A Sustrans volunteer group on the Chester Millennium Greenway celebrated the launch of its new base this week, when a 20ft shipping container equipped with a range of hand tools, arrived on the popular cycle and walking route.
Volunteers and staff braved the bad weather to enjoy a festive ‘bulbs and baubles’ workday, planting bulbs around newly planted fruit trees.
Afterwards they sheltered in their new base, decorated with festive baubles, to enjoy hot chocolate, biscuits and mince pies.
The container, which was funded by Network Rail, will allow volunteers to carry out regular maintenance and practical conservation tasks on the greenway without the need to rely on Sustrans maintenance staff to provide equipment.
A new bike trailer will also help to transport tools across the greenway, which means volunteers can carry out tasks all along the route.
Along with the fruit trees and container, Sustrans’ Greener Greenways project has also landscaped the area; improving access by providing a new path, creating fencing and planting a new hedge which will help the area blend into its surroundings.
Volunteer Jayne Rodgers explains what the new base means to her group: “We are really pleased with the new container and its marvellous contents.
“Having access to the tools and equipment nearby and somewhere to meet and spend time over a cuppa is really worth a lot to us volunteers.
“It’ll allow us to arrange a lot more workdays and be able to engage with the community more and hopefully sign up more volunteers to help out not to mention the attention we attract and the publicity we hope to achieve for Sustrans and the volunteers.
“We’re really looking forward to when the recently planted trees, bulbs and seeds are flourishing in the spring.”
Chester Millennium Greenway is a former railway track which runs eight miles between Chester and Connah’s Quay and is part of the National Cycle Network. The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation awarded £400,000 funding over three years to Sustrans to continue and expand wildlife conservation work across more than 400km of cycle and walking routes in the National Cycle Network, including sections of the Sea to Sea.
The National Cycle Network was established by Sustrans in 1995 to encourage cycling throughout Britain and it now stretches 14,700 miles across the UK.