Baildon Moor

Baildon Moor - Bracken cutting

park at top car park

27th July 201827th July 2018This was our first of three visits to Baildon Moor to return to the area we have been bracken cutting for many years. We were going areas that had been cut previously; cutting with scythes and sickles and then raking the cuttings into piles.  The aim is to reduce the dominance of the bracken which covers vast tracts of the moor, and give the opportunity for heather, bilberry and crowberry to flower and fruit. 

Baildon Moor, bracken control

Another hand-powered effort at controlling areas of bracken growth. We worked along the lower slopes, using the scythes and slashers in the denser stands and sickles were the bracken is sparser amongst the other moorland vegetation. The piles of fronds mark our progress across the hillside and it was good to see where we worked last month that there was only a little regrowth. 

It’s hard work, so it was good to be distracted at times by frogs, a toad, red admiral butterflies and swifts. No sign of the grouse; they have taken cover. 

 

Baildon Moor, bracken control

21 July 2017: Knot Grass Moth caterpillarKnot Grass Moth caterpillarA day of weather today, wet most of the morning but getting better in the afternoon.

We were restricted to hand tools today, but despite the lack of an auto-scythe we made a significant impact on the larger stands of dense bracken. The heaps of cutting marked our progress. 

Our day was brightened by an Elephant Hawkmoth and an attractive caterpillar Knot Grass Moth caterpillar. We had a walk to look at the area we originally worked in and are still pleased with the success in reducing the bracken and allowing the colonisation of heather, bilberry and crowberry. The trees are a notable part of the hillside and we are thinking that it might be a good for the heather to reduce the number slightly. 

 

Baildon Moor – Bracken Cutting

This was our final visit to Baildon Moor for this year. We cleared a great deal of bracken; cutting, raking and piling it up to expose the ground for the bedstraw and grasses which are the first to colonise. Most of the areas we worked in had been cut previously so there was already a covering of vegetation. We were creating conditions for the heather, bilberry and crowberry to grow. 

It would be nice to spend more time there as progress is good but we are aware there are areas that we cut last year that didn’t get attention this year. This is still a task we very much enjoy and aim to be back in 2017. We are still pondering the role of the trees in the areas we have cleared. 

Pictures from toady can be seen in the gallery.
 

Baildon Moor – Bracken Cutting

we park on top of Baildon Moor

A blustery but dry day on the moor. The Glorious 12th spent as it should be - helping manage the moor to enable a range of plants and animals to thrive. 

 

We had the auto-scythe in action for the morning (until the bolts holding the cutting bar to the motor sheared off…! Luckily it’s now gone for some tlc with the Countryside Service) and cut a good swathe of the denser bracken. There was a lot of raking and pile forming to be done. We used hand tools for further cutting, and will return in three weeks for our final visit. 

Moor photos here

Baildon Moor

Today was our first visit of 2016 to cut the bracken in order to help a diversity of moorland flora thrive. The weather wasn’t great – we got pretty wet. We focused our attentions on the steeper slopes and some of the less dense patches using scythes and sickles. 

Some images are in the gallery 

Baildon Moor

we park at the top car park on the Eldwick road

This was, sadly, our last visit for this year.  We had an excellent session clearing a large area of bracken (using well known size comparison jargon, perhaps not quite the size of Wales, but at least the size of several football pitches for their currently highly ranked national team…). 

The auto-scythe was used ably by Ali and Glenford to cut the areas that are still dense with bracken fronds. It was quite a task to keep up with the machine to rake away the cuttings. The hand tools, scythes, slashers and sickles, are more sensitive in areas that have a greater abundance of heather and bilberry regenerating. 

There were a few skylarks around but today we did not catch sight of the Red Kites. However we were able to watch planes taxiing at the airport, a sign that the expected rain held off and we had a lovely afternoon. 

The most disappointing element of this year’s work has been the lack of an ice cream van on any occasion! We hope normal service will return next year.

 

Baildon Moor

meet at the top car park on the Eldwick road

We had another productive day on the moor clearing areas of bracken. We were using both hand tools, scythes and sickles, and the autoscythe in a denser area. Thanks to Ali’s keen eye spotting a loose were we able to cut a large swathe, the challenge being to rake and clear the arisings. 

We have one more visit this year on 4th September. 

