Task Reports

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

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 27th January, 2017
in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive, BD4

27 Jan 2017A reluctant start today, the coldest Friday morning we have had for a while, even feeling colder than in the snow at Lower Fields. The minibus took quite a bit of coaxing before we could set off. 

The trees were covered in frost when we arrived, not ideal for pruning, so we started the morning on more active jobs; turning the compost heaps, digging out misplaced raspberry canes from next to the Egremont Russet and continuing with laying the hedge near the seating area. 

The hedgelaying team (probably the smallest number you can class as a team) did an excellent job and completed the entire stretch.  We will need to take some remedial action on the pallet fence behind which has nails sticking though, but apart from that the work has made a massive improvement - creating habitat whilst keeping the hedge below the 5ft limit. Well done. 

We couldn’t really leave without doing any pruning – we had a new tool to try out. We have bought a lopper attachment for the pole, so we can reach into the branches and to higher branches. The rope pulley system reduces the effort needed and the ability to change the angle of the cutting head was very satisfying!

In addition we took compost to the orchard and some twigs and timber as kindling for our wassail for on Sunday. And people took some soft apples away for garden blackbirds; ideal to attract them for RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend. 

 Have a look at the orchard gallery here 

Parkside Centre

Friday 20th January, 2017
Parkside Road BD5

We had a variety of tasks to do today, but the main one was to work on the hedge and cut some of the longer grass, which included grubbing out blackthorn suckers. We only laid the hedge a couple of years ago so it isn’t at the stage it needs doing again yet. However the hedge needs to be kept at a reasonable height to allow light into the garden and to keep the adjacent footpath open and visible. We tackled this with a mixture of coppicing some stems to the ground to allow the regrowth to add to the density of the hedge, winding some of the thinner stems of hazel and dog rose in and amongst the hedge, and laying some of the branches (even though they were only a few cm in diameter). 

At the top end we started to grub out some dense blackthorn that was making the hedge too wide. This was also done throughout the wildflower meadow. 
 
In order to protect the fruit trees when the grass is mown we made a timber surround for one of the trees. The rest will be done at a later date. We took a moment to admire the shape of the apple tree – it was a good example of how to prune to open up the middle of the tree and create the desired goblet shaped tree. 
 
We dug a late crop of potatoes from one of the beds, and shared out some Ashmead’s Kernal from the orchard. We enjoyed the winter sunshine. 
 

Lower Fields Primary School

Friday 13th January, 2017
Fenby Avenue BD4

We weren’t going to let a little bit of snow put us off on Friday 13th! But we did adjust our plans a little and concentrated on the woodland work in the nature area. We will return to cut the wildflower bank in more appropriate weather. 

The task was to fell a few trees, and remove branches, that were growing over paths, posing a risk or in areas that were going to be used differently (i.e. an area for hanging tarp shelters amongst the trees).  Our timing was pretty good, following the high winds of Tuesday night and Wednesday. A couple of the large willow trees had twisted and cracked, with major branches falling onto the Holm Oak – a specimen tree.  The size of some of the branches was at the upper end of what we could sensibly tackle with the bowsaws. But it kept us warm! We created habitat piles from the smaller branches, the larger ones being put aside either to grow interesting fungi or be used in a more constructive way.  

We were pleased the skies were blue and the sun shone, but also that it remained cold and the snow didn’t melt and become unpleasant slush. 

 
 

Tool Maintenance at Culture Fusion

Friday 6th January, 2017
In the workshop at Culture Fusion

Sharpening chiselSharpening chiselAs always we started the year with some tlc for the tools. All the sharp edged tools; scythes, sickles, billhooks, loppers and shears, where taken to the workshop for a clean and a sharpen. This is our opportunity to use the files as well as the sharpening stones to make sure ‘shoulders’ don’t develop on the point which happens if there is continued sharpening at the cutting edge of the blade. 

The bowsaws were checked and the tool box tidied up, ready to go for our tasks in 2017. We even managed to pair up some gloves and find homes for the wellies.  

 

No Task

Friday 30th December, 2016

And a Happy New Year 

No Task

Friday 23rd December, 2016

Merry Christmas

Tree Planting with Forest of Bradford

Friday 16th December, 2016

Our site today was alongside Calton Gill near the small village of Flasby just north of Skipton.  Although the site is within view of the Grassington Road, there was no access for the minibus from this road so we were escorted, from a rendez-vous point in Gargrave, along a farm track on the other near Flasby. The minibus coped with the muddy conditions, which were just a taste of things to come. 

The planting is part of the Aire flood defence scheme; increased tree cover will slow the low down-stream. We were planting a mix of oak, bird cherry, downy birch, willow and lime on the hillside by the gill. All the trees were protected from deer and rabbits. The planting area wasn’t too wet; but getting there we had a fair walk through mud and wet fields. We followed a different route back, flatter but still very wet. Between us and the regular Forest of Bradford volunteers we planted 300 trees, not bad considering the walking involved to access the site, and the early finish to allow for our regular Christmas visit to Naylor’s Brewery. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 9th December, 2016
in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive, BD4

The two main tasks today were hedgelaying of the perimeter hedge near the shelter and veg beds. We made a good start clearing the branches from the front of the hedge, making the stakes and laying some of the pleachers. Once finished the hedge will create a good wildlife habitat whilst remaining within the height restrictions for the allotment. 

The other team made a start on pruning the apple trees. We also make a start by removing dead, diseased and damaged branches, but we also made an effort to remove lower branches from the trees, the ones that once loaded with fruit sit on the floor, and also prevent easy picking from other branches. Several trees are too congested throughout, and a selection of branches were cut out to allow easier picking and more air and light circulation. 

We were pleased to welcome some of the YMCA NCS group who helped with the pruning and making stakes, and heating the Kelly kettle.  

We will continue with these tasks on 27th January 2017.

Rodley Nature Reserve

Friday 2nd December, 2016
accessed from Rodley Town Street, over the canal.

We always enjoy our visits to Rodley Nature Reserve and this was no exception. 

We were coppicing a coupe near the entrance to the reserve; all the product was going to be used to help restore the dead hedging that had been washed away in last winter’s floods. The age of the trees varied from 2 to 6 or 7 years so we needed the saws as well as the loppers. 

By the time we finished we had had created five or six large piles ready for the Rodley team to use around the reserve. 

Having warned everyone to wrap up, especially having seen the frost at the beginning of the week, we commented more than once how mild it was. We even took our coats off! 

 
See what’s going on at Rodley on their website www.rodleynaturereserve.org
 

Sydenham Place, Undercliffe

Friday 25th November, 2016
Back Sydenham Place

Today we were extending the path further through the woods. To start with this required removal of brash from a recently felled tree (one that was growing over the wall and back street). Smaller twigs were chopped for kindling and some of medium sized logs were chopped for fire wood. Some remained as woodland habitat for invertebrates and fungi. 

The larger logs were used to make low benches so people can sit and enjoy the trees and garden. We were only successful in completing one; the other logs wouldn’t yield to the drill so were left with Dusty to complete.