Please contact the office if you are interested in volunteering and we will discuss details.
Conservation Work - Past
We worked with Aire Rivers Trust again, repairing the footpath alongside the river.
We removed a large amount of soil from the path; that has built up over time through flooding, to make the pathway more accessible in wet weather. We also did some litter picking and some removal of himalayan balsam.
As well as orchard management; grass mowing and weeding around the fruit trees. We continued with the apple store shed, using boards to make the floor; finishing the construction of the door and fitting it. We also created the living roof. Mixing soil and gravel, and raising it onto the roof as the growing substrate, we planted it up with a variety of stonecrops and will add some thyme later.
We spent the day back at base preparing the roof garden for the forthcoming growing season.
We prepared for planting tomatoes, by repairing the “mini-greenhouses”, covering the wooden frames with the plastic coverings. We also got the cloches out, repairing and cleaning them. These were used to protect, tender vegetables; tomato seedlings, courgettes and sweetcorn. We sowed some Runner beans and French beans, to be planted out later. We also created a new home for a homeless apricot tree; it is now growing against a sun trap wall, so hopefully it will do well.
We gave the meadow some care, weeding the dandelions etc ; that got a hold during the dry weather last summer, (seeding in the bare patches where the grass temporarily died down). We transplanted wildflower seedlings that had also seeded themselves well, around the meadow to give a more even distribution and potted up some Oxeye Daisies to be grown on for future use on other sites and projects.
Probably peak blossom today (regarding dates for group tasks anyway).
There are a few notable trees which appear to be having a bit of a rest; Belle de Boskoop, Winston, Howgate Wonder, Lady Henniker and Allington Pippin all have little or no blossom. The Durondeau pear has been badly affected by frost with on a few blossoms escaping unharmed.
Not much to report on the work front; a vaguely vertical (but less that satisfactory) door frame and the start of a not very satisfactory door (rather warped and not really square, but hopefully will do at least to start with).
A few more onions planted.
Sorry, no task today as it is a bank holiday
However, we will be at the orchard on Saturday 20th 10 am, please make your own way to the orchard.
We worked with Aire Rivers Trust today at Middlebrook Beck, helping with the mission to clear the becks and rivers of rubbish and to clear the surrounding banks to prevent further rubbish from washing in. There was no stopping our enthusiastic volunteers who made quite an impressive haul.
Blackcaps singing. Bumblebees searching for a nest hole. Bilberries in flower. Spring. Time to finish off tree planting activities.
We adjusted our total to what was reasonable to fit in the space, so had less to plant this week than previously planned. The challenge today was that we were filling in gaps so needed to walk a fair way (and squeeze through gorse, and clamber down stones).
After a late lunch, once finished in the top enclosure, we split into two teams. Hawthorn on the track and embankments. Holly across the main hillside, plus retracing steps to guard some that were planted at the weekend.
We spent a little while replacing fallen stakes in stony ground, and gathering left over stakes, bags, etc. And then we were done. 3,681. Let's call it 3,700.
Well done everyone, it's been a supreme effort. It was shame a few people were unable to come due to illness, work and studies. But, hey, we've got a northern forest to create and as tree planting comes out top as people's favourite task in the annual survey, there is bound to be more planting next season.
We have reduced the number of trees we are going to plant (we have run out of space), so we are only planting on Friday now.
Join us then for the finale.
Amanda and I had made a start with marking and clearing turf on Wednesday so when we arrived on Thursday we able to get straight on with planting by the first gate.
We were joined today by a group from Prince's Trust at Shipley College. They took on, and completed, the shrubby edge along the fence line. This was the first time any of the young people had planted trees, some took to it more readily, but all enjoyed it to an extent.
We added Lime to our mix this week. And had several chats with walkers passing by. The footpath is definitely more popular now spring is here. T-shirts this week.
By Friday we were ready to extend our planting into the enclosure alongside the working quarry, filling in gaps from previous planting efforts. Our total by the end of the day was 3,491. I took a walk over the whole site to assess what space we had left and concluded that there really isn’t room to reach our target of 4000 so we have agreed a reduced number to suit the space available.
We will complete the planting next Friday.
See Friday's write up.