We are a group of volunteers that are helping to improve the condition of Open Spaces and Public Rights of Way in Shotley.
Our members are all from the village and are passionate about securing it’s beauty for future generations. Formerly known as the Shotley Stour Footpath Renovation Group, which started in 2009, was Constituted in 2012 and became Shotley Open Spaces on 17 November 2016.
As you can see we are a happy bunch with a bit of machinery and a lot of enthusiasm. Our Honorary Chairman and Treasurer is Gary Richens, Honorary Secretary is Geraint Pugh and the other ten committee members are (in no particular order) Marian Pugh, Pat Schofield, Jane Leach. Derek Gent, Roger Cushing, Alex Pettersson, Derek Fowler, Ian Saunders, Ian Peters and Tony Lawford-Randall. Not all of them are in this photograph and there are people in the photograph who help us out when they can.
We have a growing e-mail list of supporters who like to be kept informed of what we are doing (please contact Tony and have your name and e-mail address added to the list).
Most of our committee members and supporters are actively involved in other local groups and organisations, and this helps us a lot in gathering information for some of the things we are involved with. For the recent ‘Walkers are Welcome campaign’ we reached out to local groups through our members for letters of support which were quickly delivered.
As you would expect we have public liability insurance for working in the Heritage Park, and do risk assessments as required. We have a stock of hi-vis vests that are handed out to ensure that our volunteers are easily visible.
New to our team are the ‘A Boards’ that you can see in the photograph. We’ll try to display these whenever we are doing improvement works. In time the SOS logo should be a familiar sight around Shotley.
A key project launched in 2012 is our continuing maintenance of Shotley Heritage Park. This is 8 acres of woodland and 50 acres of mudflats adjacent to the River Stour at Shotley Gate.
• We have 12 committee members and loads of supporters in the village – Meet once a month on the last Thursday of every month – We welcome new supporters (members) to go on our e-mailing list – A friendly enthusiastic team helping to make the outdoors a better place – Managers of the Shotley Walkers are Welcome scheme.
Shotley is our home, and we want to make it’s open spaces accessible, safe and enjoyable for all. Our campaign ‘save our shotley’ is committed to make long term, valuable change for all.
The Work we do
Shotley Heritage Park and Lloyd road recreational area.
Since 2012, we have been maintaining Shotley Heritage Park.
This includes, hedge trimming, keeping the footpaths clear of hazards, grass mowing and strimming with regular inspections of the area.
More recently we have extended our work to include Lloyd recreational area. This involves keeping the football pitch in good condition and maintaining the kick wall. The tennis court and five aside basketball court also need regular attention.
We look after the condition of the coastal path by spreading granite chippings where necessary. Material costs are funded by the parish council from their maintenance budget and labour provided by our volunteers at no cost.
Signage within Shotley Haritage Park
Most recently, the new directional signs adjacent to Cockle Creek.
Bristol Hill Picnic Area
We are responsible for the maintenance of he concrete sea wall around the picnic area and leading up to the sheet piles.
Undertake necessary assessment and work to clear areas in and around Shotley to ensure the community can continue to use them following bad weather.
Community rehabilitation partnership
Much of the work we do involves using the additional services of the Norfolk and Suffolk Community Rehabilitation Company. We have developed an excellent working relationship with this group allowing us to achieve significant improvements for our village.
Looking after the Rights of Way Network in the Parish.
Following consultation with the Suffolk County Council Rights of Way team, Shotley Open Spaces is now an acredited installer of way marker posts and sign posts.We are working together with the RoW team to ensure our footpaths are kept in good condition whilst keeping costs down.We regularly carry out maintenance work and use our facebook page “Shotley Open Spaces”to call out volunteers and to keep people informed of the work we do.
We often work on the public footpath at Mole end Corner which is well used by families on their way to school and to the shops. This photograph shows work underway prior to the school term.
Marsh Lane footpath improvements
In 2015 major improvements were made by Suffolk County Council’s Rights of Way Team to this footpath down to Shotley Marina. This was a result of our efforts to work in partnership with our local Parish Council to secure additional funding from the Suffolk Foundation.
As a result, it is now much more accessible to a wider range of people and we have seen a significant increase in its use.
Marsh Lane before the work
Marsh Lane after the work
During the month of August 2017 another group of volunteers spent time cutting back brambles that had spilled out of the fence from the HMS Ganges site.
Community Orchard gets a makeover
Following an appeal for help, a group of nine volunteers spent a couple of hours cutting and raking in the Orchard in Shotley Heritage Park on 23rd March. All twenty trees in the orchard planted a couple of years ago by the Scouts, Cubs and Beavers have taken well and are beginning to bud at the start of their third year in the ground.
The trees need to be looked after and the group was then shown how to correctly prune them using the correct tools. The orchard comprises five each of Hazelnut, Myrobalan Plum (cherry plum), Damson ‘Merryweather’ and Prunus Avium (wild cherry).
The group intends to expand the orchard into an adjacent area with varieties of apple and pear and will be seeking funding support from various sources to help purchase the trees.
The orchard is located adjacent to the woodland footpath just above the Quarterdeck.
Activity on Marsh Lane
On Thursday, 30 March 2017 a working party from SOS spent a couple of hours working to clear the path on the Marsh Lane footpath down to the Marina. Please see below for photographs of the work being done.