project aims to keep all the railway's gardens and 'green
bits' in a presentable order . There is close collaboration with this
and the Society's 'Adopt a Station' initiative.
Since the demise in 2001 of the original landscape group formed by Jan
Woods, regular grounds maintenance at Dinas and Waunfawr and later at
Rhyd Ddu has been undertaken by just three people.
They have received the additional occasional support of ad hoc groups
of up to five people when major tasks have had to be tackled at both
Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu. This support, which has
drawn on about 12 volunteers who have been prepared to help when they
can has been invaluable on several occasions.
However as the railway extended, the workload increased
significantly and the ad hoc approach to organizing working parties
was not adequate for the challenges involved.
It is important that as a tourist railway we recognise the image of the
railway that most of our passengers take away with them relies as much
on the appearance of our stations as it does on the interior finish of
our coaches and the views from the windows. We know from
comments we have received from passengers at both Waunfawr and Rhyd Ddu
that they do appreciate the landscaping and have noticed the different
themes that we have evolved at different stations.
The decision of the Company and the Society to pursue the Adopt a
Station scheme in 2009 provided an opportunity to draw more people
into the various aspects of maintaining the appearance of the
stations. The adopting groups or individuals take responsibility for
the regular care and maintenance of the fabric of the stations
including weeding and tidying of planting beds and
flowerboxes on a regular basis. This will be
especially true at the larger stations like Dinas and Waunfawr which
have extensive areas of planting. It is anticipated
that eventually volunteers with gardening knowledge will be attracted
to the teams at individual stations to do this
work. However there are many heavier annual tasks
that need additional volunteer resources on at least three key occasions in the
year, including volunteers without much gardening experience.
Establishing the Joint Landscape Group
These issues are at the core of the decision to try re-establish a
Joint Landscape Group of volunteers which it is hoped could join
together on at least three occasions during the year in early spring,
summer and late autumn. In some years there may
need to be an additional working party for a special project that
cannot be fitted into the seasonal working parties.
Whilst it is anticipated that the Joint Landscape Group will bring
together volunteers from Adopt a Station teams it will also seek to
attract volunteers from other groups and those from across the country
who cannot make enough regular visits to North Wales to volunteer on
the trains, the permanent way or in the Works.
Lopping, pruning, heavy lifting, strimming and bramble bashing are all
things that non gardeners can do with very little guidance and anyone
who wants to help improve the ambiance of our stations would be welcome
to attend working parties of the Group.
With this approach in mind an ad hoc working party was formed to blitz
the beds and embankments at Waunfawr in October
2009. The workforce included four volunteers
involved with the adoption of Dinas and Waunfawr Stations, with
additional help for the heavy duty work from a member of the Tuesday
Gang, Pete Hugman with strimmer and John Peduzzi with his chain saw. Those present agreed that there would be a lot
to be gained by putting joint working parties on to a regular footing
with advanced publicity and activity reports in the Snowdon Ranger
This now forms the basis for a Joint Landscape Group that
is established under the umbrella of the Adopt a Station scheme,
is open to all who would like make the railway’s stations as attractive
to our passengers as those to be seen on the best preserved standard
lines. The proposed three working parties
would meet at selected locations for a trial period, starting in
February/March for a pre-season blitz to prune shrubs and clear out
debris; a summer tidy up to follow in June/July before the main
holiday period, a big autumn blitz in October/November to cut
back the summer growth, carry out tree work,
prune back shrubs and plant new stock for the next spring where
Reports and information about future working parties will be published
in the Snowdon Ranger. If you
would like to get involved with the Joint Landscape Group contact
Graham Cartland Glover on 01483 473440 for a chat.