampions-embrace-irecord Plans are a-foot for new resource: a Greenway Management Handbook! This will provide a useful overview of all aspects of greenway management (read more on page two). The relationship with our funders continues to blossom with many small charitable trusts pledging new funds for the next 12 months. Our main funder, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, has indicated they would consider a phase two application from us which is great news! That’s not all that is starting to bloom! Over the next 3 months staff and volunteers will be out looking for signs of spring as part of Nature’s Calendar, in addition to checking for invasive plant species. We also hope to have the first of our wildlife training sessions and some public events to celebrate the nature found on the greenways. Do get involved and thanks for all your support! Bernie Higgins Ecologist, Greener Greenways (England and Wales)

Habitat training sessions (autumn 2016) Meanwhile, Bernie delivered a suite of six training days for staff and volunteers in woodland and scrub management during October and November with one occurring in every region and Wales. In November, Bernie and David also supported volunteer get-togethers in Merseyside and Manchester by delivering ‘winter tree ID’ and ‘an introduction to iRecord’ workshops which were well-received. David attended a two-day hedgelaying training course in January and has been passing this information on by offering 1-day sessions for staff and volunteers since mid-January and will continue till the end of February.

Sustrans is the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. Our work makes it possible for people to choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys, with better places and spaces to move through and live in. www.sustrans.org.uk


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February 2016

Greener Greenways News Greenway Management Handbook Over the winter months we have also been preparing a Greenway Management Handbook which we intend to be a best practice document for use internally and for other land owners. This will cover all the key aspects of linear estate management and signpost land managers to further guidance and detailed advice. We anticipate that a final version will be available in late May/ early June.

What wildlife did we record on the greenways in 2015? During 2015 Sustrans’ volunteer wildlife champions undertook a number of citizen science wildlife surveys on the routes. Some of these required one visit to their 1km stretch of National Cycle Network greenway (e.g. the Big Garden Birdwatch in January), whilst other surveys required regular monthly visits (e.g. BeeWalks). This year we partnered up with the Woodland Trust to start collecting information on climate change through their Nature’s Calendar survey. We also developed a form which would allow volunteers to submit other wildlife records (casual records) which were not part of these surveys (via iRecord).

Future plans The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation (who currently fund the project) really like what we are doing. They have indicated that we should submit another application for further funding. If successful, we would be able to maintain the momentum of the current programme (which takes us to November 2016) and deliver a second phase of Greener Greenways work. We are currently working on this and the aim is to submit an application this spring. We are also developing a wildlife training programme for this spring which will focus on bees, butterflies and beetle training (depending on the route). Ask your volunteer coordinator for more details.

Project partners— share your news too! Please let us know if you have achievements or news stories you would like our readers to know.

Deadline for content for next issue (May): Monday 11th April 2016 Photo galleries on Flickr

The wildlife surveys are really important as they allow us to establish and build on baseline information about the habitats and species which utilise the greenways.

Wildlife champions, partners and members of the public can share their photos with us via the Volunteer Flickr gallery (the Wildlife Champion Flickr account is still live if you prefer to use it)

Please check these wonderful galleries out and do add your snaps too!

You can also send your best images to our photo library manager. (Max of 5 please)

In total:  Over 1170 wildlife records

were submitted (compared with 612 in 2014),  163 surveys were completed (129 in 2014),  and 69 volunteers took part (113 in 2014). Thank you to all our amazing wildlife champions for your time and dedication. Although fewer volunteers took part in the surveys this year, they submitted almost twice as many records – a fantastic achievement! If we know more about the nature of our greenways we can manage them better for wildlife; we can also determine what to monitor to establish whether our new management regimes are working. So we hope our volunteers and members of the public will continue to send in their wildlife records in the future. Read the full story and report here: http:// www.sustrans.org.uk/news/wildlife-championsembrace-irecord

In the media! Check out some of the coverage that we have had in the last 3 months by clicking on the links below:

Old lines never die they just get recycled (Rail Magazine 786, October 2015)

Laughing badger article in Manchester Weekly News (Dec 2015)

