Labour of love

Stephen Parr on the Quail Trail

Labour of Love

What was once a steep, muddy bank leading to a wasteland overgrown with gorse and invasive weed, has been transformed over the years into a tranquil nature trail that Greenwood Park residents have come to love.

Thanks to the collaborative efforts of residents, staff and volunteers over many years, the ‘Quail Trail’ (named for the quail population that inhabit part of it) now sings with birdsong as it winds its way past a native fernery, wetland and peaceful glade bursting with mature trees.

Resident and Chair of the Greenwood Park Environmental Sustainability Group, Stephen Parr, said the Quail Trail has been a long labour of love with a rich history of collaboration, starting when the first stage of the village was completed in late 1985.

“The first Village Manager at Greenwood Park, who is now a resident, played an active role encouraging residents to get involved with parts of the track, and over the years more and more residents have ‘adopted’ their own parts of the trail.

“Sections of the trail extend from gardens of houses that border the track, so a lot of the residents that live in these homes have naturally adopted these areas,” says Stephen.

An ex-forester, with a background in the restoration of native forests and a passion for sustainability, Stephen, who has been a Greenwood Park resident for around 18 months, now plays a key role in helping to improve and maintain the trail.

“When the Sustainability Group was formed late last year, it was clear that the Quail Trail would become the major focus for the next few years, so we are already involved in some long-term projects.

“A feature of the trail known as the Arboretum Glade had the first stages of a new drainage system put into place recently, and this winter we’re starting a multi-year project of enrichment planting to introduce a greater range of trees, shrubs and ground cover species.

“This will reduce the invasive weeds, increase the birdlife, and generally, make the woodland and trail more sustainable.

Residents with a range of skills have been involved in volunteering and helping with the ongoing project.

“One of our residents is an ex-carpenter, so he planned and built a propagation shade house with the assistance of a group of keen residents. We now have a working nursery where we propagate seedlings and cuttings for the future. Recently, we held a training session where we dug up 50 seedlings which we’ll nurture, before replanting them back into better positions in the woodland.

The trail also houses an impressive piece of resident artwork.

“Another of our residents is an incredible artist who specialises in working with clay. He came across a pile of logs from a fallen tree in the trail and has created a piece of art that incorporates several clay pieces in the logs.

“It’s a work in progress, but it’s a really spectacular piece as it is, and has become a major feature of the trail,” says Stephen.

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