The project has been up and running for nearly 3 months now and great progress has been made on the development of the cycling and walking trails. We were hoping to meet with the contractors on the 3rd December at Woodgate Valley Country Park (WVCP), to finalise the work schedule to move some of the boulders but unfortunately, COVID has struck and the contractor has to self-isolate. The proposed new date is Friday 10th December @11.30am. If anyone would like to join us, from the Visitor Centre, please let me know.
We revisited WVCP this month and whilst there, detoured to a local housing estate which displays, with pride, their own boulder and then onto Broadhidley Wood to view a wonderful example of a quartz boulder.
Accessibility and inclusion are an important aspect of this project, and a compulsory outcome for any National Lottery Heritage Funding grant. When visiting sites, we consider the local environment and what impact that may have on people with any form of disability. So, for example, we will note the quality of disability parking (if any); availability of accessible public toilets; the location of benches around the site; types of pathways and their gradients for wheelchair users and indicate the most accessible route to a point of interest, if that is different from the obvious one.
The information that we collect will be included on the trail leaflets and our web page and by doing so we aim to increase the number of people engaging in the project. We know that 93% of people with disabilities will try to find accessible information before visiting a site but unfortunately 78% change their plans at the last minute because the venue they are visiting is inaccessible. By giving prospective visitors as much information as possible we hope that everyone will feel included.
A good example is the Barn Piece boulder in Quinton (above). It can be accessed from WVCP reasonably easily but would be very difficult for someone with mobility issues. It is however accessible by road, so directions will be included on the WVCP boulder trail leaflet. Access around the WVCP trail is good for everyone.
Although the quartz boulder at Broadhidley Wood is an easy add-on to a visit to WVCP, there is an issue of accessibility for those with limited mobility. The site will be cleared by local volunteers on Saturday 22nd January from 10.30 am. If anyone would like to be involved, please contact email@example.com
We were fortunate enough to be joined on our field visit by Dr Andy Jones, Digital Technologies Officer for Lapworth Museum of Geology. Again, to increase accessibility we are hoping to produce a “hands-on” 3D model of the quartz boulder so that people with sight loss or limited mobility can experience the boulder. Andy took several digital photographs which enabled him to produce a digital 3D model of the quartz.
To view Andy’s digital 3D model please follow the link: https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/broadhidley-wood-erratic-4db8b35e25cb44799f584fa72c8e702b
The long-term success of the project will depend on our ability to engage local communities in maintaining the sites after December 2022, but also to re-ignite the enthusiasm the Victorians had, and discover new boulder sites.
Volunteers, Prof. Ian Fairchild, Julie Schroder and Roland Kedge revisited the boulders around Northfield Church and the celebrated New Stone Inn, to see what work needs to be done to prepare the boulders for the start of our first walking trail that will be launched in Spring ’22. Volunteers needed no doubt!
Mr. Andy Cooke of Berkeley Close, Bromsgrove has allowed us to include a large boulder recently dug up on his property and now in his front garden, to be included in the route of our planned Clent and Bromsgrove cycling trail. The boulder has an unusual white siliceous skin. New discoveries like this have been rare over recent decades.
If you would like to volunteer for this exciting project, please email Dan Cashmore, Volunteer Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org for details of all the varied volunteering opportunities.
Julie and I met a young poet, Bradley Taylor, in Cotteridge Park whilst on a field visit, who wrote a piece especially for the project launch. Enjoy!
On the rocks
Inherited from a volcano
400 million years ago,
attached to a glacier
from the veins of Wales
and embedded in the ground
we stand on now –
the crown jewels
of the park,
with jagged edges
and parts seemingly carved
into a seat
for you to sit as the rocks do,
in their well earned
place of rest,
for you to see
as the rocks do,
out onto masterpieces of landscapes
they themselves were born from –
chipped off and placed here
to teach, to be studied, to inspire.
Val Turner, Project Manager
Thanks to National Lottery players