Volunteers clear flood hit Guild Wheel

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Cyclists rallied round when the iconic Guild Wheel was thrown off track by the recent floods.

Riders from around the county answered an SOS to clean up tons of debris from a section of the 21-mile greenway around Preston and get it up and running again.

Paul Stubbins, who drove down from Lancaster to help re-open the Wheel along the banks of the River Ribble at Fishwick, explained: “The Guild Wheel is such a fantastic route and, like others, I just wanted to help get it open again after the flooding.

“We were just a group of volunteers from all over who came together to clear things up. Most didn’t know each other, but that didn’t matter.

“Our love of cycling and the Guild Wheel meant we were all happy to get involved.”

An appeal went out on social media after a section along the Preston side of the Ribble near the Tickled Trout Hotel was blocked off by fallen trees and debris.

Ribble Valley Cycle Club put out the SOS via the cycling network in Lancashire and volunteers responded. Members of groups like Lancaster Women’s Cycling Club and the Dynamo Cycling Campaign turned out to lend a hand.

“I read about the state of the Guild Wheel down by the river and, even though I live in Lancaster and have only ever ridden the Guild Wheel once, I got down to Preston to see what I could do,” added Paul, who is a member of the Dynamo group in Lancaster.

“There was a great sense of camaraderie between us as we worked away with whatever tools we could bring along and there was a terrific sense of achievement.

“We spent five hours on the Saturday afternoon and then a few hours on Sunday to cut a pathway through the debris.

“The first job was to clear the area at the bottom of the steps leading down from the main road to the river bank. Then there was a 20 to 30 metre section further along which was totally blocked with trees, dead sheep, all sorts of stuff.

“Initially we cleared a temporary path around the blockage and cyclists and walkers coming through were very grateful they could get through. There was one section where the floods had washed away a stretch of banking and we put temporary steps in. I returned the following day with a chainsaw and we cut a track right through the middle of the branches so people could at least get through until the city council could clear the whole thing up.”

Carl Mason, another of the volunteers, said: “We started on Saturday morning and ended in the afternoon with one section clear and a larger section with twelve feet left to do which included a lot of large trees.”