Few Civic Pride volunteers are normal, sensible people (thank goodness). One volunteer is keen on cycling, in fact, she’s so keen she’s ridden the whole length of four of the world’s continents! On one of her travels she saw old wine casks made to look like a train. Her immediate thought was that something similar would look good on the main roundabout in Rawtenstall (that justifies the first sentence then)!
Some years ago, to brighten up the neglected Northern end of the roundabout, we cleared, planted and maintained it until uncaring contractors came with their JCBs and tore it up. Senior officials from Lancashire County Council looked, tutted, promised to return it what it had been and did nothing!
Having cleared weeds, straggly shrubs (and their roots), builders’ rubble and other detritus, the area was ready. Primroses, hostas, lamb’s ears and bellflower (campanula), along with the wild flowers; ox-eyed daisy, foxgloves and red campion were soon planted.
Two whiskey barrels (regrettably empty) were ordered from Ebay. Volunteers cut, bolted, treated and painted them until we had an engine with two carriages and wooden rails on which it would stand. Duly delivered to site, bedding plants were added to the carriages and this attention-grabbing spectacle was ready.
A further two carriages have been added and a name sign ‘Rawtenstall Sue’ honours the mastermind behind it! Winter planting will alternate with summer flowers in the carriages, bringing variety, colour and interest. The never-ending task of weed control over the rest of the area continues. A mix of herbaceous perennials, alpines and annuals will continue to provide colour, texture, structure and even encourage insects.
Already recognised as a quirky success story, it brightens the day for many a weary commuter, as evidenced by the comments of passing motorists!