David on radio talking about mistletoe: BBC Radio Coventry – David interviewed and on twitter. Also in the Walsall Advertiser. Wildlife boost on Sustrans’ National Cycle Network (Evans Cycles, November 2015)

Sustrans is the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. Our work makes it possible for people to choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys, with better places and spaces to move through and live in. www.sustrans.org.uk


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February 2016

Greener Greenways News Local activities in the East Midlands - Dan Robertson In November 2015 Vanessa Grundy (right) joined the East Midlands team as Land Officer. This is a brand new role to lead estate management and the maintenance team in the East Midlands. Vanessa has been busy identifying locations for storage containers to be installed on some of the greenways so that volunteers will have easy access to tools going forward. We should have further updates on this in the next newsletter (May 2016).

Key achievements  New

land manager

 Tools

have been purchased for Lincolnshire

 Signage

on the greenways

Nutbrook Trail: Wildlife champions have received habitat management training and begun surveying the route - looking for the first signs of Spring. They met to plan the years activities of surveying and habitat management, and have signed the route to promote their work to the users of the trail. Brampton Valley Way: Barclay's employees took part in a work day to develop the outdoor classroom on the BVW near Northampton by creating dead hedges and carrying out scrub clearance. Local school children have also recently painted bird boxes, which have gone up around the outdoor classroom. The bug hotel installed in autumn 2014 and subsequently damaged has now been revamped! Bennerley Viaduct: With the success of the Heritage Lottery funding bid, we have now employed a community engagement officer, Kieran Lee, to get local people involved in promoting the

UPCOMING EVENTS: 12th February—Bennerley historical and ecological value of the site, which is situated at the end of viaduct—Scrub Clearance/training the Nutbrook Trail. He’s been busy getting the work into local media http://www.ilkestonadvertiser.co.uk/news/local/bennerley-viaductday

 Friday

 Friday

restoration-project-appoint-new-engagement-officer-1-7690427 and

27th February—Brampton has been developing the work of volunteers to manage the ecology of Valley Way (Northampton) - Hedge the site. planting with George Pollard Dan also attended and Nottingham Bee Summit organised by the Nottingham Friends of the Earth in the autumn to discuss ongoing and  Late April/early May—NewarkCotham—Grizzled skipper training planned bee/pollinator conservation activities in the wider Nottingham area, both small and large scale. The potential for greater collaboration (venue tbc). and action across the local area in light of the government’s National

Contact Dan for further information. Pollinator Strategy was debated.

Sustrans is the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. Our work makes it possible for people to choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys, with better places and spaces to move through and live in. www.sustrans.org.uk


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February 2016

Greener Greenways News Local activities in the West Midlands—volunteers-wm@sustrans.org.uk Butterfly Conservation organised a number of winter habitat creation workdays near Long Itchington with 5 Sustrans volunteers attending. In November & December forty volunteers contributed over 210 hours which is fantastic and has made a real difference in the Long Itchington area. They have been busy removing scrub and self-set trees from the embankments. In addition they have seeded the area with kidney vetch Anthyllis vulneraria, a food plant for the Hannah Cupido Lewis caterpillars of the Small Blue © butterfly minimus and Bird's-foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus, a food plant for Dingy Skipper Erynnis tages caterpillars. A massive thank you to everyone involved.

Key achievements  Walsall—Brownhills group

nominated for the Volunteer Award 2015 which was presented to the group at the annual meeting to celebrate their efforts in 2015. Thank you to everyone who has been involved so far and to Bob Cooper for his fantastic efforts at documenting the workdays on his blog: http:// sustranspelsall.blogspot.co.uk/ p/greenway.html

Ian Dennis, Sustrans Wildlife Champion pictured below raking the banks.

 Butterfly Conservation &

Brimstone pictured to the left.

Sustrans volunteers contribute over 210 hours of volunteering in Nov & Dec.

