A team of 30 public-spirited volunteers turned out today to begin a massive clean up of Penarth’s treasured nature-walk – the Railway Path.
The newly created “Railway Walk Group” – is an informal organisation that anyone can join. The idea had germinated in discussions at the Penarth Tourist and Visitor Association with the support of chair Gary Soltys and vice-chair Cllr Anthony Ernest and was organised by Sarah Salter.
The group set to work in two teams at 10:30 this morning, hoping to clear as much as possible of the rubbish from the 2km path with the aid of many volunteers and friends.
The path comprises the former track-bed, sidings and platforms of the old Victorian dual railway line (which once used to link Penarth with Sully) – and is now a popular walking and cycling route which runs from Plymouth Road to Cosmeston.
The volunteers quickly discovered however, that the clean-up was going to involve a lot more than raking up a few autumn leaves and disposing of the odd dead branch.
In the hedgerows – on either side of the pathway – the volunteers discovered variety of fly-tipped items which appeared to have been deliberately dumped there – including a lot of builders’ material .
There was an aluminium stepladder, an old bath, several plastic cement-buckets, a set of glass-fibre steps for a swimming pool, various scaffolding planks, baulks of timber and scores of other, similar, detritus.
A Vale of Glamorgan Council lorry was soon so full of accumulated refuse it had break off to take away its first load and then come back for a second – with enough material being accumulated in the meantime for a third trip.
Because of the sheer volume of material to be shifted, it became clear the clean-up will need to continue into another day – but already much of the Railway Path is looking much tidier than it was.
At Sully Terrace a separate detachment of volunteers, including several familiar figures in local organisations, set-to with a will to rake up leaves galore. At least a dozen sackfuls of potential future compost were gathered-up . It was a community effort which was praised by many elderly local residents .
A former Labour Town Mayor said in 2013 that “the majority of people in Penarth couldn’t give a monkey’s” about the Railway Path.
Today’s hard work by local volunteers has – yet again – demonstrated that they do.