It has been a long wet winter but the birds are singing and the sun is starting to shine, things are getting better.
Not that we have been sat twiddling our thumbs, the ubiquitous meetings with Parks and Countryside that reveal little. (some things never change). After walking from Beighton to Moss Way for one meeting and Owlthorpe to Moss Way for the other we still have not got an answer to our question. All we have asked for is what they plan to do and when they plan to use the £20,000 given to them by Sheffield City Council in November 2020 to make the area around Ochre Dyke more attractive to wildlife and progress the development of a wildlife corridor between Owlthorpe and Beighton. So far they have planted 3 trees which we didn’t ask for. It’s either too difficult or they just don’t want to tell us, I suspect the latter. After all why would public servants be answerable to the public.
We had raised enough funding to plant the other 150 fruit trees as part of our plan “The Way Forward”. https://1drv.ms/w/s!ApuGyEGbYHt8zmUp75E0-75I28Jy?e=eeQXtH but we were told not to spend the money we had raised as the council has plenty of money for tree planting and they would supply the trees. We were promised 100 in the autumn of 2021, it transpires we are getting 50 on March 25th. Pupils from Waterthorpe Nursery and Infant and Emmanuel Junior Schools have been invited to help plant them. We will buy the remaining trees and planting them in the autumn. We are determined that we will not be diverted from our aim to create a self funded park that is safer and more attractive to residents and improves the biodiversity of Waterthorpe Park.
The South East LAC came to view the work that we had done so far and ask about the frustrations. They were all very supportive but couldn’t understand why Parks and Countryside hadn’t recognised that the success of our plan could be showcased nationally and lead to accolades for all in Parks and Countryside. They agreed that we cannot keep putting actions off until next year or the next planting season. Climate change is here it is not going to wait until it is more convenient for local government departments. Leader of Sheffield City Council Terry Fox came along, he was very supportive when I told him of a conversation that I had had with the leader of another large Sheffield trust who told me “the best thing is to just get on with it, you’ll wait for ever if you wait for some departments of Sheffield City Council”.
To that end we have enough wildflower seed to plant 760sq. ft. of wildflower meadow, we have bought a chipper to utilise fallen branches and make the rights of way safer to use and to combat the isolation still being suffered as a result of covid we are setting up a greenwood workshop. Work will start as soon as the ground is dry enough to safely transport materials to site. We would like to see it up and running by the end of March but it is very much dependent on the weather. Courses will be free to full members but a charge will be made to non members to cover costs and generate funding for more projects. We have the go ahead to install some beehives and sell honey but we either need an experienced bee keeper or one of us needs to complete a course and time and volunteers are in short supply.