|Shrivenham, Watchfield, and Bourton Parish News. May 2012|
Wild about wildflowers? Well yes we are, so we are to sow lots of wildflower seeds, during April, alongside the canal paths and in the Canalside Park as part of a national initiative by the Royal Horticultural Society's 'Britain in Bloom'. Thousands of groups all over the country are taking part. It is the first time the RHS is welcoming affiliated societies and Campaign for School Gardening to this nationwide event in celebration of the Queens Jubilee. Now I am no expert on wild flowers, (we could do with one! Anyone out there?) but we do have many in the park and along the canal and we do our best to encourage them. The more we clear the scrub and coarse vegetation the more we get, and the canal itself has a great variety of water plants including the lovely yellow iris.
Many of you will have read of or seen the rapid progress that we have made on scrub clearance in the park and along the canal. This has been due mainly to all the volunteers we have had visit us here in Shrivenham; they have literally come from all over the country, but mostly from larger companies in the Swindon area. Again it is part of a national initiative where companies allow their employees a day or two off work every year to do charity volunteering work. And they don't half work hard! They generally toil like demons most of the day working up a good sweat and a mighty thirst! But we do all take a lunch break. Many of them bring a picnic and we supply them hot tea and coffee, some adjourn to the pub! One group sat on the benches in Coppidthorn Meadow under umbrellas in the rain to have their lunch. Some join us in our tea hut (known as the brewery) for a chat, others just sit around on the grass! One asked, "Where are the chairs?" which got us thinking! Why have we 'got no chairs'? Well generally we don't have the time to sit down, there's to much to get on with, but it would be nice sometimes to sit back and admire the view and the fruits of all the effort we put it – BUT we don't have any SO if anyone out there has any old folding garden chairs that are surplus to requirements we could do with a few! Please give me a call. At the end of the day they all go home, totally exhausted and thoroughly pleased with their achievements, many saying they wish they could come again tomorrow instead of going back to work! We do have more groups coming soon!
This has given us a big leap forward and so if it can be arranged, now that the canal bed is clear of scrub, we plan to have the Trusts big digger over here to do a 'bit of dredging'!
If you have not been down to the Canalside Park recently, we have added some up-to-date photos to our website
We are also to be part of another national initiative by the Woodland Trust, with whom the Canal Trust is to form a partnership, planting trees and hedging along the canal.
The Trust, as part of the renamed Wiltshire Swindon and Oxfordshire Canal Partnership www.wiltsandandberkscanal.org.uk (originally Wilts & Berks Canal Partnership = all the local authorities and interested organizations along the line of the canal – in total 24), have begun an initiative to open as much as possible of the entire canal towpath from the Kennet and Avon canal near Melksham to the River Thames near Abingdon within 5 years! A mighty task!
Work at Steppingstone Bridge continues with occasional visits from the Waterways Recovery Group (WRG), they are cutting and laying the coping stones atop the parapet walls. Branch workers hope to lay further hardcore, on the track so that the bridge can be reopened soon. (Thanks to all the donations we have enough now).
The local Branch are to host the Trust's AGM in October – along with the formalities will be Exhibitions, Lectures and guided visits to local canal sites of particular interest – All open to the public! So please come along – full details later.
But if you can't wait that long and would like to know more then come along to our meetings in the Prince of Wales, 8 pm on the second Wednesday of every month, (Branch AGM is in June), or stop for a chat if you spot us 'down the cut'.
Alan Norris (Tel 01793 783024) Branch Chairman