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Archive for the ‘Steps’ Category

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of John Agar on 17 April 2020.  John was a very committed and enthusiastic member of SACV and right up until recent weeks he was a stalwart of the group, for many years our most frequent volunteer.  John was out with us most recently at Chorlton Water Park on Sunday 1 March, where he busily got stuck in to the construction of a willow arch.

John had a passion for the natural world and conservation and he especially enjoyed having more time to indulge these interests in later life.  In former years, John was a fixture on our residential weekends in the Peaks, until he “retired” from weekends away in 2013.  On those weekends, John continued his working life’s habit of very early starts, so by the time the rest of us were up John would inevitably have been for a walk to listen to the local birdsong as well as got the breakfast porridge, tea and toast on the go!

John was a founder member of the Friends of Chorlton Meadows, a group we have worked with many times over the years.  Having lived in Chorlton all his life, John was a source of fascinating memories of the changing local environment.

Since the loss of John, tributes have come in from the volunteers who have worked with him over the years: it is clear he was held in huge affection and warm regard, a vocal advocate for the natural environment, infectiously enthusiastic and always willing to share his knowledge with others, warm and welcoming to volunteers of all ages, good-humoured and good company.  He will be greatly missed.

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This past weekend was our first residential weekend of the year, working as usual with the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers and staying in their volunteer accommodation near Grindleford.  On both Saturday and Sunday we worked on reconstructing a set of steps on a steep footpath above Eyam – thirty-nine steps, pleasingly!

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Today we were in action at Chorlton Water Park.  We were working first on some path resurfacing following water damage, then repairing two sets of steps.

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Steps in Kenworthy Wood

Today saw our volunteers visit a new site in south Manchester. We were helping in one of the corners of Kenworthy Wood which lies alongside the complex of motorway junctions hereabouts. It gives quiet access to the meandering River Mersey and useful shortcuts between suburbs and also shelters the thread of the Trans Pennine Trail (National Cycle Network route 62) as it links Southport to Hull via the likes of Chorlton and Didsbury. It’s a great green space with remnants of a small orchard amidst the exuberant summer ovegrowth.
We were helping repair a long flight of wooden steps close to a reedy pond situated deep in a hollow ringed by trees at the edge of town.  The task involved scraping back the encroaching grasses and wild flowers which are slowly absorbing this track. All the rotten planks and pegs were levered out and hefted to the side to be taken away.  Six new pre-cut planks were inserted and levelled and pegged securely.  And finally we wheelbarrowed new hardcore down the steps (carefully!) and tamped it in to seat the planks.
What had been mooted as a two-day task was completed by mid-afternoon including time for a tea break and lunch! A good day with a helpful breeze.

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Steps at Chorlton Water Park

Many thanks to the small but dedicated band of volunteers who made it out today to help renovate a set of worn-out steps at Chorlton Water Park.  What an improvement!

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Today a gang of us were out with Ranger Martin at Tegg’s Nose Country Park, where we helped with adding edging boards to a set of steps which have been suffering from erosion and the loss of surfacing.  A perfect spring day to enjoy the views – plus a chance for a belated celebration of a landmark birthday!

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Yesterday was a day of maintenance on the Middlewood Way, working with Ed from the Cheshire East Rangers.  We enjoyed the stretch of the Way just off Schoolfold Lane in Adlington, where we removed encroaching grass from the surface of the path and replaced some of the damaged steps at the descent from the road.  It was good to see the route getting plenty of use from walkers, cyclists and horse-riders – the weather must have helped!

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Last weekend (Friday 31st May to Sunday 2nd June) some of us headed off into the Peaks for a weekend away.  Our work over the Saturday and Sunday was to help the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers to improve a footpath in the village of Wensley through the construction of some steps.  It was a great location, the sun shone all the time, and the hillside we were working on was home to four friendly goats who took quite an interest in what we were up to!

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Today’s outing for us conservation volunteers was to help Ed from the Cheshire East Rangers with work on the Middlewood Way.  We helped with replacing some steps and then the removal of encroaching vegetation from part of the Way, to stop the narrowing of the path.  Lots of walkers, dogs, cyclists and horse-riders passed by to appreciate and benefit from our efforts and – best of all – the rain didn’t put in an appearance until after we had finished!

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