Thursday, 21 June 2012

Drainage Work on Route 52.

On the morning of Friday the 15th of June, Robert and I ventured out to a section of route 52 – so fortunately placed at his back door – that he had wanted to work on because of it constantly collecting rainwater flowing down the slope, - great for the plant life on both sides but not so for path users. To aid it on its way down we dug through the grass on the downward slope at key points, with the effect being noticeable almost right away. Now the water drains much better, although it’s probable the makeshift drainage ditches will soon be filled with vegetation, making this something to be repeated on a fairly regular basis. Robert also cut back thorny plants such as blackthorn and dogs rose that had begun to encroach on the path.

Once that was completed, we followed route 52 to Gracedieu Priory so I could learn more about the route and Sustrans in general. The trail seemed well managed, though just as it reaches the turn-off to the priory and the end of the woodlands a tremendous rotten branch had snapped off an Ash tree, presumably in the previous nights storm, taking with it a fair deal of neighbouring Sycamore branches. Being too large to move and blocking the path almost entirely, attempts were made to report it, - it will not be long before removal.

All in all, a productive day and the route has been improved somewhat. A crying shame, though, that the sporadic downpours were not avoided. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

NCN52 Weddington Way – Inspection Ride

On 05th June 2012 I performed an inspection ride of NCN52, between Higham-on-the-Hill and Attleborough, Nuneaton. The ride was dual purpose; 1, to check the state of the Weddington Country Walk / Coventry Canal off road section and 2, to perform a reconnaissance ride of the braided section of the route that passes through the town centre. The latter was to make recommendations for possible renumbering, as per current SUSTRANS practice concerning split or braided routes.

My findings were as follows:

A.      The Weddington Country Walk (WCW) is overgrown in two places:

1.       Weeds are crowding the path in places between the A5 and A444.

2.       Where the path near Sandon Park becomes very narrow, Hawthorne & Nettle are growing through the fence on both sides, making riding quite hazardous

B.      There is a lot of damage to signage (see photographs) along WCW thus:

1.       Reminder sign damaged at farm track over bridge near A5.

2.       Damage to “Busy Road” warning sign near A444.

3.       Signs damaged or completely torn away at Sandon Park.

4.       Graffiti over sign on Stoney Road.

5.       Signs damaged at entrance to Coventry Canal – Midland Road.

C.      The Railtrack improvements and diversion of railway lines, means that the Stoney Road area is in a state of constant flux and will be for a considerable amount of time. This will cause requirement of frequent updates to signage.

D.      There is very little signage along the Coventry Canal in either direction, this requires rectification. Signs that are in place are damaged or covered with graffiti.

E.       The signage of the “alternative” braided route, via Nuneaton town centre is rather sporadic and ambiguous running in a Southwest direction; running Northeast, some of the signing is almost non-existent.

F.       At Pingles Park (The Wem Brook Trail) the white “National Cycle Network” direction signs (as shown in Photograph 6) have all suffered damage, most missing at least 1 arm some having none.

I conclude that the on road route via Nuneaton town centre, is possibly the more viable route to sign as route 52. I suggest that the route via Weddington Way, Sandon Park, Stoney Road and the Coventry Canal could be renumbered as NCN (52) or (52A) or Regional Route RCN (52) or (52A). This should be applicable between where the route diverges at the A444 Weddington Road and where it reconverges, with the Coventry Canal at the Shepperton Business Park. This option will require less expenditure for replacement of signs.

I am prepared to perform some of these corrections, between Higham-on-the-Hill and Shepperton Business Park, but I also think that the Nuneaton group should have a chance to share in the improvements.

Kev Regester – West Leicestershire Ranger – NCN52 Weddington Way

Freshairmiles - quality not quantity!

We ran two social rides out of Hinckley on the evenings of Monday 27th May and Mon 4th June. Our target audience was specifically a group of adults who had just completed cycle training courses run by Leicestershire Council. The idea was to provide a social activity and introduce them the local network of lanes so that they could try out their new skills in a safe environment.

I publicised the rides by turning up at two of their cycle training evenings, talking to them about Sustrans and the planned rides and also handing out contact details and flyers for the rides. There seemed to be a fair amount of interest albeit that there were probably only 10 or so regular participants. We did not publicise the rides any wider in fairness.

Unfortunately the interest did not translate into people turning up for the rides on what turned out to be two of the better evenings for weather. The weather for the first ride was glorious.

So we had just Tina along for the first ride and she was joined by Judy for the second ride. In the end the other planned ride leaders were "stood down" and I took the ladies out on my own. On the first night Tina was keen to go further so we extended the planned ride and did an extra loop out to Shenton station - probably 15 miles in total. The second night was a bit cooler so we contented ourselves with the planned loop out to Dadlington and Stoke Golding stopping for a well earned drink in the George and Dragon. The ladies said they enjoyed the rides and I certainly did. Both of them intend to continue with their cycling so thats great.

This is now our third year of running freshairmiles rides and we have still not cracked how to get joe public along. I am tempted to get myself trained as a Skyride leader next year and go down the skyrides local route - they have a bigger marketing budget than Sustrans!