Excited local residents have welcomed the opening of a new community space in Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire. Located on Route 64 of the National Cycle Network, Willow Glade has been developed by volunteers as part of our Greener Greenways programme which protects and enhances biodiversity along some traffic-free sections of the National Cycle Network. It contains a sitting area made from logs with a number of features and decorations made by local children using natural material.
Instead of a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony a piece of willow was cut by local Sustrans volunteer Ian Callaghan, with support from local councillor Mike Thompson. At the opening event local children took part in a weaving session using a tool made from the willow.
The inspiration for Willow Glade came to veteran Sustrans volunteer, Ian Callaghan, when he watched a maintenance team remove two trees that were in danger of falling onto the cycle route last year. From the waste material he created a log pile house on a clearing that was created by the works. Impressed with his vision and enthusiasm, we provided him with a small budget of £300 to complete the work - he also received help from a local school, St Lawrence.
It took just 30 days during November last year for Ian, his children and friends to transform the area from a small clearing into a fenced learning area with steps and seating. During the transformation Ian shifted around ten tonnes of wood chippings and countless logs.
Speaking at the opening of Willow Glade Sim Duhra, Sustrans Senior Project Officer for Greener Greenways, said:
“I’d like to thank Ian and the volunteers for the work that they’ve done to make this project a success. The Greener Greenways corridors help to create ‘networks’ that allow wildlife to move, colonise new areas and adapt. This ensures ongoing biodiversity and a varied ecosystem - however, they’re great for people too! Thanks to Ian and the volunteers many local people, walkers and schoolchildren are enjoying this site and will do for a long time to come.”
Sustrans volunteer Ian Callaghan has been helping Sustrans for nearly four years. Speaking about this project he said:
“Lots of people who walked by commented on the things we were doing and I could see a need for an area close to the village for people to use. I hand carved the sign and built the glockenspiel using the spare sleepers from the stairs. The whole project has been made worthwhile by the variety of people using it, from the walking group who stop there for tea to the 50 plus children who came to make Christmas decorations.”