The Friends of Greencroft Valley is an environmental group I set up in my home town of Penwortham in Lancashire, in January 2012 with the following aims:
- Keeping the valley tidy and free from litter
- Preserving and enhancing the natural habitat
- Monitoring and promoting wildlife
- Helping to build a sense of community amongst residents
The inspiration to start the group came from Phil and Lynda Ryder who ran a talk on Druidry for the UCLAN Pagan Society. I’d been pagan for a couple of years, but had a tendency to seek the divine outside my local area on the Anglezarke moors or walking the Ribble upriver, so I was struck by what they said about all of nature being unconditionally sacred, and the divine existing on our doorsteps. The talk made me open my eyes to my immediate surroundings and the beautiful valley around the corner where I used to play as a child.
However before seeing the beauty, I noticed the litter problem. Appalled, both by the severity of the litter and the fact I hadn’t noticed it before, I got some black bags, filling six before complaining to the council. Paul Crighton, the Parks Manager for South Ribble Borough Council suggested I set up the group, helped me get it established and sends a ranger with equipment to provide help with the various activities.
Since the group began we have cleared the area of litter, set up bird boxes and planted a wildflower meadow, as well as performing general maintenance activities such as painting the bridges. The last event we ran was a Wild Medicine Walk, where with money I raised by selling a poetry booklet called ‘The Valley’ (produced by myself and printed by the council) we had Edwina Hodkinson, a medical herbalist come to talk to the local residents about local wild plants and their medicinal properties.
This January the council have provided a sign to display a map of the park and poster of upcoming events, the first of which is Woodland Management this morning. Last weekend fellow member Peter Dillon and I put up posters and leafleted 200 houses, although with the snow I’m not expecting a massive turnout. My long term hope is that setting up this group will lead to the area being seen as a place of value and treated with the care and respect it deserves.
More information about the group and meeting dates can be found here: http://www.srtt.co.uk/special-interest-groups/natural-environment/greencroft-valley/
The Facebook can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/440657065999278/?bookmark_t=group