Friends of the Railway Path

Promoting and developing the Coate to Marlborough Railway Path

2014 Events

Workday in Poulton Farm area - 19th July 2014

This time (as we often are) we were lucky with the weather. Thunder and heavy rain were forecast but held off.

We started on the bridge over Poulton Down Lane, where we spent a couple of hours removing ivy from some of the very overgrown trees (to make them less likely to fall); tidying the verges; and clearing round some of the tree stumps still growing on the bridge embankment, and inserting stump killer plugs in a hazel and a field maple. There’s more to do here, so we will be back on a future occasion. I will watch to see what happens to those two trees, and I hope we can deal with the others there.

overhanging Hazel tree

The hazel (the bush at right centre) …

plugged tree

… with the plugs round its base

overhanging Hazel tree

We then moved down to Marlborough, where we removed a small (ish) hazel tree which had become quite smothered with ivy and was falling down over the path. This was harder than I had expected, and took the four of us over an hour.

Before we started, you had been faced with this.

overhanging Hazel tree

We cleared up and to finish off, we cut a way through the nettles and brambles at intervals along the side of the path to allow access to surveyors, who will come and conduct a topographical survey to allow Sustrans to design better drainage at this point (which is badly needed).


overhanging Hazel tree

… gone! And with a black bag of rubbish as well.

During the day, we talked to a group of six cyclists with lots of panniers each. They were Dutch, had started riding in Harwich and were on their way to Downton, near Salisbury. We also talked to a Marlborough resident, who may come and help on future work days.

AGM at Three Trees Cafe/Farm Shop at Chiseldon - 17th July 2014

The agenda was as follows...

Tree Planting - Spring 2014

We applied for a tree planting pack from the Woodland Trust, who gave us 420 trees of their wild harvest selection: Hazel, Blackthorn, Crab Apple, Cherry Plum, Elder and Dog Rose. A team from Twigs (a mental health charity in Swindon) have planted them in two locations to fill gaps in and extend existing hedges, and will look after them as they get established to make sure they don’t get overgrown. We hope that when they have grown up (in a few years) we will be able to lay the hedge. We also hope to get some more plants to fill out and further extend the hedge at Chiseldon Firs.

Between Coate Water and the motorway ...

Before ...

Between Coate Water and the motorway - before

... and after

Between Coate Water and the motorway - after

At Chiseldon Firs ...

Before ...

At Chiseldon Firs - before

... and after

At Chiseldon Firs - after

Scrub Clearance - Spring 2014

We also received a grant from Link 2 Nature, which allowed us to commission some work from LEAVES (a social enterprise, which has recently received a Big Society award). We asked them to clear scrub away from a patch of chalk grassland on the side of the cutting just north of Whitefield Farm which is potentially of high quality but has been getting overgrown by brambles and hawthorn, and invaded by lanker grass varieties. LEAVES did a great job, clearing both the bank on the eastern side, and the former bridleway on the western side.

The eastern side of the cutting at Whitefield Farm ...

Before ...

Near Whitefield Farm - before

... and after

Near Whitefield Farm - after

And the bridleway on the top of the embankment ...

Before ...

bridleway - before

... and after

bridleway - after

Surface Improvements - Spring 2014

Lastly, Sustrans have been able to make some repairs to the path surface in a couple of locations which have got particularly difficult. We know there is more to do, and we are hoping that Sustrans may be able to do some more work over the next few months. We will also apply for a Landfill Community grant, although this won’t be until the new financial year, when their budgets will be topped up again. In the meantime, there is now a better surface in the cutting at Whitefield Farm, and the small lake near Ogbourne Maizey has been filled.

Path surface at Whitefield Farm ...

Before ...

Path surface at Whitefield Farm - before

... and after

Path surface at Whitefield Farm - after

And at Ogbourne Maizey ...

Improved surface at Ogbourne Maizey

Hedge Laying Workday - 22nd February 2014

In what felt like lovely Spring weather, a team of 6 of us laid another 30m of the hedge along by the motorway.

I was pleased to have stakes and binders from the Woodland Trust – a big thank you to them.

The pictures below tell the story. We are now coming to the end of the hedging season (i.e. while the plants are dormant) but will be doing more next season.

Best wishes


Coppiced hazels in Warneage Wood

One of the coppiced hazel trees in Warneage Wood (which provided the stakes and binders)

Bundles of binders from source

Bundles of binders ready to leave Warneage Wood

Materials all ready

Stakes and binders on site

Work in progress

Hard at work around the middle of the day

Stand back and admire the work

Admiring the view as we were finishing and tidying up.