A breath of fresh air

Yesterday the Path Skillz team travelled back to Camelon to work with the Green Action Volunteer group on the second day of their course.

The group started their day with a quick recap of what they had learned last week and did well in remembering all of the survey tools they would be using at Callander Park later that morning.

Richard drainage class group
Richard explaining the variety of drainage systems that can be used when designing a path

The group were very eager to start the practical survey session, but before the trip to ‘Cally Park’ the group were first shown how to construct a path.  The group quickly grasped how important it is for the four different layers of a path to be constructed well.  The students then put this knowledge to good use constructing how a path should be built using lego bricks as part of one of our challenge activities.

The group then learned about different systems of drainage and understood the importance of maintaining these to prevent any damage to paths.  The group were aware that this would be important as the path they are upgrading has been damaged due to water not being able to be drained off the path properly and has a variety of different drains and ditches at the site.

cally park survey
The group inspecting a section of the path damaged by excess water while on survey

After a short bus ride from the class to the park the group split into two groups to survey the large section of path they will be upgrading in partnership with the Forestry Commission.  Both groups did an excellent job of identifying the issues on the path and noticing all the different drainage systems that have been installed at the park previously.  The group did highlight that many of these were in need of maintenance to  prevent any more damage to the path.


greg trundle ranging poles
Greg using the trundle wheel to measure a section of the path before the gradient was measured
owen path survey sketch
Owen discusses the different types of material found on the path and how they could be improved.

After a well deserved break for lunch the group then put together all their finding to create a detailed drawing of the path site and discuss the comments they had gathered from visitors they had interviewed to discuss further improvements to the path.

jamie leon drew path survey drawing
Jamie and his group completing their detailed drawing of the site 

The groups community survey findings suggested that the area could do with better signposting to highlight the path networks found at the site and that due to the length of the path that it may benefit from seats and benches being installed to allow people to sit, rest and enjoy the peaceful setting of the wood.  The Green Action team were very happy to hear that Paths for All could work in partnership with them to develop this as a future project and also provide them with funding.

Calum walker
Calum’s depiction of the ‘average’ user in the park
Leon walker
Leon’s depiction of the average user in the park (although it was mentioned that it did look a bit like a ninja) 🙂

After analysis of their findings the group then moved on to working on a budget for the task they will be performing.  This involved them working within a strict budget to price the tools and materials they will need to upgrade the path. Both groups of students did very well to stay within the budget limits set and did exceptionally well in identifying all the appropriate tools and materials they will need to upgrade their section of path.

Budget discussion
The Larbert boys/Eco team group put their heads together to come up with a budget plan for all the equipment they will need

The day was finished off with a short discussion on the hazards of working outdoors and why health and safety is important.  The group highlighted the potential risks they had identified when out on site and look forward to starting the path in a fortnight.

The group will be learning new skills at Falkirk College  next week as it has been arranged for them to attend a bricklaying course, which they are all very keen to attend.  The students did comment that some of the skills that they have learned on the first two days of the Path Skillz course will be very useful for their course next week.

Below is the blogs completed by the two groups this week:

‘We learned how to build a path and enjoyed getting outside for some practical survey work.

We enjoyed learning about how to use the survey equipment and about the different tools we will be using to construct the path in two weeks time.

We also talked about health and safety and why it is important when we are working

Larbert Boys – Calum, Greg, Hugh, Owen and Ewan

‘We all learned about the potential hazards on the site and all about the tools we will be using.

We enjoyed going to the woods at Cally Park and escaping the paperwork.  We really enjoyed walking through the woodland and could hear a woodpecker in the distance.

All the group enjoyed going out to a new place and getting out in the fresh air’

Green Team – Adam, Ryan, Leon, Drew and Jamie

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