The Ayrshire Coastal Path is managed and maintained by volunteers, we have no paid staff. The Management Board, which looks after all elements of path management, currently has 10 members. We then have a bank of around 50 Pathminders who come out if and when available to help with a variety of maintenance tasks. Last but not least, we have around 20 Path Wardens who each have responsibility for inspecting a specific section of the ACP a few times each year and reporting back any work required to be carried out. All Path Wardens automatically register on the bank of Pathminders as well, and it is up to you all whether, or how frequently you join in any of the maintenance days. More details on those below!
Availability for maintenance days: While some of our Pathminders are freely available most weeks, others have work commitments, hobbies, children/grandchildren, or other commitments on certain days, and can only manage out occasionally. If we can get 2-4 out on one call-out we’re quite happy, as this usually allows most tasks to be done. But with over 50 members, we are now able to muster 8-12 for major projects requiring a lot of manpower.
Appropriate Clothing: Wear heavy boots/wellies, heavy gloves, warm layers of old clothes, old waterproof/windproof jacket and trousers as appropriate.
Frequency: Our Pathminders try to get out on weekdays (Mon-Fri) once a week, to deal with routine maintenance work, or sort out emergency problems as the need rises. We may also concentrate for several weeks/months on a major path improvement project. From time to time we have work parties at weekends. Path Wardens are required to inspect their section at least twice a year (ideally in spring and autumn) and also after any heavy storms that might have caused damage to paths, steps or bridges.
Work Effort: We find that three hours' work is usually long enough, though we can push it to four to get something finished if necessary. Tend to have an 0830-0930 start to allow for travel time, and finish by 1230. Occasionally, with long travel-distance projects, this might be a mid-afternoon finish. Bring a drink and snack as we do stop for a break.
Type of Work:
In April, jointly with Ayr Rotary Club, we have our big Annual Beach Clean (from Girvan to Troon) during which we involve a lot of public volunteers from the local communities on a one-morning basis.
In spring and summer, we concentrate on grass strimming, and lopping of brambles and small branches, etc; plus dealing with any urgent maintenance problems like fence or gate repairs that may arise.
In late summer/early autumn, we spend a lot of time deadheading sea radish, thistles, dockens, burdock and nettles, to reduce spread of seedling plants the next year.
In late autumn/winter, we turn our attention to heavier work - lopping back overhanging branches and scrub; completing big improvement projects like bridge building, the replacement of over 90 steps, and whin chip re-surfacing the path at Fisherton Gully and repairing any storm damage to our coastal dune paths, etc.
Horses for Courses: While many of our volunteers are fit and keen to tackle any job (The Heavy Mob), we have a number who may not be physically able to do this, and enjoy the lighter tasks of lopping and cutting back seed-heads, or using a strimmer, (once trained!) in the spring and summer months (The Light Brigade). It can be a bonus to have some groups available for light work, leaving others free to get on with the heavier tasks. But don’t feel restricted in choice, since even during bigger projects, there are also light jobs, pruning, fetching and carrying, litter picking, etc, that can be done by members of The Light Brigade – which helps those doing the heavy work.
Callout Procedure: A group email is usually sent out to all registered Pathminders at the weekend with a choice of work dates (weather dependent) and detailing work plans - and take the biggest number of members available for the best weather choice of days. We don’t work in the rain if we can help it!
Whether you're registering as a Pathminder, a Path Warden or both, thanks for volunteering. It's great fun - in great company!
The Ayrshire Coastal Path (ACP) from Glenapp to Skelmorlie runs 106 miles along one of the finest panoramic coastlines in the British Isles. Crowned with a superb backdrop of the ever-changing profile of the mountains of Arran across the Firth of Clyde, this coastline is steeped in history and teeming with wildlife.