Baildon Moor

Cutting Bracken - August 2008
Cutting Bracken - Aug 2008

We have concentrated on an area that had underlying moorland plants - heathers, sheep sorrel, heath bedstraw, bilberry and crowberry.

The control measures have involved cutting the bracken three times a year.

The results have been very encouraging and we continue to expand the areas we are managing.

Geolocation

53.862119, -1.784162

Conservation Work

Baildon Moor - Bracken cutting

park on the top car park

Our domain!: when we started working on the moor this hillside was covered in brackenAn area of moorland we've improvedA lovely day for our last visit to cut bracken this summer.

Undoubtedly we have not covered the same amount of ground now we no longer have an auto-scythe, but we have still made a good impression, adding to many of the existing piles of composting bracken. We use a mixture of scythes, slashers and sickles, with some of the sparser areas being pulled by hand.  I walked down to where we had started off in 2002 – we have cut an impressive patch, creating space for heather, bilberry and crowberry.

I didn’t achieve my ambition of glancing upon a short-eared owl silently quartering the hillside (it’s been years since I have seen one), but we disturb quite a few red grouse and could see buzzards over Rombalds Moor.

Baildon Moor - Bracken cutting

park on the top car park

Proper Baildon Moor weatherProper Baildon Moor weatherA rainy day today, but still successful progress in cutting areas of bracken and raking the arisings into the piles. 

I filled a couple of carrier bags of semi-composted bracken to mulch the blueberries that I bought at Apple Day last year. One day it would be nice to make more of the bracken we have harvested but the logistics and effort wouldn’t be insignificant.

 
 

Baildon Moor - Bracken cutting

park at top car park

27th July 201827th July 2018This was our first of three visits to Baildon Moor to return to the area we have been bracken cutting for many years. We were going areas that had been cut previously; cutting with scythes and sickles and then raking the cuttings into piles.  The aim is to reduce the dominance of the bracken which covers vast tracts of the moor, and give the opportunity for heather, bilberry and crowberry to flower and fruit. 

Baildon Moor, bracken control

Another hand-powered effort at controlling areas of bracken growth. We worked along the lower slopes, using the scythes and slashers in the denser stands and sickles were the bracken is sparser amongst the other moorland vegetation. The piles of fronds mark our progress across the hillside and it was good to see where we worked last month that there was only a little regrowth. 

It’s hard work, so it was good to be distracted at times by frogs, a toad, red admiral butterflies and swifts. No sign of the grouse; they have taken cover. 

 

Baildon Moor, bracken control

21 July 2017: Knot Grass Moth caterpillarKnot Grass Moth caterpillarA day of weather today, wet most of the morning but getting better in the afternoon.

We were restricted to hand tools today, but despite the lack of an auto-scythe we made a significant impact on the larger stands of dense bracken. The heaps of cutting marked our progress. 

Our day was brightened by an Elephant Hawkmoth and an attractive caterpillar Knot Grass Moth caterpillar. We had a walk to look at the area we originally worked in and are still pleased with the success in reducing the bracken and allowing the colonisation of heather, bilberry and crowberry. The trees are a notable part of the hillside and we are thinking that it might be a good for the heather to reduce the number slightly. 

 

Baildon Moor – Bracken Cutting

This was our final visit to Baildon Moor for this year. We cleared a great deal of bracken; cutting, raking and piling it up to expose the ground for the bedstraw and grasses which are the first to colonise. Most of the areas we worked in had been cut previously so there was already a covering of vegetation. We were creating conditions for the heather, bilberry and crowberry to grow. 

It would be nice to spend more time there as progress is good but we are aware there are areas that we cut last year that didn’t get attention this year. This is still a task we very much enjoy and aim to be back in 2017. We are still pondering the role of the trees in the areas we have cleared. 

Pictures from toady can be seen in the gallery.
 

Baildon Moor – Bracken Cutting

we park on top of Baildon Moor

A blustery but dry day on the moor. The Glorious 12th spent as it should be - helping manage the moor to enable a range of plants and animals to thrive. 

 

We had the auto-scythe in action for the morning (until the bolts holding the cutting bar to the motor sheared off…! Luckily it’s now gone for some tlc with the Countryside Service) and cut a good swathe of the denser bracken. There was a lot of raking and pile forming to be done. We used hand tools for further cutting, and will return in three weeks for our final visit. 

Moor photos here

Baildon Moor

Today was our first visit of 2016 to cut the bracken in order to help a diversity of moorland flora thrive. The weather wasn’t great – we got pretty wet. We focused our attentions on the steeper slopes and some of the less dense patches using scythes and sickles. 

Some images are in the gallery 

Baildon Moor

we park at the top car park on the Eldwick road

This was, sadly, our last visit for this year.  We had an excellent session clearing a large area of bracken (using well known size comparison jargon, perhaps not quite the size of Wales, but at least the size of several football pitches for their currently highly ranked national team…). 

The auto-scythe was used ably by Ali and Glenford to cut the areas that are still dense with bracken fronds. It was quite a task to keep up with the machine to rake away the cuttings. The hand tools, scythes, slashers and sickles, are more sensitive in areas that have a greater abundance of heather and bilberry regenerating. 

There were a few skylarks around but today we did not catch sight of the Red Kites. However we were able to watch planes taxiing at the airport, a sign that the expected rain held off and we had a lovely afternoon. 

The most disappointing element of this year’s work has been the lack of an ice cream van on any occasion! We hope normal service will return next year.

 

Baildon Moor

meet at the top car park on the Eldwick road

We had another productive day on the moor clearing areas of bracken. We were using both hand tools, scythes and sickles, and the autoscythe in a denser area. Thanks to Ali’s keen eye spotting a loose were we able to cut a large swathe, the challenge being to rake and clear the arisings. 

We have one more visit this year on 4th September.