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Archive for the ‘Residential weekends’ Category

SACV goes to Ireland!

This month saw SACV’s first international outing!  We spent a long weekend in Ireland and joined in with voluntary work being done by Mountain Meitheal, a group of environmental volunteers who have for the past fifteen years undertaken conservation and restoration projects on mountain and forest tracks and have won awards for their work.

Our volunteer Mike is a past member of Mountain Meitheal and nobly organised the trip over to Ireland for nine SACV members.  In glorious weather, we worked with Mountain Meitheal on path maintenance and waterbar construction on Three Rock Mountain (Saturday 5th) and were taken on an instructive guided walk (Sunday 6th) around Glendalough to see some of Mountain Meitheal’s past projects.

It was a great weekend.  Very big thanks to Mountain Meitheal who gave us a warm welcome, contributed very generously to the cost of our accommodation and were informative and engaging guides to the local area.  And of course – very big thanks to Mike who came up with the idea and planned the weekend, booked the ferries and youth hostels, drove the minibus and pulled the whole thing together!

 

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This past weekend was our first residential weekend of the year.  We were working as usual with the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers, but the weekend was a little disrupted – not so much by snow as by the constant forecast of possible heavy snow!

Plans for our activities therefore had to be altered but nonetheless we were able to work on Saturday on the removal of a fence which had previously been part of a project to protect an important habitat for water shrews.  The land is no longer grazed by livestock so the need for the fence has gone and access to the brook’s bank has been restored.

By Sunday morning the snow was starting to fall so, with our other activities having been cancelled, we had the chance of a walk to enjoy it!

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The weekend before last saw us among the atmospheric ruins of Errwood Hall.  We spent our final residential weekend of the year working with the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers to remove invasive rhododendron from the grounds around the remains of the Hall.  Originally part of the Hall’s landscaped Victorian estate, the rhododendron has spread out of control over the decades, to the detriment of the woodland and its habitats.

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This weekend was our second trip to the Peaks this year, working as usual with the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers (PPCV). On Saturday we worked on the Pennine Way to help with areas which need improved drainage. On Sunday we were very pleased to join (as two years ago) the annual Pick-and-Play day, which was again organised by Peak Mountaineering and PPCV: this followed the usual formula of litter-picking for one half of the day and then a choice of outdoor activities for the other half. This time we SACV volunteers opted for a mix of activities, including bushcraft, a guided walk, orienteering, climbing and abseiling – and as previously we had a fine time, with a torrential downpour in the middle of the day failing to dampen enthusiasm!

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This, our first residential weekend away of 2017, was spent as usual doing some work through the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers.  The activity was to remove some encroaching hawthorn from a hillside to preserve an important grassland habitat; energetic work on a steep slope, but that and a bonfire helped to keep the winter chill away!

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This past weekend was our last residential weekend of the year, working with the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers as usual, this time on the Pennine Way.  On both days we did some footpath maintenance – improving the drainage on parts of the path with the aim of preventing future erosion (both from flooding and from walkers being forced to divert off the route).  So plenty of work with spades and mattocks – and some especially enthusiastic digging from a couple of canine volunteers!

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We had a residential weekend in the Peaks back in January, when we helped clear encroaching hawthorn from a site which is being restored as a grassland habitat.  Here are some pictures – courtesy of ranger David – of how the wildflowers have lately been looking on the hillside on which we worked!

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