Derby Sustrans Rangers
Review of 2008
Another busy year, with Rangers being involved in lots of activities, besides the everyday tasks of keeping our local off-road routes open and presentable, with clear and correct signing.
Lots of people applied to join the Group, but since we could not employ them all, we have been selective, picking only the best candidates. They have all hit the ground running and brought with them some new and very useful talents.
Clyde Hinton joined us and brought with him Route 67 (The Nutbrook Trail) running along the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border from Long Eaton to Shipley Park.
Early in 2008 Derbyshire County Council commenced preliminary work on the construction of the Great Northern Greenway from Breadsall. Work has been delayed by the planning process, but we expect the route to be opened officially during the early part of 2009.
It will be Route 66 of the National Cycle Network and will eventually run from Derby to Ilkeston.
Several possible new local routes are in prospect, but await finance and detailed planning.
We have, almost by accident, accumulated money from some of our activities and realised that we could be almost self sufficient. We have therefore opened a bank account and propose in future to use the money to fund some of our projects, donating any surplus money to Sustrans.
Profitable activities have been as follows:-
Biking Barbecue held in June.
Grants from various sources.
Over the years we have accumulated a collection of tools, and in 2008 added a petrol powered strimmer which was funded by a grant of £500 from Derbyshire County Council.
For our annual Biking Barbecue we had previously borrowed a barbecue, but have recently been given one, which we hope will mean that we can expand our options for fundraising by this means.
Some small hand tools have been replaced. (Worn out).
For some years we have been cutting back excess vegetation at Mickleover to improve the habitat for the colony of glow worms, whose population had been declining. A survey in 2008 indicates that we are having some success, and hopefully this will continue to improve since we have acquired the strimmer.
Also we have been improving views of veteran oak trees alongside Route 54 at Mickleover, by removing vegetation which blocked the view. One of these trees is 300 years old and is likely to become a major feature of the Greenway.
As in previous years, we have had a large number of cycle rides, not only on our own local routes, but travelling further afield by train to ride other sections of the National Cycle Network.
This year’s highlights have been our annual trip to London, (which this year happened to be on the wettest day of the wet Summer), and trips to Lincolnshire for the official opening of sections of the Water Rail Way, which now stretches from Lincoln to Boston.
Regular cyclists will know that cycling tends to improve one’s appetite, and we have combined our trips with opportunities to partake of the local food and drink. As a result, we have built up a list of favourite eateries which do good food at sensible prices. The list continues to grow as we get fatter, but we hope that we can burn off a few calories on the way home.
We expect to be equally active in the forthcoming year, particularly on Route 66 at Breadsall where we have in prospect one of the most picturesque routes in South Derbyshire. A team of dedicated Rangers is ready to take on the challenge, and our experience on the other local routes will stand us in good stead.
Sustrans Liaison Ranger
Derby and South Derbyshire
28th December 2008