Baildon Moor

meeting at top car park

This was our first visit to the moor this year as we embarked on our fourteenth (!) year for bracken control. As usual with our first visit, we returned to some of the patches we have cut before. We like to concentrate on some of the sparser areas so there is no risk of disturbing nesting birds. Our next visit is on 21st August so all nests will be complete by then.

We were pleased will be able show Dave Key form Natural England and John from the golf course our approach and our achievements.

There were plenty of Ringlet and Meadow Brown butterflies and several Small Heath. We found an Oak Eggar moth caterpillar and a large frog. The grouse, oyster catchers and meadow pipits were our audio backdrop, but I don’t recall seeing or hearing swifts and swallows which is unusual.

Baildon Moor Bracken Cutting

Baildon Moor

This was our final cut of the year and we managed to cover a good area with both the auto scythe and the hand tools. We cut the larger bracken at the top of the hill, and worked down the slope to connect the patches of heather and bilberry to the open area at the bottom.

There were plenty of small heath butterflies about, as well as bumblebees, grouse and swifts.

10 volunteers

Baildon Moor

meet top car park.

Today with Cumulonimbus clouds filling the skies, we continued the summer maintenance on Baildon Moor. Using scythes, sickles and the mighty auto-scythe we began to cut back the Bracken. Similar to our last encounter we split into groups and began to work on different area on the moorland. Thankfully the group remained dry throughout the day and we managed to cut a large area of bracken. The group also saw 7 grouse and two voles during the task.

 

We will be returning for our final visit on the 5th September to complete this year management.

 

Today we had a group of 8

 

Click Here to view the rest of the day pictures

Click Here to view the BEES Flickr page

Baildon Moor

meeting at 'top' car park.

This was our first visit of the year to Baildon Moor to begin the fun task of cutting bracken to encourage more moorland plant species. When we set off it was a glorious day with the sun blazing, and we arrive ready and able to do battle with the bracken.

Once we hiked to the site we set off to work, making sure that each person was well away from another for safety reasons. 3 members took to scything the bracken whilst the rest used the sickles to clear the smaller patches.

After lunch a massive operation was taken to rake up the cut bracken and pile together. This also allowed us to make bracken parasols which gave some much needed shade as we carried the bracken to each pile.We will be returning later in the summer to continue the work.

Today we had a group of 8

 

Click Here to view the rest of the day pictures

Click here to veiw the BEES Flickr page

Friday 6th September 2013 Baildon Moor, Top Car Park, Bingley Road, Baildon, BD16

It was advisable to wear long sleeves today to protect against the midges but as it turned out it was necessary to wear long sleeves to protect against the weather which was cold and wet. But as usual this did not put off our group from the task in hand.  Using the cutting tools of scythes and sickles we cut back the bracken which was then raked off and piled up. As this was our third and final visit of the year we had progressed further along the hillside. We chose areas that had vegetation growing under it as a priority, and the bracken was cut back and raked off. This will give the vegetation a chance to develop which included the red fruits of the Crowberry, along with bilberry and heather. 

We will return again next year and continue with the moorland.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Friday 23rd August 2013 Baildon Moor, Top Car Park, Bingley Road, Baildon, BD16

Following on from our previous visit to the site the group continued with the project to control the bracken on the moor side. A couple of areas were concentrated on in the morning working on areas that had previously been cut. After lunch we worked on a patch that had not been cut before. The idea here was to uncover existing ground flora and allow this a chance to spread. In this area both crowberry and bilberry are growing. Plus we cut along the pathway as this had overgrown and was becoming impassable.

Again we were lucky with the weather and there was no return of the midges, but we have another visit still to carry out this year.

Today we worked with 12 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Friday 26th July 2013 Baildon Moor, Top Car Park, Bingley Road, Baildon, BD16

We returned to the moor side for the first time this year and to continue the control of bracken and restoration of the moor vegetation. This was carried out using our hand tools of scythes and sickles and then raking off the cut bracken.  The group concentrated on the areas that we have cut previously and along the pathways. The work is appearing to have a positive effect on the vegetation and we will return again next month.

The weather was good for this visit and there was not the plague of midges that we encountered for the first visit last year.

Today we worked with 10 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Friday 7th September 2012: Baildon Moor, Top Car Park, Bingley Road, Baildon

This was our last visit to the site for the year. So we set about making sure that we had cut all the bracken that had started to regrow from the previous cuts. We also cut and raked some further areas of dense growth. We were able to use the autoscythe in several areas and then this was raked up with hay rakes and moved with pitch forks. We again created large pile of cut bracken. The area that we have been cutting is now extending to become a significant size and there are lots of things growing where there was recently only bracken. Today the wind was strong enough to keep the midges away.


