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Beat Around The Bush old
We held our annual Make a Difference Day Rhododendron bashing event at Plean Country Park on 22nd October.
The Friends of Plean Country Park joined forces with the Rangers Service and spent the day chopping and burning rhododendron. These plants are a huge problem in the park as they take over the ground they grow on, preventing any of our native wild flowers from thriving and block the sunlight out. This directly affects all other wildlife in the food chain dependent on our native flora.
Burning the cuttings also provided a source to cook our baked potatoes which we had with chilli, cheese and beans. In some cases all the fillings on the same plate!! Plenty of refreshments, hot and cold with biscuits and sweets required for energy of course.
Grateful thanks to Volunteering Matters for grant funding which paid for the lunch for our band of volunteers and also paid for some new hi viz vests and tools.
Many thanks to everyone who came along to help out and we hope to see everyone again on the 4th December for the Christmas rhodie bash with a hot lunch and of course mincemeat pies.
Checkout the gallery below for pictures from the day:
Community Path Works Project
Due to many hours of hard work by our volunteers we have recently completed an upgrade of the Canter Section within the park.
This project was made possible thanks to a Community Path Grant from Paths For All who provide support, advice and training to community voluntary groups & registered charities such as community councils, development trusts and community woodland groups working in Scotland. Groups can apply annually for up to £1500 to improve, upgrade or maintain their local community path. The aim of the grant is to bring local communities and volunteers together to improve their local environment.
Members of the Friends Group joined forces with the Rangers Service, members of the Fisheries Team and were helped by some new volunteers from the community which was greatly appreciated. Everyone worked hard over the three days of the project, learned from one another and had some good laughs.
On day one we installed some new drainage channels at the top of the path and started to remove vegetation from the edges to return it to the original width.
On the second day we continued to clear vegetation from the edges adding about two feet to the current width then we made a start to putting a new surface of whin dust onto the path which had been badly damaged by months of rain.
Day three found us laying the remainder of the seven and a half tons of whin dust which we then compacted with a walk behind roller. The damaged section of the path has now been upgraded making the path usable and safe once more.
We hope to carry out further repairs next year.
Picnic Drive At Plean Country Park
The Forth Driving Group RDA spent a most enjoyable picnic drive at Plean. While being relaxed the route driven gave plenty of variety. After a short, but steep climb from the area for horse transport we drove around the perimeter of the walled garden before a downhill section which levelled off just before rounding the ruined house. A left turn afforded a good straight run allowing a lively trot before negotiating a trick section through the trees before returning to base. Although overcast, the weather remained dry and gradually improved during the afternoon.
Then of course the best was yet to come……the picnic including a Birthday celebration! As usual the spread of food did nothing for our waistlines but the variety of savoury and sweet delights had all to be sampled. Lynn’s Birthday Cake was adorned by too many candles to be counted but thankfully we didn’t need to call on the services of the fire brigade.
Our thanks must go to Stirling Council who allows access to the park; also to The Friends of Plean Country Park for the use of their gazebo, table and chairs which enabled us to relax following the activities of the morning drives. Thank you to all the volunteers who made this outing possible and of course to the drivers for their presence and camaraderie.
Orchids on the meadow
We are fortunate in Plean Country Park to have one of the best displays of Greater Butterfly Orchids (Platanthera chlorantha ) in Scotland. This plant with its lovely vanilla coloured flower spikes grows in old meadows and other unimproved grasslands and during the months of June and July appear in the meadow in large numbers.
The plants are most densley populated in the main meadow situated in front of Plean House which is why this area was the obvious choice for the recently installed carving of the butterfly orchid and the moths which pollinate the plant.
Each year volunteers count each and every flower spike and this year has been no exception. Following the count last weekend it has been found that the number has increased overall this year to about 2800 however the annual report is not yet available. If you would like to know a bit more about these wonderful plants or are interested in their management, you may be interested in the report produced by Jennifer Davidson following last years count.
New animals in the park
A variety of animals have arrived at the park and some of them have made their first public appearance.
One by one they are taking up position on a route from the car park onto the north drive in one direction and in the other direction towards the south drive and Plean House.
The children's play area is where most of them congregate and make an ideal photo opportunity. A few of our new friends are pictured here but please come to the park and see all of them for yourself.