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

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. 

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 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.

Click here for other photos of the day .

Friday 15th July 2011: Baildon Moor

looking westlooking westThis was our first visit of the year to the area of Baildon Moor where we have been controlling bracken for a decade. The impact we have had in enabling the moorland vegetation to thrive, rather than be swamped by the bracken is significant and noticeable. When we clear a patch the first plants to arrive are the heath bedstraw and sheep's sorrel, closely followed by the wavy hair grass. Heather and bilberry are now encroaching into the grassy areas giving a perfect example the plant succession on moorland. There are few small rowan and birch trees which will give perching points for birds, as well as food and shelter.

It feels wrong to complain it was too hot -we have had many a drenching on the exposed moor - however it was very warm! Good for the butterflies - the small heath were most numerous but there were also plenty of meadow brown, ringlet and large white. The crossleaved heath was in flower and going over and the ling (common heather) is just about to open. There were many bees visiting the heather and the bilberry.

We had a walk on the moor on Wednesday evening and there were quite a few birds in the longer bracken and a pair of hunting kestrels. On both days we disturbed a pair of partridges. Because of our observations we concentrated our cutting efforts today in some of the areas we have cut previously. We used scythes, sickles and slashers to cut the bracken and raked into to piles to make compost. Today we worked with 17 volunteers.

Friday 17th August 2012: Baildon Moor, Top Car Park, Bingley Road, Baildon, BD17.

It was a different experience today for the people who had braved the moorland midges last time. We had benign conditions and so were able to concentrate on the task of Bracken control. Our efforts were concentrated on tackling areas that we had already cleared and bracken started to regrow. This will give the surviving and emerging vegetation a better chance to thrive. We also took on some areas where little vegetation is apparent. The area that we have been working over the years is getting bigger and it is hard to remember where we started. We were also visited by a consultancy firm who are looking at a way the bracken that we cut may be used in the future.

Today we worked with 12 volunteers.

 Click here to see other photos of the day.