CURRENT PROJECTS AND EVENTS
MONDAY 7 SEPTEMBER 2020
MONDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 2020 - CALENDAR NEWS PARK SERIES - FILMING DATE:
We have been fortunate in that the Don Gorge has been chosen to be represented in this series and filming will take place on 14 September. A number of parks have been chosen and, although we are not a park in the accepted sense, we have suggested that we are a 'linear park' in that we run alongside the River Don and have unique attractions on both the north and south banks. Those of us who live here know these include the Lock, the Copley Pump, the Canal, the hamlet of Lower Sprotbrough, including the Boat Inn, the Flash, the Falls and Fish Pass and the sites of the lost village of Levitt Hagg, its quarries and lime kilns. We also know there are several Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) included in this area, so it a privilege to be able to share this beauty spot with Calendar viewers.
It does, of course, require visitors to take care of the area and help us to maintain the beauty of what they come to see and we hope we will be able to make this message loud and clear to Friends of the Don Gorge as well as to strangers via this programme.
The Boat Inn has now begun its restoration following the flood, with improvements taking place in the courtyard, so we expect visitors will find a warm welcome there when it opens again following a long lockdown.
THURSDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 2020 - LITTER PICK
Unfortunately, the Keep Britain Tidy Litter Pick in April had to be cancelled due to the virus, but more low-key events have been possible in small groups. A few of our volunteers got together on a couple of days and managed to collect quite a substantial amount of rubbish and the Canal and Rivers Trust has been promoting the idea that anyone on a walk along the riverside should collect any plastic that they see. Every little helps, as they say.
The Keep Britain Tidy team has now decided to make another attempt and, although we do not feel we can take responsibility for organising people to join in, small groups or family pods are invited to join in, whilst taking personal responsibility for their own safety. Collecting points are being arranged where bags can be left and final details will be available in due course.
CORONA VIRUS/Covid 19
Like all organisations, we are having to abide by a number of restrictions to keep our members and volunteers safe. These commenced at the end of March 2020 and by now, 6 months later, most people will know that social distancing, cleanliness and sanitising are important. Our volunteers have only recently begun meeting again and are following specific rules as set out by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the Canal and Rivers Trust with whom they work.
Anyone wishing to join the group should write to the Secretary in the first instance, when certain formalities have to be concluded, such as contact details and the signing of an agreement to follow the Group's expectations.
The flooding which occurred on 6/7 November devastated the area as well as the lives of residents in the hamlet of Lower Sprotborough, including that of our Secretary and Volunteer Co-ordinator. Everyone had to move out of the cottages and, as of now, they are still living in temporary accommodation awaiting renovation. Sadly illness and a number of break-ins and thefts, along with Covid 19 added to their distress. The lockdown for nearly 4 months also caused the non-availability of materials and labour with which to commence the renovations. Things are slightly better at the moment, but are still moving very slowly.
The flooding also stopped some voluntary activity by our Conservation Volunteers, though some work clearing up was possible until the lockdown began at the end of March 2020.
Google recently informed us that we needed to change to a new format or lose the website, so we have taken their advice and done so. It is, however, all very strange at present, so it is hoped readers will forgive any oddities they might come across!
This is a continuing activity on the south side of the river near the Fish Pass, which anyone can help with at any time. Balsam is an invasive species and is easy to pull up, which needs to happen each year before it seeds. Over the past few years, we have held specific days that have made some headway in reducing it, but it requires constant attention during the growing season to continue this process.
Let's keep at it and see if we can restore this land to a beautiful meadow. Anyone wishing to join us in this would be welcome.
The project, funded by Don Catchment River Trust and Tesco Bags of Help is well under way. Most of the historic wall and steps has now been rebuilt, trees have been cleared and landscaping has commenced. The area is beginning to take shape and when complete will be a lovely place to sit. We hope picnic facilities will be available.
Unfortunately, with the floods of November 2019, access to the site was impossible for some time, but work has now commenced again and we are hopeful will be completed in the near future. Coronavirus has not helped as volunteers were unable to meet again and some are still wary of getting together meaning fewer are joining in.
CHANGE OF PLAN!
At the beginning of this year, the committee voted against continuing with this project due to the lack of the necessary finance. It remains, however, the greatest difficulty for the Don Gorge. It has been noticeable that, during the lockdown, visitors to the area have increased considerably, especially during the heatwave that was enjoyed earlier in the summer. The very small car park has been full most day, not just at weekends as was the norm. with cars parked along the roadside and, unacceptably, blocking access to properties behind the Boat Inn. The addition of a tea and coffee wagon, in addition to the ice cream van, has been welcomed by many.
SPROTBROUGH ORAL HISTORY: "FROM RURAL ESTATE TO REAL ESTATE"
This has now taken on a life of its own, separate from the Don Gorge Community Group. The group of villagers continued to meet until it became impossible to do so, but the lockdown provided a wonderful opportunity to concentrate on the writing process for the book, which is now with the printer and should be ready for launching before the end of September. It has been a very satisfying project and it is hoped that local residents will enjoy reading it. It may even be decided to continue the group when meetings become possible again.