"Installation of new boardwalks and bridges sounds like a relatively simple task doesn’t it? However, living and working in Scilly means even the simplest of tasks take months of preparation, always having a back-up plan and a back-up, back-up plan and regardless of how many plans you have they are inevitably scuppered by weather conditions or transport difficulties. It’s never just a simple case of popping down to the local builders merchants to collect that one thing that’s been forgotten or broken; everything has to be shipped into the Islands on the cargo ship and the logistics of this can be quite overwhelming, especially for companies outside of the Islands who often just don’t get the intricacies and foibles of Island life.
"Given this, the installation of the new recycled plastic boardwalk at Lower & Higher Moors in April 2015 and again in May 2016 went off pretty much without a hitch; or as hitch free as can be expected on an Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! This was achieved by the perseverance, hard work and dedication of Darren Mason (Head Ranger, IOSWT) and Phil Went (Filcris) who stepped up to the challenge; working together to ensure that all the materials were ordered, supplied and delivered to the cargo ship and arrived on the Islands as expected.
"We can’t thank Filcris enough for their understanding when it came to our very specific transport and delivery requirements – we know it can be quite off-putting! The boardwalks have been in place, in some areas, for a couple of years now and the feedback we have received from residents and visitors alike has been fantastic. The recycled plastic has replaced the old wooden boardwalks, which were adorned with chicken wire to prevent users from slipping, and have made accessing our nature sites not only safer but also more aesthetically pleasing.
"One resident commented “I knew the recycled plastic boardwalk had been installed but I wasn’t sure where. As I was walking over it I suddenly realised that this was what people had been talking about. It looks amazing: really natural. I even got down on my hands and knees to take a closer look and feel it. I still can’t believe it’s plastic!”
"The recycled plastic boards are flexible and high impact resistant which has been more than put to the test by Red Class (our pre-school class); we had seventeen 3-5 year olds jumping up and down on them at one point with one commenting “I like this it’s bouncy!”; they were all very impressed when we told them that the boards were made from recycled plastic too! The boardwalks will not rot or degrade in water and they are also unaffected by salt and salt water, which is imperative in Scilly. We are, being Islands, surrounded by sea and the air is always salty; additionally the areas where the boardwalks have been installed are affected by tides and water can be brackish.
"So, for us this is no brainer and we hope the boardwalks will be enjoyed by generations to come; continuing to make access to Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust managed nature sites not only possible but safe and more environmentally friendly."
We are currently working on a new order for Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust which means that Red Class will have more boardwalks to enjoy. We hope that one day soon we'll be able to come down and pay the Islands a visit they look beautiful. You can find out more about their work on their website here: http://www.ios-wildlifetrust.org.uk/