The picnic area was officially opened at 7.30pm on Friday 24th July by Councillor Mrs Margaret Albon, Vice-President of The Cumbria Wildlife Trust. Some photos of the event have been added to the Gallery at the bottom of this page.
The tables and benches are finished, the nesting boxes, feeders etc have been added and the picnic area is now ready for use.
Yesterday, we cut the grass for the first time. Over the past couple of weeks, the volunteers have been working hard to complete the 'furniture' - all of the tables are now finished and we hope to put together the remaining benches next week. A photo has been added to the Gallery at the bottom of this page.
Over the Bank Holiday weekend, the volunteers constructed the curved section of fencing which runs around the outside of the ramp up to the picnic area. A photo has been added to the Gallery at the bottom of the page.
On Wednesday, (i) Mike completed the new dry stone wall and (ii) the fencing which runs alongside the ramp up to the picnic area was finished. A couple of photos have been added to the Gallery at the bottom of the page. In addition, we also took delivery of the new bird boxes etc which will be installed shortly.
The 'mid-week gang' were hard at work last Thursday erecting (i) the remaining section of fencing at the front of the picnic area and (ii) a large section of the fencing which runs alongside the ramp. This will be completed as soon as Mike has finished building the new dry stone wall. A couple of photos have been added to the Gallery at the bottom of the page.
Yesterday we had a visit from Andris Bergs who assisted the 'mid-week gang' with the construction of the first picnic table and some of the fencing. A couple of photos have been added to the Gallery at the bottom of this page. Now that we are familar with the techniques involved, our volunteers will be able to complete the job in the next few weeks.
Today the Contractors applied the top layer of fine tarmac to the ramp and the job is now finished. They have done a first class job and we are delighted with the finished product. During the day, we received three deliveries of timber from Gayle Mill which will subsequently be used to manufacture the fencing, picnic tables and benches - this is now safely stored away on site. Another 4 photos have been added to the Gallery at the bottom of the page.
The Contractors have now finished turfing the Picnic Area which looks very smart. The next stage in the work is to add more stone to the ramp so that it can be tarmaced - it is intended this will be undertaken in the next couple of days. The final job is to complete the new drain. We have arranged delivery this coming week of the timber which will be used to construct the fencing, picnic tables and benches - this will be the next stage of the project. A number of photos have been added to the Gallery at the bottom of the page.
Today our Contractors have been busy fitting a new drain as there is quite a bit of water running off the embankment. This will be finished tomorrow and the main drain that it will be connected into is going to be 'flushed out' to remove any silt etc which may have accumulated over the years. This will ensure that everything operates correctly. Two more photos have been added to the Gallery at the bottom of the page.
Excellent progress continues - our Contractors spent Thursday / Friday last week levelling the embankment and the 'Terrace' is now essentially complete. Two photographs showing this work have been added to the Gallery at the bottom of this page.
Our Contractors arrived on site on 2nd March and are making good progress. Soil has been excavated from the embankment to create the basis of the ramp leading up to the Picnic Area. This has enabled a 'Mini-Digger' to reach the top of the embankment and most of the remaining tree roots have now been removed. This is illustrated by the photos added to the Gallery at the bottom of this page.
At last, the weather appears to have improved! Our volunteers have been hard at work removing the stumps. We have also emptied the container at the bottom of the embankment and this weekend it was moved in order to give our Contractor full access to the site where the ramp will be built - a photo showing this has been added to the Gallery at the bottom of the page. We hope that the construction work will start very shortly.
In spite of the atrocious weather, we are making good progress removing the tree stumps. We have now extracted approximately half of them and hope to complete this stage of the project in the next few weeks. Some photos of our volunteers at work have been uploaded into the Gallery at the bottom of this page.
At the end of October, the Cumbria Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (CALSF) awarded us a grant of up to £10,473 towards the provision of a Picnic Area with wheelchair access on the northern embankment at KSE.
CALSF is a DEFRA funded scheme, administered by Cumbria Waste Management Environment Trust (CWMET) on behalf of Cumbria County Council.
Our application to CWMET was accompanied by letters of support from the following organisations to whom we are most grateful:
Eden District Council
Kirkby Stephen Town Council
Kirkby Stephen Town Forum
Upper Eden Community Plan Group
Upper Eden Support Group - Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Kirkby Stephen Garden Trail Committee
Eastside Project - Kirkby Stephen
BTCV Vinvolved Team - Cumbria
CALSF are able to fund up to 80% of project costs and, because DEFRA have strict spending guidelines, all monies must be spent and the grant claimed in full before 31st March 2009.
Since we received the news that our application had been successful, the clearance gang have been hard at work and excellent progress has been made on the land designated for the picnic area. This is illustrated in the gallery below which will be updated as the project progresses. The next stage is to remove the remaining tree stumps and it is likely that our Contractor will start work early in the new year on the construction of the wheelchair / pushchair ramp which will give access to the picnic area. There will be no public access to the rest of the embankment which will be fenced-off for safety. The turfed picnic area itself (approx. 100 sq. metres) will feature 6 picnic tables, 4 benches and 2 arbours. All the timber for this will be purchased from Gayle Mill at Hawes - a volunteer-run project with a sustainable timber policy and which generates all its own electricity via a water-wheel at the Mill. In addition, we have consulted the Cumbria Wildlife Trust with a view to conserving and enhancing the wildlife habitats available - Squirrel and Bird feeders, Nest Boxes and a Bat Box will also be provided.
We very much hope that the picnic area will be finished and available for public use by late spring / early summer.
Below is an album of work on the picnic area at KSE.