The photo on the right taken by Mike Slater, Butterfly Conservation at one of the winter workdays captures the light beautifully. © Lisa Hartley

Draft habitat management draft plans for the Lias Line, Stratford & Kenilworth greenway are now with partners for comment. These have been put together by David Watson, Sustrans Ecologist and will enable volunteers and partners to work together. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to provide comments.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

 Monday

4th April, 11am-1pm— Bloody-nose beetle training near Lias Line (Rendezvous tbc).

 Saturday

30th April, 10am—2pm Bee Walk & Training, Pelsall (venue tbc).

 Bat

boxes, Stratford greenway— in conjunction with WCC (more info to follow)

 For

more details please contact volunteers-wm@sustrans.org.uk or call 0121 633 5517.

In January we also said a sad farewell to Lisa Hartley, our Volunteer Coordinator for the West Midlands. Over the last 4 years Lisa did a fantastic job of welcoming new volunteers, supporting and enthusing existing groups and will be greatly missed by staff and volunteers alike. Lisa leaves us to join Brighton University as their Sustainability Initiatives Coordinator. All volunteer queries should be directed to volunteers-wm@sustrans.org.uk in the short term.

Feedback from volunteers and partners: “Lots of positive feedback from locals” Mike Slater, Butterfly Conservation “Thanks for the management plan. It is an impressive and detailed document.” Brian Smith, Long Itchington Footpath Volunteers

Sustrans is the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. Our work makes it possible for people to choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys, with better places and spaces to move through and live in. www.sustrans.org.uk


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February 2016

Greener Greenways News Local activities in the North West—Abigail Pound We were sad to say goodbye to Beverley Bugden, our land manager, in November 2015. Beverley will be really missed and we wish her well in her new role with Railway Paths Limited. Thankfully we have been able to appoint a replacement. Ian Williams (pictured right) (who may be a familiar face to a number of you as he has been part of the North West maintenance team for many years now) took over the role in December 2015 and now leads on estate management which is great news!

Key achievements  63 volunteers recruited  Funding successes: new

resources for volunteers  Press coverage

 Adopting the maintenance A big welcome to new Liverpool Wildlife Champion Elise Fox in recommendations of the her new role as Group Co-ordinator for the Liverpool Loopline habitat plans Wildlife Champions. Elise is keen to help organise a series of walks and talks on the Liverpool Loopline to help local wildlife champions gain confidence in identifying the flora and fauna and to engage the wider community. We also welcome new Wildlife Champion Matt Holker to the Fallowfield Loop group where he is also aiming to demystify wildlife identification and recording, by using his experience from the Grey to Green Project. He’s also organising walks with other Wildlife Champions to get out there on the route regularly. At the moment with the winter months it’s loppers and bowsaws abound, as volunteers are helping to manage woodland on Sustrans owned routes across the North West (regular Tuesdays on Liverpool Loop and Thursdays are just getting started on the Fallowfield Loop). When the height of summer has passed our attention will turn to another vital habitat that needs our attention—the grassland areas. Groups will be monitoring wildflower species during Spring and Summer which will help us to decide which of the priority grassland areas on which to focus our efforts. Excitingly, we have secured a First TransPennine Express and Forestry Commission Green Grant of just over £2,000 for improvements to the Fallowfield Loop. So there will be lots happening in the next 12months—watch this space! As a result we aim to run scythe training on both the Fallowfield and Liverpool Looplines in late Summer. Are you interested in learning a traditional skill? Get in touch and register your interest as places are limited. We have also submitted our round two Heritage Lottery Fund application to transform our Greener Greenways in Cumbria. We expect news in March2016. If we are successful this will be a huge milestone to UPCOMING EVENTS: improve the natural and industrial heritage on the greenways near Whitehaven.

Liverpool Loopline  Work parties on alternate Tuesdays

in Feb (scrub clearance, woodland thinning and hedge planting ) Chester Millennium Greenway rd

Wednesday and 2nd Saturday of the month - Friends of Chester Millennium Greenway workdays. Contact Secretary Karen Anderson

3

Fallowfield Loopline  Work parties in Feb (scrub

clearance, woodland thinning, hedge planting) on 11th and 25th Feb  Nest box making valentines event

on 14th February and volunteers will be putting up the boxes in the weeks to follow.

