Volunteers pitch in to transform gateway to the Colourful Coast

22nd December 2015

A group of volunteers rolled up their sleeves and pitched in to transform a track providing a gateway for residents and visitors to Whitehaven’s iconic ‘Colourful Coast’.

The path, situated off Basket Road, links nearby housing with the coast and leads onto Haig – the former colliery site owned by national charity the Land Trust and managed on its behalf by the National Trust.

Unfortunately, over time the path had become overgrown and worn down by its heavy annual footfall. That’s now changed thanks to the efforts of seven local volunteers determined to make a difference to their surroundings.

Last Autumn the volunteers helped to mass plant bulbs at this entry point. The grass was completely removed and trenches filled with daffodil, tulips, crocus and snowdrops.

Then wildflower seeds were raked into the soil so that the bulbs flora display from December to May was succeeded by the blue red and yellow flowers of cornflower, poppy and corn marigold with many other species growing between.

Meanwhile, a contractor was brought in to resurface the path, supported by volunteers, replacing the cobble and mud path with paving that matched that of the Candlestick and Wellington terraces on site. Part of this work included re-establishing a camber to help the water run off rather than along the path.

This sustainable approach to drainage involved laying a three to four-inch thick base layer of course limestone followed by a two-inch thick top layer of dust via a tipping truck. The materials were raked into shape and then all compacted together with a whacker plate.

In recent times the pathway has been blighted by dog mess. To counteract this, a specialist bin has been installed by the path – discouraging irresponsible dog owners.

Other work by volunteers has included a long-running repointing programme of a wall at Haig off Ravenhill Road, while at North Row and Solway Road grass paths have been established and widened to try and ensure they are less muddy in future, while lumps and bumps have also been smoothed.

Alan Carter, Head of Portfolio Management at the Land Trust, said: “The results of the volunteers’ efforts at our Haig site have been tremendous, providing wide-reaching benefits for the community.

“Volunteering at our green spaces helps people enjoy the great outdoors, promoting health and wellbeing and providing an outlet to meet new people and work towards a common and rewarding goal. Simply put, volunteering is brilliant!”

Haig Park Ranger Chris Gomersall, of the National Trust, added: “This path improvement used a lot of volunteer help from litter picking, cutting the turfs, experimenting with mortar surfacing, laying, spreading and compaction of the stone, as well as the mass bulb planting at Basket road. For their voluntary commitment to improving their local area whatever the weather both here and elsewhere on the Colourful coast, they deserve my thanks for making it all possible with over 600 hours gifted from 26 people so far this year.

To find out more about volunteering opportunities, contact Chris Gomersall on 07785 226698.

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