Woodland work camp works wonders

Volunteers from across Northern England have been gathering in a local beauty spot near Sheffield to enhance its user-friendliness.

Beeley Woods, which lies between Hillsborough and Oughtibridge, is a delightful but boggy woodland on the Northern bank of the River Don.

Sustrans has been working with Sheffield City Council to develop a new bridleway through the woods suitable for walkers, cyclists, wheelchair users and horse riders. It will form part of National Cycle Network Route 6, which connects the centre of Sheffield to the Peak District National Park.

The first phase of the work is being carried out by Sustrans’ volunteers who have travelled from as far afield as Manchester, York, Leicester and Lincoln.

Volunteer co-ordinator Simon Geller said: “When it became clear that this task was too big for our local group alone I asked for help from our neighbouring Sustrans groups. The response has been overwhelming, and their enthusiasm and commitment to our project is inspiring. We simply couldn’t have done it without them, so we’re incredibly grateful.”

Les Sims, a volunteer Sustrans ranger from Derby, said: “Beeley Woods is a really fascinating place to work. It’s full of archaeology, wildlife, ecology and heritage. I’m delighted to have been able to help – even if it’s only in a small way – in enabling more people to access the woodland and to enjoy it. I’m already looking forward to coming back next year when the path is finished. It’s been an absolute pleasure.”
The work camp began on Monday and is scheduled to take place all week.

Dave Stevens, Sustrans Co-ordinator, said: “Beeley Woods is a beautiful place to walk - the sunlight dapples through the trees, glints off the river, and highlights a historic mill race. But until now people have to spend more time looking down at their feet trying to traverse the boggy terrain.

“The new path will provide a much better experience, usable in all conditions. And such is the volunteers’ dedication that they are already well ahead of schedule.”

For more information about volunteering, visit www.sustrans.org.uk or email volunteers-north@sustrans.org.uk or Simon Geller at simonmichaelgeller@googlemail.com

Further information about Sustrans, including other news releases and detailed online route mapping visit the website at: www.sustrans.org.uk