I’m feeling really grumpy!

It must have something to do with the constant rain which is plaguing us at the moment. The flowers, birds and insects are all trying to do their spring thing, but the rain just keeps falling and the mud keeps getting deeper. Global warming – who’d have guessed!

I think another of my “grumpy” factors is the irony that struck this last weekend. As mentioned last month it was time to sort out the car park with “stuff”. The wisdom turned out that the best “stuff” was large lumps of stone overlaid with hessian and then finer stuff laid on top. This was a lot of heavy work and there’s an element of guilt here – I couldn’t make the working party – but a small and unbelievably conscientious group did a fantastic job and while more “stuff” is needed, the end is in sight. Thanks to everyone who helped!

The irony element is why we have a car park and why we need to keep it accessible… visitors! I think regular readers will know by now my views on our mission in Stara and you will know our top 3 priorities are conservation, conservation and conservation. Somewhere down this list is visitors, but it is certainly not in the top 3.

This weekend, while the working bee were breaking their backs in the pouring rain to improve the car park, someone (thankfully I don’t know who) decided to complain on the Rilla Mill Community Facebook Page that our footbridge was closed and this was very “unfriendly”. On the positive side several kind people rushed to explain that we had notified (via our own Facebook page) that the bridge was closed because the riverside path on the west bank was waterlogged, and significant damage could only be avoided by closing the path. But I am frustrated and appalled that some feel so entitled that it is OK to complain very publicly and rudely before firstly establishing the facts and then possibly considering the really important stuff versus their inconvenience. Give me strength!

To complete the story, I should add that a few days before, a tree had fallen on the bridge and some repair (thankfully minor) is needed before we can open it again anyway. Given the state of the path, this is unlikely to be relevant, but in case you haven’t worked it out yet, there are good people out there working hard to keep Stara open and accessible for visitors. If you feel they are not doing enough there is one simple answer – join us and help rather than sitting at your keyboard and whinging,

After this rant you may not hear from me again (over to you, Mr Editor), but the next working bee will be Saturday 6th of April at 10.00 as usual when we will hopefully be able to do some of our conservation activities in some sunshine – unless more maintenance gets in the way.

Anne’s note: I strongly endorse what Piers has said. We are hugely grateful to Piers and our team of willing volunteers for the sterling work they do both in conservation and in footpath maintenance, and it is hard when so little attempt is made to establish WHY we do what we do. PLEASE look at the Facebook site, visit our website (www.starawoods.co.uk) or read the Link, and contact us directly first if you have any questions, suggestions or gripes – we will do our best to respond to them promptly.