There will be four volunteer workdays in October, the focus of which will be the rehoming of our resident newt population. We need to prepare all the pier bases for restoration and it is likely that there will be Great Crested Newts loving in the cracks in the brickwork. The newts need to be rehoused into new newt shelters of hibernaculae.
These workdays will take place at the following dates and times.
Wednesday 23rd Oct – Pier bases – Newt relocation 9:30 am – 3:30 pm (full) Thursday 24th Oct – Pier Bases – Newt Relocation 9:30 am – 3:30 pm (full)
Friday 25th Oct – Pier Bases – Newt Relocation 9:30 am – 3:30 pm (spaces available) Saturday 26th Oct. – Pier bases – Newt relocation. 9:30 am to 3:30 pm (spaces available)
This work will involve the following. Removing loose brickwork (strenuous) Stacking and cleaning loose brickwork, (Moderate) Digging out pathways around pier bases, Strenuous Constructing 6 hibernacula (Moderate) Clearing all debris from pier bases. Making all surfaces sound ready for contractors. Clearing all vegetation from around the pier bases.
The workdays will take place under the supervision of a licensed ecologist as Great Crested Newts are a protected species. Please contact Kieran at email@example.com if you want to take part. There are currently spaces on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th. Please be on time for the start of the sessions as there will be a briefing for participants prior to work taking place.
This work has to take place prior to October 31st as a pre commencement planning condition. If the newts are not safely rehoused prior to the 31st, there will be a considerable delay to the works. Your help is therefore critical to the project. Out thanks go to those who have already volunteered. Please get in touch if you can support on either the Friday or Saturday.
Our next work party will take place on Saturday, March 30th 2019 between 10:00 am and 3:00pm. We will be working under the middle spans of the viaduct. These spans are heavily overgrown with hawthorn, bramble and other scrub species. We need to prepare these spans to promote biodiversity and to create the new footpath under the viaduct.
The scrub clearing tasks will include:
Tree pruning and cutting back.
The creation of some habitat piles.
Cutting back bracken.
We will bring tools and protective gloves but if you have your own, please bring them.
If you arrive during the morning or afternoon, we will be working under the central spans so you will have to find us. Come for as long or as short as you can manage, it will be good to see you. The difference we are making under the viaduct is simply inspirational
The barrier on Newtons Lane will be open from 9:30 onwards so you can bring your car up to the viaduct. See Map Come for an hour, a morning or for the day. All welcome.
As promised, Friends of Bennerley Viaduct Volunteer Workdays are being resumed. Our next work party will take place on Saturday, January 26th 2019 between 10:00 am and 3:00pm. We will be working at the Awsworth end of the viaduct under spans 12 to 16. These spans are heavily overgrown with hawthorn, bramble, bracken and other scrub species. We need to prepare these spans so the new footpath under the viaduct can be extended on to the Nottingham Canal.
The scrub clearing tasks will include:
Tree pruning and cutting back.
The creation of some habitat piles.
Cutting back bracken.
We will bring protective gloves but if you have your own, please bring them.
If you arrive during the morning or afternoon, we will be working under the far spans so you will have to find us. for as long or as short as you can manage, it will be good to see you. The difference that the volunteers made in 2016 and 2017 was phenomenal and we express our thanks and appreciation to all those who helped make such a difference.
The barrier on Newtons Lane will be open from 9:30 onwards so you can bring your car up to the viaduct. See Map Come for an hour, a morning or the day. It will be brilliant to see you all again.
The workday after that will take place on: Saturday March 2nd
If you get the chance over the next few weeks, take a visit to the viaduct, as the Autumn colours are currently looking quite magnificent, especially in the early morning or late evening light. We are so lucky to be living in an area with such a rich industrial and natural heritage.
A lot of activity has been taking place behind the scenes since the last newsletter. The project is moving forwards again. I currently feel a real sense of optimism and excitement at the way that the project is taking shape.
I hope to see some of you at the meeting on Monday. Details included below. Our next newsletter will be coming out in December, if you want anything included, please forward items of news to me by email.
The next open meeting will take place at the Gate Inn, Main St, Awsworth, NG16 2RN on Monday October 15th at 7:00pm. There will be three main strands on which we will need to move forwards. These are:
Project Update: There will be a detailed update on the Railway Paths led plan to carry out critical repairs and access.
A Shared Vision for Bennerley Viaduct: At the last meeting, there was support for the idea of the FoBV taking increased ownership of an expanded project. Kieran will be delivering an illustrated presentation which aims to give shape and structure to what we hope will be the basis of an agreed FoBV vision.
An Appropriate Structure We need to create an appropriate structure for the group and to develop its capacity to deliver an ambitious project. We are currently looking towards converting the FoBV into a Charitable Incorporated Organisation CIO. (We are grateful to the many individuals and organisations who are advising and guiding us through this process.)
An agenda for the meeting is attached. (Click here) If you missed the previous meeting, unverified minutes of the meeting of August 13th are attached. Click here We look forward to seeing you. Members and Non members welcome.