The Floop Butterfly Effect Volunteers Ray Dumpleton and Costel Harnasz saw this super comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album), with its unique ragged edge sunning itself on the Floop on Thursday 12th November 2015! It was spotted by the Errwood Road entrance, just after they had shown Dan Hasler (Urban Orchard project) one of the community orchards planted on the Loop by the Friends.

We hope that by changing the way we manage our Greenways we will find more of our colourful friends moving in.

www.theurbanorchardproject.org

Sustrans is the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. Our work makes it possible for people to choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys, with better places and spaces to move through and live in. www.sustrans.org.uk


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February 2016

Greener Greenways News Local activities in Yorkshire—Dave Stevens National Cycle Network routes across Yorkshire were badly Key achievements affected by the Boxing Day floods (left). Our Greener  Loads of training arranged! Greenways were largely undamaged, but our volunteer rangers in York and Dewsbury had to focus their winter ef-  The Pensitone group win forts on inspecting (and in some cases repairing) the wider volunteer group of the network. year!

Volunteers in Dewsbury (including a certain Tour de France stage winner) repairing EVENTS: the path that *runs along the top  Thurs 8th Feb: Bumblebee ID Training FREE. York of” the flood defences in DewsRawcliffe Bar Park & Ride 1pm – 3.30pm. Email bury (below): harry.woolner@buglife.org.uk.

 Wed 10th of Feb: Tansy Beetle Training FREE - only

relevant to volunteers in York. York Friends Meeting House 5.30pm – 7.30pm. Email Sophie.Badrick@buglife.org.uk. In addition to a training day in Doncaster in November, loads of winter work parties and Christmas socials took place across Yorkshire this winter.

 Fri 12th Feb: Bumblebee ID Training; FREE. York

Following on from their incredible hard work cleaning up after the floods, volunteers focused their attentions on putting up new signs up in York (below) to promote the work they do for wildlife to the greenway users—all credit is well-earned!

 Wed 24th Feb: Workday management, scrub

Council offices 1pm – 3.30pm. Email harry.woolner@buglife.org.uk  Sat 20th Feb: Sphagnum Moss ID Training FREE.

Wogden Foot Nature Reserve (near Penistone). Email Dave Stevens. management FREE. Penistone 7 spaces for Penistone Volunteers – 1 space each for a rep from the Greener Greenway groups in York, Kirklees, Scunthorpe. Email Dave Stevens.  Thurs 25th Feb: Hedgelaying Training FREE.

Penistone 7 spaces for Penistone Volunteers – 1 space each for a rep from the greener greenway groups in York, Kirklees, Scunthorpe. Email Dave Stevens.  Sat 6th March: Ride Leader Training FREE. Elsecar

Heritage Centre. 10 spaces available - priority given We were all thrilled to hear to volunteers from in or near the Dearne Valley . that the TPT PenistoneEmail Dave Stevens. Dunfprd Bridge conservation volunteers won volun-  March TBA - Bee ID (Penistone). Email Dave Stevens. teer group of the year. Regular work parties on: Well done and well the first Tuesday of the month in Kirklees deserved!!  the first Saturday of the month in York During November, Sheridan Piggott (Smarter  the first Saturday of the month and every Choices Co-ordinator, Wednesday in March on Penistone to Dunford Yorkshire) attended the Bridge Urban Buzz launch organ(There are irregular ones as well!) ised by Buglife to discuss the 18 month project and how we can work together—we can’t wait! Sustrans is the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. Our work makes it possible for people to choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys, with better places and spaces to move through and live in. www.sustrans.org.uk


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February 2016

Greener Greenways News Local activities in Wales—Andy Rowe The Greener GreenKey achievements ways project in Wales has largely been implemented by regular vol-  Regular fortnightly work unteer workdays. These programme in South East and South West Wales. will take place every two weeks throughout 2016 alternating between South East and South West Wales. The first workday of the year took place at the Treforest site near Pontypridd on Tuesday 26th January in torrential, drenching rain. Despite this we had an amazing turnout of 14 people from the dedicated South East volunteer group. Work included clearing brambles and scrub, improving drainage and thinning damaged trees to promote biodiversity. We also organised a barbecue for our volunteers on one of the wettest days of the year. Full respect is given to the fire-starting skills of Gwyn Smith who somehow managed to get the barbecue to light and largely cook food items in terrible weather. A schedule of workdays has been drawn up for the first half on 2016. [Nearly] all of them are on Greener Greenways sites and the work plans are being compiled from the management plans written by Sustrans’ ecologists.

