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.


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Conservation Work

Baildon Moor

meeting at top car park

This was our first visit to the moor this year as we embarked on our fourteenth (!) year for bracken control. As usual with our first visit, we returned to some of the patches we have cut before. We like to concentrate on some of the sparser areas so there is no risk of disturbing nesting birds. Our next visit is on 21st August so all nests will be complete by then.

We were pleased will be able show Dave Key form Natural England and John from the golf course our approach and our achievements.

There were plenty of Ringlet and Meadow Brown butterflies and several Small Heath. We found an Oak Eggar moth caterpillar and a large frog. The grouse, oyster catchers and meadow pipits were our audio backdrop, but I don’t recall seeing or hearing swifts and swallows which is unusual.

Baildon Moor Bracken Cutting

Baildon Moor

This was our final cut of the year and we managed to cover a good area with both the auto scythe and the hand tools. We cut the larger bracken at the top of the hill, and worked down the slope to connect the patches of heather and bilberry to the open area at the bottom.

There were plenty of small heath butterflies about, as well as bumblebees, grouse and swifts.

10 volunteers

Baildon Moor

meet top car park.

Today with Cumulonimbus clouds filling the skies, we continued the summer maintenance on Baildon Moor. Using scythes, sickles and the mighty auto-scythe we began to cut back the Bracken. Similar to our last encounter we split into groups and began to work on different area on the moorland. Thankfully the group remained dry throughout the day and we managed to cut a large area of bracken. The group also saw 7 grouse and two voles during the task.


We will be returning for our final visit on the 5th September to complete this year management.


Today we had a group of 8


Click Here to view the rest of the day pictures

Click Here to view the BEES Flickr page

Baildon Moor

meeting at 'top' car park.

This was our first visit of the year to Baildon Moor to begin the fun task of cutting bracken to encourage more moorland plant species. When we set off it was a glorious day with the sun blazing, and we arrive ready and able to do battle with the bracken.

Once we hiked to the site we set off to work, making sure that each person was well away from another for safety reasons. 3 members took to scything the bracken whilst the rest used the sickles to clear the smaller patches.

After lunch a massive operation was taken to rake up the cut bracken and pile together. This also allowed us to make bracken parasols which gave some much needed shade as we carried the bracken to each pile.We will be returning later in the summer to continue the work.

Today we had a group of 8


Click Here to view the rest of the day pictures

Click here to veiw the BEES Flickr page

Friday 24th July: Baildon Moor

View down the work siteView down the work siteThis was our second work day to clear bracken on Baildon Moor this year. We concentrated our efforts on the area the we originally worked on 9 years ago - to the left hand side as you look down the hill over the work site. The photo shows the clear difference the control regime has made. There are still fronds growing where we have worked but a marked difference to the areas not managed. 

The ling was just coming into flower and there were plenty of bees drinking from the flowers. The cross-leaved heath is going over now. We heard a grouse very near by and we couldn't remember hearing one in this area before.

See more photos here, including the ling. Can you spot the bees?

Friday 6th August: Baildon Moor, Baildon

The BEES technique of widening out from mixed flora areasThe BEES technique of widening out from areas of mixed flora Our second visit of the season to cut Bracken on the moor. For today's task we concentrated on 3 techniques of control. For the areas that we have been working on for a number of years, which are showing good recolonisation progress, we mainly walked over the area and hand picked out the Bracken. Next, patches that we identified as having a good mixed flora were cut away from using hand tools in the hope that that the flora will spread out into the newly cleared areas. Finally, using the autoscythe and the hand scythes we cut areas that were dense with bracken with little or no flora beneath. The Bracken is then collected up into piles.

Today there were 15 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day 

Friday 2nd Sept: Baildon Moor, Top Car Park, Bingley Road, Baildon

Cutting BrackenCutting Bracken

A group of seventeen worked on the moor today, including 14 volunteers. This was our final visit of the year and we had a very successful day working effectively with the auto scythe and hand scythes and sickles. The cut bracken was raked and piled - as well as removing it so it does not prevent regeneration of moorland species, we hope the piles will make compost and they also act as markers of the extent of our work.

The impact that the bracken control BEES have undertaken is considerable and encouraging - the hillside now has good patches of bilberry, heather, crowberry as well as sheep's sorrel and heath bedstraw. We identified areas that we plan to work on next year and identified the need to instigate more monitoring areas. We have noticed that young heather plants are appearing amongst the grass which is to be expected as this is the natural succession of the moorland, but it would be good to monitor the speed and spread of the heather regeneration.

As well as enjoying the work we were able to enjoy the presence of bees in the heather, swallows feeding over the hillside and a covey of partridges numbering 13 or 14, disturbed from their roost in the bilberry.

Friday 7th September 2012: Baildon Moor, Top Car Park, Bingley Road, Baildon

This was our last visit to the site for the year. So we set about making sure that we had cut all the bracken that had started to regrow from the previous cuts. We also cut and raked some further areas of dense growth. We were able to use the autoscythe in several areas and then this was raked up with hay rakes and moved with pitch forks. We again created large pile of cut bracken. The area that we have been cutting is now extending to become a significant size and there are lots of things growing where there was recently only bracken. Today the wind was strong enough to keep the midges away.

7 volunteers worked with us today.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Friday 6th September 2013 Baildon Moor, Top Car Park, Bingley Road, Baildon, BD16

It was advisable to wear long sleeves today to protect against the midges but as it turned out it was necessary to wear long sleeves to protect against the weather which was cold and wet. But as usual this did not put off our group from the task in hand.  Using the cutting tools of scythes and sickles we cut back the bracken which was then raked off and piled up. As this was our third and final visit of the year we had progressed further along the hillside. We chose areas that had vegetation growing under it as a priority, and the bracken was cut back and raked off. This will give the vegetation a chance to develop which included the red fruits of the Crowberry, along with bilberry and heather. 

We will return again next year and continue with the moorland.

Click here to see other photos of the day.