Monday, 31 October 2011

Vandalism and Theft in the Don Gorge

Like most places these days, the Don Gorge is not without episodes of vandalism, but not only vandalism as theft has recently become part of the scene.  In the past, the bird hides have suffered from arson and even when new ones were built, they continued to suffer damage with the seating and shelving being destroyed and graffiti covering the walls.

A couple of years ago, the limestone meadow within the Sprotborough Plantation was fenced by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to enable sheep to graze, thereby encouraging wild flowers to grow more profusely and kissing gates were installed to allow continued public access to this area.  However, a few months ago, several sheep were found wandering in the woodland and the kissing gates were then found to be missing.  Five-bar gates have since been stolen, along with water tanks provided for the sheep. 

This is not the result of children being mischievious, as the gates are far too heavy and would need strong men to move and carry them to a vehicle.  Perhaps they have been stolen to order.  Whatever the reason, it is hard to understand the mentality of anyone who can purposely steal from the community.

If anyone has any information which might lead to the conviction of those responsible, we would be very pleased to receive it.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Lower Sprotborough Recognised at Last

It might not seem much to you, and I must admit it's not what I thought we were getting, but I suppose we have to be grateful that for the first time ever a sign has been erected to show where the residents of  Lower Sprotborough (sorry Sprotbrough) actually live. 

After years of delivering services on a regular basis, the postman, the dustman and the recyclers have no trouble finding us, but to order something on the internet and ask for it to be delivered was to find that it had been returned to depot saying they couldn't find us.  Now they have no excuse - unless someone parks their car in front of it, of course. 

I had hoped for something a little grander, more in keeping with an area of outstanding natural beauty, but apparently that's not possible as the sign would have been too big.  And, as it's a private road, we weren't really entitled to one anyway!

So, a big thank you to DMBC for providing a sign which should, in theory anyway, solve all our delivery problems.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Car Parking in the Gorge

One of the major problems of the Don Gorge relates to car parking.  On weekends, it can reach epic proportions, which are even worse when a nice weekend coincides with a fishing match.  We love having visitors and would like to welcome everyone to this beautiful area, but sometimes it's just not possible.  The present car park is very small and can be full from 8 am to 5 pm, leaving the casual visitor with nowhere to park.  The result is that some owners park their vehicles in an unsafe manner without consideration for walkers or the environment. 

Over the past few weeks, there have been occasions when things have got totally out of hand as the following photos show:

Can it be considered safe when the icecream van has to park half way across the road just before the blind bend or when pedestrians have to walk down the middle of the road because cars are parked on the pavement just round the same blind bend. 

Is it right that the verge of the woodland on Nursery Lane should be cut down so that cars can jump the kerb to park on it? 

It is fair to cyclists, pushchair and wheelchairs users that cars should block the entry way near the landing stage so that they are unable to reach the Trans-Pennine Way and the bird hides? 

The Don Gorge Community Group and the Don Gorge Strategic Partnership are currently investigating other, more appropriate areas for parking.  It may mean a little further to walk, but isn't that what people come to do on an afternoon out in the Gorge?    

We hope if we get permission to use these other sites, that people will use them and see the benefits to the environment of doing so.

In the meantime, please be considerate to the needs of other users.

The Well at Lower Sprotborough


Our Conservation Volunteers have continued to meet on a fortnightly basis doing all kinds of things to make the area more attractive, but towards the end of last year they began a new project.  On the lane leading to Sprotbrough Flash and the woodland, there was a well with a pump which was used by the residents of Lower Sprotbrough until the 1920s.  Since then, the site had become overgrown.  It had been uncovered and investigated at various times over the years, but gradually it had become covered over once more.  The volunteers decided to take it on as a project and so set about clearing it out again with the intention of sealing the well, which was beautifully lined with bricks, and building a cairn.  Unfortunately, having started, the winter’s snow and ice put a stop to it until the spring, but eventually on 19th April a time capsule was sealed inside and the topping out ceremony was performed.   The cairn was topped with a stainless steel engraving of the photograph of it featured in Peter Tuffrey’s book “Sprotborough, Cadeby, Cusworth and Levitt Hagg”.  By July, planters had been made and filled with flowers to bring the project to an end.

With the aim of honouring the volunteers’ commitment to the project and perhaps to gain a little publicity, we
 decided to enter it into the Community section of the Doncaster in Bloom competition.  The award ceremony was held on the 12th October at the Mansion House and we attended with little hope of success as the judging took place only a few days after the flowers were planted and they really needed time to develop.  However, we enjoyed seeing all the other entries displayed on the screen and thought the photo of our cairn didn’t look totally out of place amongst them, so crossed our fingers and waited.

Imagine our delight then when we heard the Don Gorge Conservation Volunteers Well Project named as the outright winner.  Ken Green, one of the volunteers who had done a great deal towards the fulfilment of the project went forward to receive a certificate, vouchers for £20, an engraved trophy and a smaller one which we will keep after the larger one has been returned. 
It’s very satisfying for the volunteers to have their work recognised in this way as they work so hard throughout the year and we congratulate them on this very special achievement.

Why not come down and have a look at it.