UPCOMING EVENTS: South East Wales  23-Feb

Bleanavon

 22-Mar

Machen, Caerphilly

 19-Apr

Coed-pen-maen, Pontypridd

 17-May

Clydach Gorge, Abergavenny

 14-Jun

Monmouth, Peregrine

Path South West Wales

Primroses have started to appear in areas which have been cleared of scrub!

 08-Mar

Amman Valley

 05-Apr

Clydach, Swansea

 03-May

Merlin's Bridge, Haverfordwest

 31-May

Swiss Valley - Tumble

Sustrans is the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. Our work makes it possible for people to choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys, with better places and spaces to move through and live in. www.sustrans.org.uk


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February 2016

Greener Greenways News Keeping in touch The project has its own dedicated page on Sustrans website which provides the background of the project. Contact details to find out what is happening in your region are detailed below. If your group website, Facebook page or Twitter account is not mentioned and you would like it to be, let us know. EAST MIDLANDS Twitter enthusiasts can follow us @SustransEMids and more detailed info will be available through our quarterly volunteer newsletter and regular volunteer email updates. For more info email: dan.robertson@sustrans.org.uk. WEST MIDLANDS Twitter enthusiasts can follow us @SustransMids and more detailed info will be available through our quarterly volunteer newsletter and regular email updates. For more info email: volunteers-wm@sustrans.org.uk. Local volunteer groups: 

Pelsall Rangers blog

Friends of Cawston Greenway

NORTH WEST Information about the workdays, training and events will be available on the Sustrans NW Facebook page. Twitter enthusiasts can follow us @SustransNW and more detailed info will be available through our quarterly volunteer newsletter and monthly volunteer email updates. For more info email: abigail.pound@sustrans.org.uk. Local volunteer groups: 

Millennium Greenway Friends

Friends of the Fallowfield Loop

YORKSHIRE Information about the workdays, training and events will be available on the Sustrans Yorkshire Facebook page. Twitter enthusiasts can follow us @SustransYorks. For more info email: dave.stevens@sustrans.org.uk. Local volunteer groups: 

York Greenway Champions

TPTcv website

TPTcv Facebook

@TPTcv

WALES Information about the workdays, training and events will be available on the Sustrans Cymru Facebook page. Twitter enthusiasts can follow us @SustransCymru and more detailed info will be available through our regular volunteer newsletter. For more info email: volunteers-cymru@sustrans.org.uk

Top tips and things to do on your route this spring: 

Stop cutting back bramble and trees once we enter nesting bird season. Although this is typically March-September (inclusive) depending on the weather some species can start building their nests earlier. The nest does not need to be complete for it to be protected so if in doubt stop and leave it the patch you were going to clear till next winter.

Plant trees, shrubs and hedges in milder weather (hopefully around March) and before the growing season properly begins.

If you haven’t already, clean out existing nest boxes asap to get them ready for use this year.

If you have bat boxes and you wish to check them/clean them out, contact your local bat group to assist because if you discover a bat you’ll need someone with a licence to help you.

Start looking for signs of spring...first flowers, early bumblebees, the first butterflies etc. using Nature’s Calendar as guidance.

Tweet all about it... To join the conversation use the hashtags: #greenergreenways and #wildlifechampions You can also follow us on twitter: @Sustrans @bernsbiome

Sustrans is the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. Our work makes it possible for people to choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys, with better places and spaces to move through and live in. www.sustrans.org.uk

Greener Greenways News: Issue 6 (Feb 2016)  

Quarterly update from UK charity Sustrans' ecology project - Greener Greenways.