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

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.

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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.

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Friday 28th Aug: Baildon Moor, Baildon

Friday 28th August: Racking cut bracken in very strong windRacking cut bracken in very strong wind Today was our last trip of the season and we concentrated our efforts on ensuring we removed regrowing bracken from previously cut areas and raking the bracken litter. It is noticeable the amount that we have managed to cut over the past five years and the range of plant species that are recolonising the area. We are going to take advise over the winter on how best to proceed with the project. Although it was August we were exposed to some severe weather and had to result to the Lifeboat matches to get the kettle alight!

Today there were 6 volunteers.

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Friday 27th August: Baildon Moor, Baildon

Our third and final visit of the year to the moor. The group split into two work groups: one group cut over the areas that had been previously cut and another concentrated on cutting bracken in an area where Heather is established. This required carefully cutting away from the heather patches, we hope to link up these areas of Heather.  By the end of the day a lot of bracken had been cut which gives the other plants a chance of reestablishing.

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Today we worked with 12 volunteers 





Friday 20th July 2012, Baildon Moor

It was good to see so many swifts flying over the moor today. However there were not nearly enough to have an impact on the midge population - we have never seen (or felt) anything quite like it. A damp, still, muggy day was obviously ideal for them, and they made the most of our presence, with people leaving the moor at the end of the day ranging from mildly irritated, covered in red spots, to swollen faces looking like we'd done a few rounds in the boxing ring. What we are prepared to put up with in order to encourage biodiversity!

A survey of 'our' patch of the moor earlier in the week showed that there are quite a few meadow pipits and sky larks around. Because of the poor weather this summer, and potentially delayed fledging, we decided to be cautious regarding the areas of bracken to work in. We concentrated where the bracken is less dense, revisiting areas that are well under control and just extending the patch in one top section.

We continued to be encouraged by the emergence of heather and bilberry, as well as the bedstraw and sheep's sorrel, amongst the grass where the bracken has been cleared.

Today we worked with 13 volunteers

Friday 26th July 2013 Baildon Moor, Top Car Park, Bingley Road, Baildon, BD16

We returned to the moor side for the first time this year and to continue the control of bracken and restoration of the moor vegetation. This was carried out using our hand tools of scythes and sickles and then raking off the cut bracken.  The group concentrated on the areas that we have cut previously and along the pathways. The work is appearing to have a positive effect on the vegetation and we will return again next month.

The weather was good for this visit and there was not the plague of midges that we encountered for the first visit last year.

Today we worked with 10 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.