Critical Repairs and Access:
Railway Paths Ltd, the owners of the viaduct are developing a plan to carry out critical repairs and create access to the deck of the viaduct. A planning application will be submitted this Autumn to both Erewash and Broxtowe Borough Councils. Surveying work has been undertaken, discussions are taking place with landowners and relevant organisations. The FoBV is giving this project its full backing and support. We would like to acknowledge and thank Bill Tomson, the project manager from Railway Paths Ltd for his work and commitment to the project. Click the button below for more details of the plans and proposals
The current RPL led project will create lots of opportunities for people to volunteer and contribute to the project. The Friends Group will be taking out its own public liability insurance enabling us to restore Saturday workdays. We look forward to announcing in the very near future when these workdays will commence as we achieved a great deal in 2016 and 2017. Tasks in the new project will include the removal of all ballast from the viaduct, linseed oil treatment of the structure, vegetation management, pathway creation and many more tasks. In the meantime, there will be a Sustrans Greener Greenways led workday under the viaduct on Wednesday October 24th.
For further details click here
Linseed Oil and Viaducts!!
Linseed oil is usually associated with cricket bats but soon we may all be linking linseed oil with Bennerley Viaduct. Recent research by Dr Dave Gent has indicated that the life of wrought iron structures like the viaduct can be significantly extended if coated with linseed oil. An added benefit is that the oil is a non toxic, natural product so it can be applied by non specialists. When our volunteer workdays recommence, one of the important tasks that we will undertake will be the application of oil to the reachable parts of structure. Our thanks go to Dr David Gent for conducting the research and identifying a strategy to preserve the viaduct. If you want to know more about this fascinating research, click below.
Above: Visitors to Bennerley Viaduct contribute to the visitor economy.
The Visitor Economy
The rich industrial and natural heritage of Bennerley Viaduct and its surroundings is beginning to draw in visitors from all over the country. Recently, the Association for Industrial Archaeology had their annual conference at Nottingham University. The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct delivered a presentation to the conference, followed by a guided walk on, under and around the structure. The group “greatly enjoyed” the visit. In addition, the viaduct is increasingly becoming a venue for companies running heritage related tourism. The visitor economy has the potential to bring in much needed trade to the area.
Explosions in the Canal!!
One of the delights of showing people around the viaduct is listening to the stories they tell. Recently, Ann Munsey a retired teacher from Bennerley School visited the viaduct with a Heritage Tour Company. She entertained us with stories of potassium explosions in the canal and pupils coming back to the school with grass snakes which they had caught under the viaduct. Anne put these stories down on paper and these were published in the Ilkeston Times. Ann was known as Miss Veni when she taught at the school. Thank you Ann for this entertaining bit of local history. To read the amusing account, click below.
Membership: As we approach the end of the year, this will be the time for members to renew their annual subscription at the bargain basement price of £5 for the year. Reminder letters will be coming out and we will try to ensure that there is a simple way for members to renew online.
Treasurer: Steve, our treasurer has moved up to the Lakes but he is continuing with the task until we can find a replacement. It would be absolutely wonderful if someone could step forwards to take on the role for a year. You would be taking on a key role within the group and this can be satisfying knowing that you are making a real difference. Help and support will be given if you think you could take on this role.
Trustees: We may be converting into a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. If we do agree to take this route, we will be needing to appoint trustees to guide and steer the charity. We will disseminate information on the role of trustees later as we get to know more about the working operation of CIOs. There may be the opportunity in the future for you to make a valued contribution to the project by becoming a trustee.
Bennerley Viaduct Presentations
We are happy to deliver presentations on the fascinating history of Bennerley Viaduct to groups within the area. We have a large collection of images, stories, anecdotes related to the viaduct which we are happy to share at illustrated presentations. We have all the neccessary projection equipment which was purchased using a community grant from Erewash Borough Council. All we ask for is for a donation to the FoBV to help us with the project. If your group would like a presentation, contact Kieran Lee to arrange times and dates.
The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct plan to reinstate Saturday work parties to enable the brilliant work which has been put in by friends and volunteers to continue. We hope this will be operational by the end of the year. In the meantime, Sustrans Greener Greenways team will be carrying out some workdays though these take place on weekdays. Details of the workdays are attached. If you want further details of the workdays, please contact the greener greenways team. Bennerley Schedule of works Summer Autumn 2018
A volunteer workday will be taking place on Saturday June 2nd under the first four spans of the viaduct and on the approach road. The day will take place in two distinct halves.
10:00 – 12:00 The first part of the day will be an onsite workshop led by Sustrans Greener Greenways ecologist David Watson. We are keen to ensure that the viaduct surroundings are looked after and the area as ecologically rich as we can make it. People visiting the viaduct will spending time in this area. How best do we make the area welcoming? How do we add interest? Be creative. Your thoughts and ideas are wanted. These ideas can be incorporated into a management plan for the first four spans. (If you do not want to take part in the workshop, then you can work on the actual tasks.
12:00 – 3:30pm The second part of the day will be planting a wildflower mix under spans 1 and 2 and on the approach road. Following the removal of flytipped rubble by AMCO, the ground is bare so it is an ideal time to plant the wildflower mix before the invading species dominate. . We are most grateful to AMCO and to Harworth Estates for supplying the wild flower seed mix.
The work will involve the following tasks:
Some lopping of bramble.
Some removal of larger pieces of rubble
Breaking up the topsoil / ground surface which may be compacted in places
Raking the topsoil / ground surface
Planting wild flower mix.
Tools will be provided but if you have loppers, spades, rakes or a wheelbarrow, bring them along. The barrier will be open from 9:30pm onwards. We look forward to seeing you. The image below shows the seedmix which will be used. It contains 26 native wildflower species designed to attract bees and butterflies. The seed is being kindly provided by AMCO and Harworth Estates.