A big thank you to Ian, Brian, Mick, Katie and Diane from the WNS BRGP workgroup who joined me, Chris and his team from Open Country on Sat 22 March. With 19 of us in total, it was our biggest session ever! Everything went to plan starting with the delivery of a ton of gravel for the paths, a large delivery of the wood bark from the council and of course the new bench. It was a massive effort to barrow the gravel the 600m to the muddy part of the path, We were able to get the bark tipped by the old road gate – a little closer but not much.
The bench is in a great location looking across the river and it will be really appreciated by visitors especially those who struggle to walk far especially as its surrounded by wood bark and approached by a much-improved path.
We also took the opportunity to construct our willow bird hide screen. The verticals of the screen are the living stems of a willow which toppled over about 5yrs ago. We postcreted an additional ash support and ran horizontal wires across the width and then wove in willow whips – which we will add to in the coming weeks. The result will be a dual purpose screen which will allow you to observe the river (and a good spot for otter) or from the other side into a small area of woodland which is popular with scrub warblers.
On a birding theme, Chris put up the last of our bird boxes next to the bench.. without falling out of the tree! We were treated with views of kingfisher, little egret, buzzards, kites and the call of our first returning chiff-chaffs. In preparation for a possible 7.30 am delivery of gravel I was able to get great views of a pair of bullfinches and 3 redwing.
We were joined for the day by a journalist from Dalesman writing a piece on Open Country who really spent a lot of time getting to know the group.
Lastly, the day wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the generous donation of a local man who asked for a bench to be dedicated to his grandfather who sadly passed away a few months ago. Am sure he like many others will really appreciate this special bench in this very special place, happy memories for us all!