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Friends News

Path Works Event

Saturday 21st May 10am-3.30pm.

Paths for All Training CoursePaths for All is a Scottish charity who promote everyday walking as a way to a healthier, happier Scotland. They have an excellent website containing a host of information including Walking For Health and Community Paths  together with details on support and funding.

A number of the Friends of Plean Country Park members have attended Paths for All courses at their National Path Demonstration site at 21Oatridge College near Linlithgow. 

We are fortunate that Paths for All have agreed to hold a Community Paths event in Plean Country Park which is an ideal opportunity for volunteers to gain skills and contribute to improving and upgrading one of the paths within the park. The event is free and lunch and refreshments will be provided.

 To book a place on this course please go to the Paths for All website click here or use our Contact Us page.

Celebrating Scotland's Walking Champions.

Our regular Monday Health Walks have now finished their fifth season but will return after the winter break.

This year the Plean Health Walk was nominated for a Paths for All award as the Health Walk Group of the Year and our line manager Tricia Cumming of the Stirling Walking Network was nominated as Volunteer Manager of the Year.

Tricia receiving her award

As a satisfying end to our walks for this year we were invited to a reception at the Scottish Parliament "Celebrating Scotland's Walking Champions" on the 4th November.

Although Plean didn't ultimately win the group award we were delighted to be with Tricia to celebrate as she received her award as Volunteer Manager of the Year.

Walking reduces the risk of many diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes so we would encourge everyone to go for even a short walk as often as possible.

During the winter months in the park some of the paths can become dangerous as the weather takes it's toll. Great care must be taken on any muddy or icy surfaces particularly if you are out walking on your own.

Keep safe and enjoy the park!

CSV Rhoddie Bash January 2014

Volunteers clearing rhododendronsOn Saturday 11th January the Friends together with the Rangers and other willing volunteers convened in the spruce wood for a spot of rhoddie bashing.

This event replaced the pre-Christmas event which was cancelled because of bad weather.

Luckily the weather was good, the rain stayed off and as a result a considerable area of invasive rhododrons was cleared from under the standing trees.

 Woodland cleared of rhododendrons

The cut material was destroyed by burning, and the resultant bonfire came in very useful for heating the post Christmas mince pies at lunchtime. These were in addition to the very welcome homemade soup and hot rolls kindly funded by CSV.

The picture on the left shows the results of our labours. The wood is now opened up and light can now reach the forest floor encouraging native regeneration.

Hedge Laying

Finished hedge reduced optFollowing on from our successful dry stone dyking course, we were recently able to provide a free training course for hedge laying, again with grant funding from CSGN (Central Scotland Green Network).

Fifteen people were able to learn new skills from champion hedge layer Guy Robbins and together we tackled 65 metres of hedge which is planted along the bottom of the event field.

Laying a hedge encourages the shrubs to regenerate and promote growth to make it bushier which is exactly what our straggly,gappy hedge needed. Hedge laying is a traditional way of managing hedgerows and helps to provide a thicker barrier and a great place for wildlife.

There are many different styles used in various parts of the UK and the one which has been used in Plean Country Park is the Midland style. The stems are cut most of the way through so that they can be bent over. These laid stems are called pleachers and new growth will come from the base of them where the base has been cut.In the Midland style the hedge is strengthened with upright stakes and tied together along the top with binders woven in and out to support the structure.

Click on the gallery below for pictures from the day :

To learn more about the art of hedgelaying check out the NHLS website.

CSV Make a Difference Day

CSV Volunteers for web

This year the national action day was a joint venture held in the park on Saturday 27th October. The Friends group joined forces with Forth Valley Orchards and the Ranger Service to organise what was a successful and enjoyable day, with the Rangers providing a BBQ lunch.

Forth Valley Orchards funded an expert to provide training within the walled garden to a dozen local people on pruning and maintenance of fruit trees while two groups of volunteers worked on tasks. One group prepared some ground around the Gamekeepers Cottage for wildflower planting and the other continued the quest to enhance access by clearing paths of vegetation.

BBQ lunch for webThose attending the course joined the Rangers and volunteers for lunch which gave everyone time to relax and enjoy some late Autumn sunshine. Anyone who wishes to become involved as a volunteer should contact us through the website.