On January 7th, Dick Macaulay, the long-time leader of the U3A Environmental Action Group, was the speaker at the first Members morning of the 2019. He gave us a history of the newly cleared Woodland Trail known as Sandbach Bridges Trail (North) and (South). The woodland is part of Sandbach Wildlife Corridor that follows the course of Arclid Brook through to the River Wheelock.
Dick described how this inconspicuous strip of woodland had been neglected and misused as a rubbish tip for many years. It includes several smaller woods with names that may be unknown except to locals, Coronation Wood, Brook Wood, St Mary’s Wood, Dingle Wood and Filter Bed Wood.
In 2009 the Sandbach Woodland and Wildlife Group and U3A Environmental Action Group were set up to do something practical towards improving this unloved area. These groups with others, including local residents, were motivated to start clearing the worst of the rubbish and felling damaged and dangerous trees in order to make the beginnings of a useable pathway. Making the paths safe and relatively dry required masses of wood chips, gravel, wooden railings and wooden edging plus of course some considerable manual effort. Dick acknowledged the hard work put in by the Care4CE team under the guidance of Phil Mason. Phil spent a few minutes explaining the work Care4CE do in helping people, with a variety of backgrounds, develop useful skills to help them get back into work. The labour force were all volunteers but the materials were provided by various sponsors and with grants from local sources.
Dick had a variety of slides which illustrated just how overgrown the area had become and just what an improvement 10 years of hard work and imaginative vision can do.
Two attractive, illustrated and informative Trail guides produced by George Hill of the Sandbach Woodland and Wildlife Group can be found and downloaded for free at: http://swwgblog.blogspot.com
An outline of the total trail is illustrated below, thanks to Roger Foden and Google maps.