Task Reports

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

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

Fri 27th Mar 09 St Ives Estate, Bingley

splitting wood ready to make charcoalsplitting wood ready to make charcoalSeven volunteers and four pupils from Yorkshire Martyrs School joined the task to prepare the charcoal making site ready for production later in the spring.


This involved emptying the kilns from the last burn of last summer (left because it just seemed to rain all the time - so as well as being an unpleasant task there was not the demand for the bbq charcoal so little incentive). We also cleared the timber storage bays of old and rotting wood and began sawing and chopping timber that we have thinned from tasks during the winter. This has been stacked and will season for another couple of months before the first burn in late May.

Most of the timber we have is willow from Rodley and Boars Well, and altough this makes good charcoal it can be a bit a crumbly in the transport process. We are hoping to be able to mix it with other tree varieties.

We are very appreciative of the support the golf club and the Council's woodlands team are offering to ensure we have sufficient timber for several burns this summer.

Charcoal is available from the BEES office.

To see more pictures from the day visit the gallery

Fri 20th Mar 09 Habitat Heroes Schools Project

creating a willow dome at Killinghall Primarycreating a willow dome at Killinghall Primary


Today we went to Killinghall Primary School and constructed two willow domes and a fence. This makes the start of the school constructing a wildlife area for the pupils to learn about nature.

We had 8 people on site, with regular visits from staff and pupils and a delegation from Europe who wanted to learn about volunteering opportunities in the UK.

The willow had been recently harvested and was planted to a depth of 30-40 cm. This will enable the willow to root  so the structures will grow leaves and new branches. The dome will offer shade and seclusion. In years to come the dome and fence will need management  - their branches can be woven into the structure or be harvested for other weaving projects. 

Fri 13th Mar 09 Brackenhill Primary School, Dracup Road, Great Horton, Bradford

Brackenhill 13 March 09 Brackenhill 13 March 09

 Today we returned to this a former E School where we carried out a number of maintenance jobs on the nature area in preperation for the pupils to use it during the year. The willow fence was cut and weaved to provide a sturdy barrier that is also visually attrative and unique. We also had the time to carry out footpath repairs. We were joined by our regular group from Yorkshire Martyrs who built a habitat for invertebrates and cut the meadow area using traditional tools.

Fri 6th Mar 09 Habitat Heroes Schools Project

Fruit trees plantedFruit trees planted

This task was arranged to support the Habitat Heroes programme which is working in primary schools across Bradford to improve the school grounds by creating habitats that can support the teaching of the formal and informal curriculum.

Five volunteers supported school pupils and parents in the planting or a hedge and fruit trees on the school field. Varieties of apple were chosen to give the children a range of flavours once they mature. 

BEES volunteers also created a bog garden (using a punctured birthing pool!) in the school grounds.

Fri 27th Feb 09 Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, King’s Road, Bradford, BD1

Boar's Well 27 Feb 09 Boar's Well 27 Feb 09  

Today we continued with the repair of the steps in the central area of the Reserve and now they are almost complete. We had to replace some risers, continue weeding and refilling with crusher run. We pruned back the dogwood that grows over the steps.

We also worked in the woodland area on the slope above the entrance. This area has not had any managament done for several years. We started by clearing the blackthorn that was blocking the gate and then selectively thinning some dead and crowded trees. We high pruned others and will continue with the thinning task next winter.

Fri 20th Feb 09, Aire Valley, Bingley

Aire Valley, 20th Feb 09Aire Valley, 20th Feb 09Today we worked with Bradford Countryside Service to continue our support for habitat creation work along the river. This involved some construction work and also weaving willow to support the river bank. Nine volunteers worked on this task and commented on the good opportunity to work together as a team in the tasks.

Fri 13th Feb 09 Boar’s Well Urban Nature Reserve, Kings Road, Bradford, BD1

Tree thinningTree thinning Today we carried out tree thinning on an area of woodland along the path at this site. The aim is to increase biodiversity by letting more light through the canopy. Hopefully this will encourage more low level plants. Litter picking was also carried out and it was satisfying to see a completely litter free strip of thinned woodland at the end! We also pruned the Buddleia area near the picnic meadow to open up the pathways and create some low level flowering of the shrub in the summer. Then there was enough time to weed the central steps and assess their state of repair. There were a good number of our regular volunteers. We saw a few wonderful, bright red bullfinches which was a bonus.

A problem on the site is the excessive amount of dog fouling. The cause became clear as two men with 7 huge dogs rumbled through. It seems the site is ideal for a dog walking business as they can easily get away with not clearing up the mess. Today we were watching our every step on what is a very large site! The dog walkers didn't think much of our polite suggestions to scoop the poop. In fact we were told where to go and in no uncertain terms that removing the deposits wasn't going to happen!


Fri/Sun 6 – 8th Feb 09 Weekend Residential, Dorothy Farrers Spring Wood, Lake District

All togetherAll togetherFor our residential we joined the Cumbria Wildlife Trust for a weekend of coppicing Hazel in the Lake District.

Friday afternoon saw us getting stuck into the coppicing on a slope at Dorothy Farrers Wood after a minibus ride from Bradford. The weather was clear and even sunny! Hazel poles were stacked for future charcoal production and Yurt construction. Then it was back to the bunk barn which had stunning views of the Kentmere Valley and snow covered mountains. We fired up the calor gas heater which trickled out heat into the vastness of the bunkbarn giving us no need to worry about removing any of the 5, 6 or 7 layers we were wearing. A group effort created a magnificent feast for the deserving volunteers, curry followed by apple crumble! We enjoyed star gazing and card playing in the evening.

Saturday was a full work day and began with warm ups/break dancing to loosen us up after a cold night. Towards the end of the day the area began looking much clearer and the stacks of snedded poles grew high. Icicles hung from the overhanging rocks on the slope but there was no problem keeping warm once your sawing arm got going! Robins flitted amongst us looking for worms. We went for a tour of the wider area, disturbed a dear and saw a nuthatch and some redwings. The evening was a retreat to a lovely warm pub where Bradford's Salamander beer was on sale but I went for the local Hawkshead bitter which went down a treat. Dominoes provided entertainment. Then as heads started to bob with sleepiness we decided to head back.

We worked a couple of hours on the Sunday then headed to see one of Cumbria's largest, well managed coppice and went on a lovely walk through the different coups (zones of coppice). There was interesting archeaology to see (remains of old woodsman's houses?) and even a very old orchard. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the weekend and it was great to do such useful habitat work in such amazing countryside and also to spend time with a great bunch of people. -Jonathan