For many years the main route through Big Wood, on the western side of the park, running from the Woodlands Lane car park to the grove of yews and the view-point over the golf course and the Derwent Valley, has been badly trampled. Some local people remember that just after the Second World War, a much narrower path was thickly lined with bluebells in spring. Alas, only a few stunted plants managed to survive in an extensive compacted bare area.
The main Big wood footpath as it was - showing extensive trampling Stunted bluebells in trampled area
There was a great need for the footpath to be defined to reduce the amount of trampling. This has now been done, using suitable tree trunks from the sycamore clearance which took place at the top end of the wood in January
The Friends of Allestree Park organised two work sessions on Sunday 21st September and Sunday 28th September. We recruited the Derbyshire Conservation Volunteers, led by Chris Weston, a hard-working, competent and cheerful lot - who turned out in force. Members of the Friends committee also contributed their efforts, during the two days, plus one or two general members - though it was disappointing that more or the latter didn't turn up. The two park Rangers, Mick Day and Neil Granthier also did a great job. I must also mention the contribution from my wife, Diana and daughter, Anne - the latter visiting us from Sheffield on the first Sunday. The work was helped along by good weather, especially on the first day.
Chris and Matt of Derbyshire Conservation Volunteers driving Park Rangers Mike Day & Neil Granthier
in pegs to secure logs
Pat Sear, committe member of FOAP, making a peg A well-deserved break and the results of all the work
It was quite hard work carrying up quite substantial logs from the sycamore felling site, which was a considerable distance from the footpath and down a steep slope. The logs were fixed in position by being nailed to pegs driven into the ground. The pegs were manufactured on-site from suitable lengths of wood and we had quite a temporary cottage industry going on to make them!
We completed quite a lengthy section of the new path, mainly through the yew grove and traversing the most badly trampled part.
A section of the new Path
LATEST: Three further sessions, with FOAP working with the Derbyshire Conservation Volunteers in the autumn of 2009, in February, (with snow on the ground), and March, 2010, has seen the completion of the task to line the main footpath through the wood - from the car park to a flight of steps (also the work of DCV and FOAP), completed in summer, 2009, descending a steep slope out of the wood on the eastern side.
We hope to have further work parties later on in 2010 to start tackling other footpaths in the woods.