Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Town Trail Project

Ledbury’s Town Trail has a long history. Starting out in 1847 as part of the Hereford and Gloucester Canal, in 1873 it was acquired by Great Western Railway. By 1885 it was part of the Ledbury to Gloucester branch line and remained so until its closure in 1964. In 1997 the old railway line was upgraded to the Town Trail.

 Now classified as an ‘open space’ it has been sorely in need of some care for several years. It had long been an ambition of some of our supporters to carry out some conservation work on the Trail and maintain it as an asset for the town. With the forming of Sustainable Ledbury in July 2019 came the opportunity to plan to do something about this. A number of supporters formed a project group and by Spring 2020 had carried out a partial survey of the Trail. From this they drew up a proposed maintenance plan and went to the Town Council. The land is owned by Herefordshire Council and the next step was to request a Licence to Cultivate. This ensures that the conservation work can be carried out legally.

Progress was disrupted by the Covid pandemic but eventually, in Spring 2021, members of the project group walked the Trail with representatives of the Town Council and Herefordshire Council. This was a major step forward and gave the opportunity to define the extent and limitations of the work that our volunteers can carry out. By the autumn Sustainable Ledbury had formal agreement that we could start on the agreed work. In October 2021 we did just that.

 It will take some time to clear some of the undergrowth, check what woodlands plants have survived being smothered and start some replanting where necessary. At the same time we need to thin some of the tree saplings, leaving some to take over from trees that are aging. The aim is to both increase biodiversity, improving the habitat for wildlife, and make the Trail more of an asset for the town. Initial response from residents has been very positive.


It's very overgrown!






Waste Reduction Project

We were very pleased when Ledbury Town Council decided to set up a Climate Change Working Party. This gives an opportunity to consider action that can help and include the whole town. Where to start? The law on waste management is changing, making it a good time to consider a project on this.

Some of our supporters had been involved in the waste reduction Master Composters and Love Food Hate Waste  campaigns, run jointly by Herefordshire Council, Worcestershire Council and Garden Organic. Sadly, Herefordshire pulled out of this some years ago. It was a natural step to consult with Garden Organic to see if we could set up something on a smaller scale for Ledbury. Through the Working Party, the Council supported this and commissioned Garden Organic to train some volunteers on a range of things that can be done to reduce waste.

Sustainable Ledbury is delighted to have taken on the responsibility to manage this project. A group of our supporters have signed up for the training which will take place in early 2022. From then on they will be able to attend events to raise awareness and give advice on how to reduce our waste. This will include information on reducing food waste (and saving money!), recycling, and composting.

If you have an interest in reducing, reusing, recycling and composting, and enjoy sharing your knowledge with others, this is the volunteering opportunity for you! If you would like to know more about volunteering for this campaign, please contact Sarah Blenkinsop by email at sustainableledbury@gmail.com or, alternatively, you can send your details in a sealed envelope addressed to Sustainable Ledbury to the Ledbury Town Council office on Church Street.


Repair Cafe Ledbury

Repair Café Ledbury is a part of Sustainable Ledbury and supported by Repair Café West Midlands. Sustainable Ledbury aims to carry out, support and develop projects which will help enable Ledbury to reduce its carbon footprint and increase the efficiency of the use of its share of the world’s resources. This includes raising awareness, sharing information and helping to build community resilience to climate change.

Repair Cafés are local schemes that promote repair as an alternative to throwing things away.  In Ledbury we are holding two and a half hour Repair Café meetings, usually on the first Saturday of every month, from 10.00am to 12.30pm in The Burgage Hall.  Local residents can bring their broken household items for fixing by one of our volunteer repairers (advance booking essential). Repair Café Ledbury is run entirely by volunteers and any donations are used to develop the Repair Café and its capabilities.

Repair Cafés do not charge a fee for repairs but all donations towards the cost of running the sessions will be gratefully accepted.


Repair Cafe Ledbury has its own web site at https://repaircafeledbury.org.uk/

Plastic Free Ledbury

 

This project has two elements which aims to support both the traders and the residents of Ledbury and the surrounding villages.

We want to raise awareness of how we can all reduce the use of plastics in our daily lives and also how plastics effects both traders and residents.

We started by asking Traders if they would consider moving away from their current packaging to a more sustainable packing. Some of them already had started to make the switch, but quite often as an independent trader, buying small volumes of sustainable packaging was cost prohibitive. There was support for the creation of a “hub” where traders could draw down the packaging, they required that had been purchased in bulk, so reducing their costs. 

Our conversations identified that many traders were already using sustainable packaging, but a greater problem was disposing of their trade waste in a sustainable way. Prior to the pandemic lockdowns, Sustainable Ledbury had met with Ledbury Traders Association about seeking to use alternative recycle waste removal options. This work was suspended during lockdown and now needs to be restarted, particularly, in light of the new Waste Strategy from Herefordshire Council.

The above research highlighted that residents didn’t know what things were and weren’t recyclable and that labelling was confusion. The project team came up with the idea of holding a “Gardener’s Question Time” style event bringing together the public, traders large and small, those in the plastic business and the councils. Again, lockdown meant that this could not happen, and the team are now considering an event in the open, in the spring of 2022.

Anybody wishing to get involved in the project should email sustainableledbury@gmail.com