I'm sorry it's been so long since I wrote anything, but things have been in disarray for a while and are only just becoming a little clearer.
The Don Gorge Strategic Partnership (DGSP) has now been wound up, and the Don Gorge Community Group (DGCG) has merged with Revival, a new partnership headed up and staffed by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YWT). The representatives of the statutory agencies involved with DGSP felt this offered a better use of their time as it covers a wider area and many other bodies are involved as well.
Having had a presentation by Tom Hayek, Conservation Programme Manager for YWT, the instigator of the project, the DGCG felt there was no alternative but to join this group, even though it does not really cover all the aspects of our brief, nor is the name particularly descriptive of what it is or does.
In fact Revival covers the length of the River Don from Sheffield to the Humber and its three main themes are:
· Biodiversity improvement,
· Water Framework Directive delivery,
· Community Engagement through physical and educational access improvement.
It seems, therefore, that the main concern is for the natural environment and community access to it. The Don Gorge is already wide open for access by many different groups of people and extensively visited so, as ever, our main concern is vehicular access. We have been put into the last sub-group, but as we are not due to meet until 29 August, we do not know what is really in their minds.
With the loss of the DGSP and our Co-ordinator, Rachael Cranch, who has been moved on into other work, we are now thrown back on our own resources, whilst hoping for and expecting support by representatives of the other Revival agencies as and when required.
We have two possible sites on Nursery Lane in mind as car parks:
· a small area at the end of The Boat Inn car park and
· a much larger area opposite the Traveller site.
The latter site is owned by a group of individuals who have already been contacted and we have been given hope that they might agree to such a use providing appropriate security is maintained. A small sub-group is being set up to work towards this. If it is achieved, a walk would be created down through the woodland towards the bottom of Nursery Lane and the river.
This is a very ambitious project for us and, although we hope for a great deal of voluntary input from our Conservation Volunteers, funding will still have to be found. YWT have already expressed an interest in helping us with this and Natural England will not oppose the woodland walk.
The outcome, however, will only be a success if visitors are prepared to use it as they do at other similar sites of natural beauty around the country.
Fish Pass and Small Hydro-Electric Scheme
I'm afraid I have no news about this, but it would appear that things have not gone according to expectations and new plans are being considered. I will up-date on this as soon as I hear anything definite.
Walks from Warmsworth
We are in the process of drawing up leaflets for three walks from Warmsworth into the Don Gorge. I will let you know when they are available.
This loyal group of men and women continue to do sterling work in the Gorge and would welcome others who might like to join them. They now meet at the Lock House on the island at 10 am on alternate Tuesdays - the next one being 24 July 2012. Parking is available there. Strong shoes, lunch and wet-weather gear required (unless Summer suddenly arrives).
DANGER ON THE RIVER BANK
Beware if you visit the river at Lower Sprotborough any time soon as the bank has once again collapsed near the landing stage. More exacting construction work will no doubt have to be done to solve this long-standing problem. In the meantime, I would advise you to
keep away from the fence and take care.