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Posted: Monday 7th August 2017 by LowerAireValley

This week the group has been at Townclose Hills in Billy Woods. The work on setting the way markers is nearly complete apart from fitting the 'tell-tale' direction arrows hopefully enabling walkers to enjoy a self-guided ramble through the wonderful deciduous woodland. There's still some project work to complete there but we’re on track and the final results should go a long way towards enhancing the value of the site for people to enjoy.

The group have enjoyed the work and even though it’s mostly been about digging to install benches or marker posts it’s still been great fun. I have to admire just how enthusiastic our group members are and there seems nothing that can faze them. Last week was no exception as it usually ends up being like a little challenge between the sub teams and this is guaranteed to generate some great banter. This site is renowned for being hard - to get holes dug - and even when you’re down to the right depth there's no guarantee you'll be able to compact the very poor limestone rich soil into something rigid enough to hold the post or seat base against casual or deliberate unwanted disturbance. However it is what it is and we can only do so much, but hopefully our efforts will start to make a difference and help people to appreciate their surroundings to realise just how much enjoyment these woods and green spaces will provide. A little ownership goes a long way and will certainly help to ward off those odd bouts of senseless vandalism.

Luckily in the 4 years I have been with the LAV group, there has not been much destruction from this so possibly we can relax a bit and look forward to enjoying some of our own efforts and get a kick visiting the sites we look after with Elspeth, the reserves officer. Isn't it good to show people saying, 'we did that the other week' and watch their reaction?

It's meadow management time of year and even this work is of little hardship to our members so long as the day is not to hot and humid, your strength is not drained too quickly or your enthusiasm doesn't follow with it. But we know when to relent and usually most likely to have more regular water breaks and of course our tea and lunch breaks when you can rely on some stimulating conversation. Some weeks more stimulating than others but all the same accompanied by some great laughter. I think for me this is the answer as a sense of humour can work wonders to not only bond the group together but make all those mundane jobs just the same as those tasks that always bring great satisfaction and a proud feeling when you've finished the work and it not only looks good but it has been done properly.

So I hope you’re getting something out of this and if you’re thinking this may be for you then why not come along on a Tuesday task day. You’re guaranteed a fun day with the volunteers and there's always a purpose to the work we do. You may even get a slice of homemade cake if you’re not late for tea time, so why not give it a try. It’s cheaper than the gym and you'll have fun as well.

May even meet you out there,

Pete

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