New Year, New Faces

Welcome to Audrey Harmer, our new consultant responsible both for supporting the Project Management Team with the administration of the Project as well as with the Public Engagement work we have planned. With a wealth of experience as a senior civil servant in the world of social care and training, she is already putting in place an ambitious and exciting programme. Audrey knows the Solar System Greenway well as she runs the Tuck Trike Hut café by Naburn Station, and we hope to make the Hut a focal point for many of our activities.

And welcome also to Philip Taylor, our new consultant Ecologist. He too knows the path well as he also works at Brunswick Organic Nursery and freelances at St Nicks Environmental Resource Centre as well as many of the key national ecology bodies. His skills range from lectures and documentary production to pond dipping and bat walks. Phil joined us on a Woodland Management day organised by Sustrans Greener Greenways regional staff and we see this as the start to a productive partnership.

The Schools Programme

Both Audrey and Philip joined Peter at the latest meeting with Amy and Zita at Archbishop of York’s Junior School in Bishopthorpe. Ideas flowed like the River Ouse in flood and it looks like an exciting programme ahead. We will all be meeting Mark from Riccall and Laura from Naburn early in the New Year and the programme kicks off with all 110 children descending on the National Railway Museum later while Riccall , with its mining history, will also go down the mine at the National Coal Museum for England later the following month. In the summer we intend to go to the Astrocampus at the University of York.

Apart from these out-of-school visits, we will arrange for classroom visits from retired miners, railway workers, cycle path builders and naturalists, and artwork from the schools will be exhibited along the path. Philip will also be working with local groups to encourage out-of-school and holiday activities.

Audrey has prepared a young person’s work-book and will be trialling it on the path over the Christmas period.

Oral History

The children will learn oral history recording techniques and interview their classroom visitors and perhaps relatives and neighbours with memories to share. Adults will be trained to  follow up some of these with professional audio and video equipment. Peter is already compiling a list of potential interviewees through visits to local history groups, parish councils and specialist societies such as the Old Selebrians and  the York Railway Appreciation Society – or just through chatting with people when we are out in the path. Interviews will start in the new year.

Over the Christmas break we will have posters up along the path asking people to come forward with their stories. It will also help raise awareness of the project amongst all those out exercising the bikes, scooters and dogs they got (but not just!) for Christmas


York Explore hosted a training event with Laura Yeoman giving an introduction to good archiving practice and how to use the York Explores archive. Linda Haywood from  Bishopthorpe Community Archive shared the perspective of a local history group and Jane and Richard from Maraid, our web designers, gave us some tips on how to make best use of the website and took away some ideas for further development.

We also spent the day at the National Coal Mining Museum for England with their Curator for Social and Oral History and their Librarian, learning how to find our way around their archive – not to mention the copyright minefield.

Cycling without Age

We are working with Bike Belles on this project which aims to purchase a rickshaw type bicycle that volunteers can use to take out on the greenways those who are no longer able to cycle independently. The Solar System Greenway is an ideal route for this and Audrey is liaising with residential homes along the route to gauge demand, and to see other ways we can engage their residents in the project.

Volunteer Activity

Regular path maintenance activity continues with our ‘first Saturday of the month’ session focusing on clearing back sapling encroaching on the path. We have been helped by two Duke of Edinburgh award seekers wielding saws and creating enormous wildlife habitats with the cuttings. The next session is Saturday 6th January, meeting at Naburn Station for a warm drink before setting off south in search  of saplings.

Good Gym have been very active over the break, touching up the paintwork on bridges and also making bat boxes, which will soon go up in the trees.


Our New Year’s resolution is now to raise the profile of the project and to get more volunteers signed up. Posters are beginning to be pinned up and we will be purchasing display materials such as pop-up displays, flyers and vinyl banners. Keep your eyes peeled.