Towards the end of 1984, Pete Walton gathered together a group of enthusiastic people, tools and transport and organised a programme of tasks. The first workday was on 1 January 1985, planting gorse bushes on the newly acquired saltmarsh of RSPB's Leighton Moss. A very cold day, and the ground frozen, the surface had to be scraped before the bushes could be planted in the soft soil underneath.
In the early years Pete had a small van to carry all the tools and volunteers used their cars to give lifts to other fortnightly work sites. They worked regularly: coppicing at Gait Barrows in winter; working on projects for schools with Landlife which at that time had an organisation in Lancaster; working for the AONB officers in the Forest of Bowland and Arnside/Silverdale doing coppicing, walling, tree and hedge planting; and even doing occasional work at such sites as Cranwell Avenue in Bowerham, and St John's Primary School in Galgate. There was a membership of between 15 and 20 in those first 5 or 6 years, although turn-outs were usually 7 or 8. They also had close links with BTCV in Preston and their Field Officer, Dave McGrath, which was a great help to them. Pete says, "I remember that things became much more organised when Liz and David became involved and it is incredible how much valuable work has been done since that time".
Later the group joined with the Arnside and Silverdale AONB for the use of their minibus and pick-ups in Morecambe were from the Central Pier. Eventually we had our own D reg minibus which was later replaced by our J reg Land Rover. We changed vehicles at the Torver garage in 1995 and we now have a new one for 2019!
The photo in black and white (courtesy of the Morecambe Visitor) shows Mayor Jean Yates in the driving seat at Torrisholme School. Founders of the group, Dave and Pete are on the bonnet, with Laurie also in the picture. The next picture shows the Landrover nearly 15 years later. It had done a sterling job by April 2019, carefully looked after by the Alexanders but our stalwart Land Rover Defender was proving very costly to keep running. We have now moved to a Land Rover Discovery, which is rather more comfortable but still with lots of space. It has our logo and contact details on the side so look out for us on our regular worksites.
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