Task Reports

Please contact the office if you are interested in volunteering and we will discuss details.

Friday 29th May St Ives Estate, Bingley

Today we made a return to the charcoal making kilns in preparation for our summer production. This involved several operations on the day. First we took two trailer loads of wood up the hill with the aid of Chris and the Land Rover of the Woodlands Team, then we found another trailer load wood at St Ives which was also taken up. This wood was then cut, using bow saws, to a suitable length and split into logs using axes. The kilns were loaded after first cleaning out the airways. Brash from nearby Larch trees was collected and placed inside. On top of this the logs of wood were stacked. At the end we had managed to load both kilns and prepare all the wood taken to site. Today we had 10 volunteers. We will arrange for a burn to take place as soon as possible and will let people know when this will take place so that they join us.

Friday 22nd May Brackenhill Primary School, Great Horton

improving the pathwayimproving the pathwayNine volunteers worked with us today, including three new people.

We had a successful day completing a range of managment tasks to ensure the school are able to use the wildlife area for play and education. In the long term the school hope to do the majority of the work with the pupils but they feel they are still a little way from embedding this in the curriculum. In the meantime they are very appreciative of the work of BEES volunteer team, it is also great for us to be able to see how the site is maturing and being used. It is obvoiuusly precious the the children, and has captured their imagination - two girls came running to protect the trees because they thought we were trolls cutting them down! Umm.

We cut and mowed the orchard area, thinned a few birch trees that were over hanging the path, put more bark on the path and completed the work to cut and weave the willow fence. Some of the willow harvested will be used by the school to make geodesic domes and we will use some to make drawing charcoal - one of our tasks today was to strip the bark off the willow whilst it was fresh.

Friday 15th May BEES UNR (Urban Nature Reserve)

first stage of steps completed, despite the conditions. Well done!First stage of steps completed, despite the conditions. Well done!What a day! As if the rain wasn't enough, the proposed line of the steps wasn't a slope but a rubbish tip. As the excavations began more and more debris was exposed - bricks, hardcore, chain link fencing, reinforced concrete posts and a mighty long stretch of scafolding pole. A massive effort was made to remove the pipe  but in the end we had to settle with cutting it off well below ground level and ensuring it was safely buried.

Digging in the rain soon created muddy, slippery working conditions so it is to the credit of the nine volunnteers with us toady that we managed to complete the first stage of constructing the steps by securing the risers (front of steps) in position. They will be completed on our extra task day on Wednesday June 3rd.

We had hoped to use ash branches that had been felled on site in the winter to construct the steps, but made a descision that there was not enough home grown timber to do a professional job. The timber will be used for charcoal production instead.

As well as working on the steps we dug out the Giant Hogweed. Living up to its name it was very big for this time of year. We know it will grow back but will persevere with our eradication programme.

Paths and overhanging branches were cut and more snowberry roots removed in readiness for planting wildflowers during our 'Dirty Weekend' (Springwatch) on 6th and 7th June.

See more photos in the gallery

Friday 8th May Bowling Park Community Orchard, Blossom Day Celebration

Blossom on the Ashmead's Kernal espalier, May 09Blossom on the Ashmead's Kernal espalier, May 09

We enjoyed a first for Blossom Day - there was blossom on at least some of the trees!! Last year on 2nd May and it hadn't started, the year before about the 10th May it was all over. The strong winds and heavy rain of the last week do not seem the ideal conditions for optimum pollination so fingers crossed for a good harvest.

Despite the showers and wind we managed to light the barbeque for volunteers, groups and visitors; do some watercolour painting; make insect homes and bee mobiles; plant flowers and vegetables.

Habitat Heroes staff spent the whole day with a group of pupils from Bowling Park Primary (Usher Street site) doing various activities and gathering ideas for their school grounds.

BEES volunteers continued with the work to create a pathway through the 'woodland' next to the orchard as well as clearing the main path and helping to weed the veg beds for Community Space Challenge.

Friday 1st May Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, Kings Road, BD2

Boar's Well 1st May 2009 1Boar's Well 1st May 2009

 After carrying out a site visit during the week we found that the meadow area contained a number flower species like Kidney vetch that would not of benefitted from a cut of the grass and this would of affected the butterflies that feed on them. However there was plenty to do on the site as we found out. First we started by clearing the pathways in our attempt to maintain them at their original width, this involved the unpleasant task of clearing the dog mess and general litter picking. We placed posters at the entrances to request that dog walkers clear up their dog's mess and we spoke to as many dog walkers as possible. Spink's Well was given a clean up and the photo shows this historic feature. We then turned our attention to the central steps and carried out weeding and topping them up with crush and run. Our final task was cutting of Japanese knotweed near the Coleman Street entrance which was bigger than this time last year as we remember, which gives a clue as to how we spend our future visits.

Today we had 6 volunteers.  

See more photos of the day in the gallery.


BEES USER FORUM 4pm at the office

This is an opportunity for volunteers to discuss and review the task programme and other BEES projects. You can meet us at the office if cannot make it for the day. We will follow the forum with a social outing…curry…

Friday 24th April Ancient Woodland Survey at Birkey Bank Wood, Beckfoot Lane, Bingley

Today eleven volunteers surveyed Birkey Bank Wood near St Ives estate in Bingley.

We were supporting the ancient woodland surveys that Forest of Bradford are undertaking on small areas of woodland.

Our task was to look for and map specific indicator plants that would verify if there had been continuous tree cover on the site since at least 1600AD. We identified fourteen indicator species which gives a positive indication that this is ancient woodland.

Plants we saw included bluebell (covering about 40% of the ground), wood sorrel, wood anemone, golden saxifrage, wild garlic, honeysuckle, wood sage, dog's mercury, lesser celandine, red campion, wood avens, lords and ladies, hazel and wych elm. This was a good opportunity to learn ID skills that compliment our practical skills and we will build on this through the summer.

To find out more about the Forest of Bradford project visit their website

Unfortunately we forgot the camera today.

Friday 17th April: Bowling Park Community Orchard,Bowling Park Drive, West Bowling

ariel view of the siteariel view of the siteSeven volunteers worked at the orchard today in a productive session that included several different tasks.

We erected three bird boxes that had been made by pupils at Dixons City Academy. These pupils had also made some insect homes using dock, willowherb and loosestrife stems from the orchard placed in recycled plastic bottles.These, and a couple of shop bought ladybird and bee homes, have been secured in sunny spots.

Last summer the grass areas were not mowed very often and as a result there has been a significant increase in ground elder. We hope a stricter regime of mowing will bring it back under control. We also made a start on general weeding of vegetable beds and around the trees.

The plums and greengage were in full blossom and the pears just starting.

The afternoon was very sunny and we saw comma, orange tip and small tortoiseshell butterflies.

Fri 3rd April 09 Reevy Mill Dam, Reevy Road, Buttershaw

Pround bench installersProud bench installersWe have installed two new benches at the site. We chose to use recycled plastic and they feel very appropriate. We placed one at the head of the pond in a space that once housed a bench, but it disappeared long ago. We also replaced the rotten bench near the park. The final bench will be replaced later in the spring.

We also began to repair the path around the mill pond. This involved slicing the turf off the path surface to widen the path to about 1.2m. It had become so overgrown that it restricted anybody with limited mobility from using the footpath safely. We were joined by students from Buttershaw School, who worked hard to clear the path and to help with the bench installation.

There were six volunteers today. We started off in thick fog but by the end of the day we were in lovely sunshine, reflecting our satisfaction with the completed task.

View more photos in the gallery