This week’s tips give advice to new drivers from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman
STATISTICS show that the first six months of solo driving are when you are most at risk. ●● Say yes to the ‘P’ plates. These green ‘probationary’ plates show you are a new driver. Most people are a little more patient when they see them. They are not a necessity but you can leave them on for as long as you think you need them. ●● Keep calm. Remember you have passed your test and proven you are capable of driving on the road. Being a new driver means you are bound to make a few mistakes here and there, remember to remain calm and accept that mistakes happen – ●● how you deal with them can make all the difference to the outcome. ●● Drive solo. Driving with friends in the car can cause you to be distracted and make it much harder to concentrate. If you do have friends in the car make sure they understand you need to concentrate. Do a few trips on your own or limit the people you take with you for the first few journeys. ●● Put your phone on silent, out of sight and reach – making the glove box your ‘phone box’ is a good idea. Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving carries a six- point penalty – so its straight back to learner status and another test if you get caught in your first two years of driving. ●● Get some more experience. Try driving in all weathers, on all kinds of roads and at all times, and if you are still lacking in confidence or feel that you need to top up your skills then consider some additional training. You can always book an advanced driving course.
Richard said: “You have proven yourself competent to drive but please remember that is the first step. Pass Plus with your driving instructor or one of IAM RoadSmart’s new modules may help your confidence in areas you find tricky. If you are unsure of anything, have the confidence to ask – experienced drivers will always share their knowledge.” A NEW path at Dove Stone reservoir near Greenfield has proved a big hit with visitors and wildlife alike, and from this Old Waterman who used to patrol the area 20-odd years ago, as well as Longdendale of course, it is proof positive that the regional managers at North West Water should have listened to me in the first place.
It soon became obvious to me that this beautiful area, which includes the high level Chew Reservoir, could be transformed with a bit of care and forward planning.
I’m delighted to say that better late than never, United Utilities, aka North West Water in partnership, have created a gem.
Following months of hard work by RSPB site wardens and a hardy gang of local volunteers, visitors to Dove Stone can now enjoy a walk off the beaten track through a woodland setting, taking in wildlife ponds and reservoir views.
The new path has been created through one of United Utilities’ mature conifer plantations (known as Pennyworth Plantation) and allows all visitors, including those with all-terrain ●● wheelchairs, to experience a different setting to the main circular trail.
Staff and volunteers will next be planting trees such as oak, rowan and birch to create a wonderful mixed woodland of the sort that would naturally grow there.
The conifers have been thinned out to allow more light in, and dead wood, another important component of woodland management, has been left to create habitat piles for insects, small mammals and birds like robins and wrens, and leave some tree stumps standing upright for a variety of insects and birds such as woodpeckers.
In fact leaving dead wood has proved to be especially important for one tiny creature – a brand new resident at Dove Stone which has appeared directly as a result of this work.
RSPB volunteer and local naturalist Ken Gartside suggested holes were drilled into some dead conifer stumps to create artificial rot holes which hoverflies breed in.
The team at Dove Stone are very excited to report that Ken has already found the rare furry pine hoverfly for the first time ever at Dove Stone as a direct result of this work
The pine hoverfly is arguably the most endangered hoverfly in the UK.
It has always had a restricted range, but was regularly recorded in Strathspey and Deeside, in Scotland, up to the 1940s.
Since then it has dramatically declined, and in the late 1990s surveys by the Malloch Society (a specialist academic organisation that studies flies), funded by Scottish Natural Heritage, found only two remaining populations of this species, both in Strathspey.
The pine hoverfly is also declining in Europe, where it is restricted to mountainous areas. The pine hoverfly needs rotten tree stumps that are more than 40cm across to breed.
The lack of these large stumps in pinewoods – especially stumps with the necessary rot conditions – has been the cause of the decline.
As well as the new path through the plantation, staff and volunteers have also improved access at Binn Green with a new wheelchair friendly path to the viewpoint and bird feeding area.
Furry pine hoverfly