Please contact the office if you are interested in volunteering and we will discuss details.
Conservation Work - Past
Sorry, no task today. Happy Easter.
Forest of Bradford have been undertaking a massive planting scheme on the edge of Odda Quarry, Hawksworth this winter. A small band of BEES volunteers contributed by panting about 250 trees today – a mix of field maple, hornbeam, alder, rowan, sycamore and beech.
Some of these species we are more familiar with removing form woodland mixes (sycamore and Beech), and hornbeam is new in our planting mix this far north. It’s all about resilience and finding a mix of trees that will withstand the increasing number plant diseases that have arrived in Britain due to the globalisation of the plant trade, and a lack of biosecurity measures.
We had postponed our weekend at the beginning of the month due to adverse weather and roads closed with snow. Although it was a big shame not everyone due to go could make the rearranged dates, we couldn’t have been more pleased with the weather conditions this weekend. Warm enough to take several layers off at points, lovely views across to the Lake District (and Ingleborough from the trig point). Being a bit later in the month, the days were longer than normal, which gave our depleted group the chance to achieve as much work as we could have expected.
We were widening a footpath and creating a ride through the woodland and adjacent limestone pavement, essentially to allow more light in for the ground flora and open the canopy. It’s all about the butterflies; two of the key species, the High Brown Fritillary (if there are any left) and Dark Green Fritillary, need violets for their caterpillars. Wal and Issac from Cumbria Wildlife Trust made a great impact with the chain saws, whilst we followed with our bow saws and sorted the timber in to piles for further use and to feed the fires. As ever we were kept fed with potatoes on the fire, but we also cooked up some beans this year for a proper Sunday lunch.
Long days, clocks going forward, an afternoon too nice to miss out on a walk to the trig point, and noisy guests at the hostel, all amounted to a tiring, though thoroughly satisfying weekend helping out at this national nature reserve. As ever, there was mention of what we can tackle next year! Get your diaries ready.
Another hedge today, which will create a great shelter belt on the high exposed fields near Oldfield, looking over the valleys towards to Haworth. A line of Hawthorn had been done yesterday by Forest of Bradford volunteers and we were planting a mix of hornbeam, blackthorn, spindle, field maple and alder buckthorn.
We all stood several inches taller by the end of today’s planting. Yes we were pleased to be involved increasing tree cover in the Dales, but mainly because it was SO muddy!
We were working on a hedge with Forest of Bradford, a Woodland Trust scheme, near Airton. The rain was cold and persistent, the going underfoot was comical, but we planted many hundred trees. We were focussing on a line of hawthorn, this will be added to with a mix of other species when the hedge is finished.
Not essential information, but it was notable that our journey home took the same length of time from Gargrave as our journey last week from Nab Wood. Can that just be because we avoided Saltaire?
This was our second time working in the burial ground this winter. We continued to remove some of the younger trees - making the pathways and access to the graves clearer, but also allowing more light to reach the ground.
We are keeping a range of species to maximise the benefit to wildlife; there are oak, ash. silver birch, willow, hawthorn, a small number of rowan and hazel, some privet and a pleasing amount of fairly big elm trees.
During the summer we will make a better assessment of what further work needs doing to embed a ecological management plan. So far we have mainly concentrated on the obvious regrowth of previously coppiced trees, and cut back some of the bramble etc, but it may be beneficial to take a proactive approach to some of the larger trees. We plan to be back next winter to continue the work.
Residential postponed due to the Beast from the East.
We will go on 23rd March instead - there are now spaces so please get in touch if you are interested.
It was great to be able to work with the Low Moor and Oakenshaw Conservation group today, helping their efforts to preserve the lowland heath in Low Moor. This habitat is rare nationally and globally, and particularly uncommon in the north of England. Birch saplings had covered large areas of the heather so our job was to remove them. Some larger ones were sawn, but where possible we used mattocks to grub out the roots to reduce the regrowth.
Countryside Service were also working on site to remove a few larger trees to allow light on the heather. We couldn’t resist harvesting some bark as good kindling for the kelly kettle, thanks to Tim’s ingenious draw knife. We also took a few logs for the charcoal pile – an exhausting push and carry through the meadow at the end of a physical task.
Today we focussed on thinning out and reducing the height of some of the perimeter trees. It is important we do let these get too big as we do not want them shade the allotments. It also supports the allotment association’s aims to get better views across the allotments in a bid to improve security.
Thank you to the volunteers who helped transport volunteers and tools in the absence of the minibus.
We were on top of the world today. Not just pleased with our contribution to the planting of about 1000 trees, but with great views across to Pendle, the Dales, and the other way! We were last here in March 2017, planting a hedge.
We were helping Forest of Bradford to add a mix of broadleaved trees (oak, birch, rowan, bird cherry, alder, willow) to Back plantation. It is a haven for birds already with kestrels and owls attracted by the vole population. There were goldcrests around, and redpoll are regular visitors.
Whilst pleased the track wasn’t iced over , the wind was bitter and it was so cold that the battery on my mobile phone was not happy and had to hibernate.
A few more photos here.