London: Update: Wildlife Trust take on 'Cyclepath from Hell'
This is about the heavily vandalised Greenway Path that overlooks the London 2012 Olympic Site in East London, mentioned as the 'Cycle Path from Hell', in an article by NP Contributor Beaulieu (16/08/2008). It was somewhat neglected with overgrown brambles, old sofas, graffiti and felt 'unsafe' to walk in, let alone cycle in!
Yesterday, Beaulieu was just 'passing by' to have a 'reconnaisance' and was pleasantly surprised, if not totally shocked, to see improvements being made by the London Wildlife Trust who were feverishly chopping away at the brambles. They even gave the grass a nice trim. Almost as good as Wimbledon or perhaps the 'lawnmower ads' on TV.
The Trust is run by volunteers who come every Tuesday. A handful of volunteers are often young offenders, although, according to the new organiser, Shaun Marriott, the Conservation Officer, they could not make it as 'the vehicle they were going to use had it's registration plate stolen'.
However, despite this, a keen bunch of other volunteers were out enforce to work on this challenging project.
In their website, the London Wildlife Trust volunteers have a vision that “The Greenway will, in time, live up to its name”
Shaun Marriotti says "I've known about this unique green corridor for several years and have cycled along it over past months, avoiding traffic on busy roads in east London. I meet the volunteers at West Ham tube at 10am each Tuesday, then I take the minibus onto the site to unload the tools, bicycles and trailers which are then used to ferry waste material to a collection point.
After a brief tools safety talk, we start work and have so far removed a considerable quantity of dumped rubbish, as well as large amounts of vegetation. Veolia have very kindly offered us a pick-up vehicle with their very helpful driver, Leroy, to help out with the workload.
Wrens, blackbirds, a robin, migrant hawker dragonfly and a red admiral butterfly have all been spotted here this October. OK, not exactly rare species, but that isn't really the point.
Wildlife will thrive on this route with careful management of the ecology, removing invasive plant species and encouraging more native wildlife-friendly varieties - there is a lot of work to be done in the coming months. We're not going in to hack away wholesale at the overgrowth, there has to be careful thinning out so that certain species are given a chance.
That's a major part of what volunteering on the Greenway is about, but it's also about engaging people from the wider community, whether they have experience or not. Some of the volunteers travel from the other side of London to give their time here, while quite a few passers-by have taken an interest in what we are doing, giving their support.
Everyone learns something from each other along the way, and that's one reason why I really enjoy this work."
The London Wildlife Trust are also looking for volunteers.
So, this is a great start and Now Public will look forward to seeing the improvements, and encourage volunteers, and no doubt a whole host of wildlife will benefit, not just the fat rats that hang round by the rubbish!