This year however, we look forward to having the Mickleover Greenway in good condition for the oncoming Spring and Summer.
This is mainly due to the fact that the Community Payback Teams have been working hard to remove the overgrown grass verges, restoring the path to it's original width.
This work is now almost complete over the whole 5.25 miles of the path between Mickleover Station and Egginton Junction Bridge, only the centre and most inaccessible section between Bannel's Gate and Bearwardcote Gate currently requiring further work.
Also in view of the Great Northern Run which takes place on Sunday 6th March, we are in the process of clearing grass from between the three farm crossings. Bonehill Gate is complete, although the broken gate post needs attention, and Bannel's Gate is shown below.
Berawardcote Gate is a bigger problem as the crossing farm track is concrete, presenting a more serious trip hazard to runners when the five barred gate is open, as it is for the race. Some added filling will be necessary here.
A further job for the Payback Team is to cut down bushes which have grown up opposite the Inger Memorial Seat near Heage Lane Bridge.
The seat was originally positioned so that people sitting on it had a nice view across the fields to Etwall, but over the years the view has been increasingly obscured by these bushes. We would like it back.
Note that the surrounding fields remain flooded and perhaps more suitable for a crop of rice rather than the Spring Barley or whatever is springing up from the sodden ground. Fortunately the path is on an embankment here so well clear of the water.
Whilst the Payback Team have been busy attending to the path. Nick and I caught up with a couple of more technical jobs, one being to put yet another new Union Jack on the flagpole at Mickleover Station.
The previous flag lasted only a few months due to poor quality material and gale force winds.
And we carried out a little horticultural surgery on the Christmas Tree which stands close by the Veteran Oak, and so well decorated by the public over Christmas.
The problem here was that the tree had lost it's vertical top leader and would not have grown on in the true Chistmas Tree shape. We have tied one of the upper side branches to a cane which will encourage it to grow skywards in future.
And here's the new leader.
Something more and the subject of great joy to see today February 1st (!) was both daffodils and nearby cherry blossom close by the A516 underpass at Etwall.
Maybe heat from the passing traffic on the embankment above provides a local micro climate. How lovely it was to see them as a portent for the oncoming Spring, when there will be leaves on the trees, and the verges will be full of wild flowers, but don't get your shorts out yet a while.