WORCESTERSHIRE County Council's gritting teams have signed off for another season after clocking up around 49,500 miles – less than the last few winters but still the equivalent of travelling from Redditch, Bromsgrove and Droitwich to the South Pole five times.

The crews parked their vehicles for the final time recently, as happens each year, after being on stand-by ready to roll out since October.

Mother Nature was a little kinder to Worcestershire this year but temperatures still regularly dipped below freezing over the winter months and teams experienced their busiest time ever when snow hit the county on the weekend of February 4/5.

To ensure the county was ready for whatever the elements had to offer, 15,000 tonnes of salt was held in stock, the most the authority has had at the start of the season. Around 6,000 tonnes of that was used and what's left at highways depots can be saved and used during the 2012/13 season.

Weather conditions are constantly monitored to ensure all designated routes, which take in around 800 miles of road around the county during one run, are treated by 31 vehicles when necessary.

The work of the authority's winter maintenance teams doesn't stop when the weather picks up. Preparations have already kicked off to put everything in place for the next winter.

For more information about the county's gritting operations, see worcestershire.gov.uk/gritting.