Hot, hot, hot…

A glorious day to be outdoors at Boarshaw Clough.  Due to the hot, stuffy day Leanne (team leader for the day) ensured plenty of tea breaks with biscuits. 

Christian with the Angle Grinder

We continued with the removal of interpretation sign’s and repaired the dipping platform, adding steel mesh to reduce the risk of slipping and vandalism.  Vegetation clearance along the footpath that leads to the dipping platform made a large improvement to appearance as well as increasing natural surveillance; which will inturn hopefully decrease anti-social behaviour on-site.

To finish the day off we topped up our knowledge of tree identification… learning a lot from Sarah Lew.  

Jawad and Jo identifying a tree


Work at Langley with NCIS


On thursday Matt was out with gemma’s NCIS (Neighbourhood Community Involvement Skills) team helping out with their day in the life of a contractor workshop. The aim of the day was to help Adam the contracts manager at Groundwork with a project at Langley Childrens Centre.

One of the completed stumps in the ground

As part of the nature area that was being created, a seating area, which would eventually be enclosed in a wildlife space was on the agenda. Using recycled tree trunks the plan was to install these into a circlular space for a group of over 20 to sit down and use it as a learning place. The trunk parts were about 2-3 feet tall, holes of 1 foot needed to be dug for them and then they were sealed in using a concrete mix. 

Gemma getting stuck in

By the end of the day they were in place and a new seating area was beginning to take shape. The day was a great success and all involved enjoyed their day out despite the rain in the morning. The team cant wait for their next workshop which is food growing.

Grinding Metal

The big sign that had to come out

A scorching day at Boarshaw demanded some hot new tools for the job on site. The plan formulated by Alice was to remove some of the old signs that had been vandalised on site. They were all metal and had been put in using concrete. Rather than digging them out we brought the angle grinder.

After chipping away at some of the concrete and soil it was brought into use. The idea was to cut through them below ground level so the stumps could be concealed underground. After the digging was complete Christian and Jo got on all the safety gear and got grinding. Sparks flew and they were able to cut out two signs, the second of which was quite large. 

The grinder in action

We got the signs up the hill to the vans at the end of the day for them to be disposed of and then did a little balsam bashing to conclude the day. The team had sweated buckets in the heat for the cause but were determined to meet the targets set at the start of the day, in the end it was a job well done.  

The big one is out

A day at the reservoirs

Matt, Leanne and Sarah were out and about at the Piethorne/Ogden reservoir complex today taking pictures for their project. Some of the pictures taken may well go into the podscroll that we are helping to put together as part of the reservoir trails project.

The end result should be a downloadable  podscroll which people can put on their phone to acompany them on their walk round the area giving them details of reservoir features and the nature and history that surrounds them.

The great pictures today should be a good addition to the research already collected.   ogden reservoir



Last week we had a trip to Offshoots in Burnley to find out more about the practice of permaculture and get some ideas for a funding bid we will be writing for our nature sites. Offshoots is a Permaculture demonstration community
project located in the walled garden at Towneley Hall, Burnley. The
project is managed by Groundwork Pennine Lancashire on behalf of
the Offshoots Voluntary Management Committee.

Phil Dewhurst, the offshoots manager (on the right of the pic), gave us a tour of the fantastic array of activities on site including willow weaving, food growing, bee keeping, composting, green woodworking and rustic furniture making, yurt construction, bach flower remedies, charcoal burning. The site also has a working strawbale composting toilet and many sustainably built structures such as the walter segal self build cabin with a living roof, cob buildings and a demonstration backyard garden.

checking out the bodgers tools…

..yurts under construction

a tyre window in the wall of the cob building which also has a built in bread oven!

We lent a hand in the afternoon weeding veg beds, and potting on and pricking out seedlings which are being grown to sell on to the bear cafe in Todmorden. You can readmore about offshoots here or read about the Bear cafe here


Wading at Boarshaw

Monday as always saw all the VPAs in action at Boarshaw Clough. Christian had a day of river work and pathwork planned. The plan was to fill in some of the eroded pathways with silt which had formed deep channels down their centre. We started digging and filling in the holes. To our amazment we discovered several existing boardwalks submerged under a foot of silt. So we excavated these and continued to fill in the eroded paths with fantastic results at the end. 

Meanwhile some of the braver VPAs tackled the blockage in the river. Matt went in first with one pair of waders to discover there was a large hole in one of the boots. After clearing some of the debris from the stream he poured the water out of the boots an hung his socks in the tree.Christian took over in the other lumberjack style pair of waders to finish off the work. After a succesful day, with the exception of the kelly kettle brews which took ages, the team departed having improved the flow in the stream and making parts of the path far more user friendly.  

Matt and sarah clearing the river.

Christian psyching himself  up for a wade

A new boardwalk uncovered

Matts socks drying in the tree

Wigan Burger

Today we visited Groundwork Lancashire West and Wigan to see what the volunteers have been up to there. We trekked around Amberswood Common, venturing through the wood and wetland. We were really impressed with the huge 160 hectare site, coming across swans and cygnets, ducks and moorhens on the way.

Back in their Wigan office we talked through a SITA bid. The team there were succesful in winning some SITA funding for their site so they gave us ideas and inspiration for our Boarshaw Clough bid.

Obviously, we could not visit Wigan without trying the world famous pies. A team favourite was the hot pot pie.

Thanks to Lucy, Nikki and the team for an inspiring day! You can read more about their project here ––wigan/what-we-do/case-studies/2011/greenheart-team.aspx


A little helper…

Jawad was the team leader this week, organising the exciting use of the Strimmer.  Obviously, we were trained to use the strimmer safely prior to being left to our own devices.   We successfully cut back vegetation along the ‘footpath’ adjacent to the river – ready for future weeks where we aim to improve the footpath itself.  Below you can see the before picture…

We were also helped out this week by a very friendly Robin…

Volunteer day, presentation and cakes

The cakes were made on Thursday afternoon by Liam and Sarah ready for those in attendence for the VPA presentations, they went down a treat. We had rice krispy cakes, choclate cake, coffee and walnut cake and choc chip muffins.

As for the presentations they went really well and it seemed like all those who were there learnt a little bit more about what we are all up to. Liam spoke about what he had achieved on his digital inclusion programme so far, Christian about his plans for constructing the “Friends of Jubilee park” group, Sarah Lav and Alice went through the work they had done so far on the food growing and Matt and Leanne summarised the project about the reservoirs and what they had done so far to help out on volunteer programmes going on in groundwork.

It was well attended we practically filled the boardroom , there was very little cake left but im sure we will finish it quickly.


After my health and safety training in the morning, Matt, Leanne and I escaped the office yesterday to join the DCAT team at their celebration BBQ, with activities for the local children.  After manning the hook the duck stall, Matt joined us at the arts and crafts table with disasterous consequences!  Whilst making a bird scarer to protect the newly planted flowers, he cut his hand- with plastic safety scissors!  I think we might need a risk assessment specially for him…

Sarah Lew