7 volunteers worked with us today.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Friday 17th August 2012: Baildon Moor, Top Car Park, Bingley Road, Baildon, BD17.

It was a different experience today for the people who had braved the moorland midges last time. We had benign conditions and so were able to concentrate on the task of Bracken control. Our efforts were concentrated on tackling areas that we had already cleared and bracken started to regrow. This will give the surviving and emerging vegetation a better chance to thrive. We also took on some areas where little vegetation is apparent. The area that we have been working over the years is getting bigger and it is hard to remember where we started. We were also visited by a consultancy firm who are looking at a way the bracken that we cut may be used in the future.

Today we worked with 12 volunteers.

 Click here to see other photos of the day.

 

Friday 20th July 2012, Baildon Moor

It was good to see so many swifts flying over the moor today. However there were not nearly enough to have an impact on the midge population - we have never seen (or felt) anything quite like it. A damp, still, muggy day was obviously ideal for them, and they made the most of our presence, with people leaving the moor at the end of the day ranging from mildly irritated, covered in red spots, to swollen faces looking like we'd done a few rounds in the boxing ring. What we are prepared to put up with in order to encourage biodiversity!

A survey of 'our' patch of the moor earlier in the week showed that there are quite a few meadow pipits and sky larks around. Because of the poor weather this summer, and potentially delayed fledging, we decided to be cautious regarding the areas of bracken to work in. We concentrated where the bracken is less dense, revisiting areas that are well under control and just extending the patch in one top section.

We continued to be encouraged by the emergence of heather and bilberry, as well as the bedstraw and sheep's sorrel, amongst the grass where the bracken has been cleared.

Today we worked with 13 volunteers

Friday 2nd Sept: Baildon Moor, Top Car Park, Bingley Road, Baildon

Cutting BrackenCutting Bracken

A group of seventeen worked on the moor today, including 14 volunteers. This was our final visit of the year and we had a very successful day working effectively with the auto scythe and hand scythes and sickles. The cut bracken was raked and piled - as well as removing it so it does not prevent regeneration of moorland species, we hope the piles will make compost and they also act as markers of the extent of our work.

The impact that the bracken control BEES have undertaken is considerable and encouraging - the hillside now has good patches of bilberry, heather, crowberry as well as sheep's sorrel and heath bedstraw. We identified areas that we plan to work on next year and identified the need to instigate more monitoring areas. We have noticed that young heather plants are appearing amongst the grass which is to be expected as this is the natural succession of the moorland, but it would be good to monitor the speed and spread of the heather regeneration.

As well as enjoying the work we were able to enjoy the presence of bees in the heather, swallows feeding over the hillside and a covey of partridges numbering 13 or 14, disturbed from their roost in the bilberry.

Friday 15th July 2011: Baildon Moor

looking westlooking westThis was our first visit of the year to the area of Baildon Moor where we have been controlling bracken for a decade. The impact we have had in enabling the moorland vegetation to thrive, rather than be swamped by the bracken is significant and noticeable. When we clear a patch the first plants to arrive are the heath bedstraw and sheep's sorrel, closely followed by the wavy hair grass. Heather and bilberry are now encroaching into the grassy areas giving a perfect example the plant succession on moorland. There are few small rowan and birch trees which will give perching points for birds, as well as food and shelter.

It feels wrong to complain it was too hot -we have had many a drenching on the exposed moor - however it was very warm! Good for the butterflies - the small heath were most numerous but there were also plenty of meadow brown, ringlet and large white. The crossleaved heath was in flower and going over and the ling (common heather) is just about to open. There were many bees visiting the heather and the bilberry.

We had a walk on the moor on Wednesday evening and there were quite a few birds in the longer bracken and a pair of hunting kestrels. On both days we disturbed a pair of partridges. Because of our observations we concentrated our cutting efforts today in some of the areas we have cut previously. We used scythes, sickles and slashers to cut the bracken and raked into to piles to make compost. Today we worked with 17 volunteers.

Friday 27th August: Baildon Moor, Baildon

Our third and final visit of the year to the moor. The group split into two work groups: one group cut over the areas that had been previously cut and another concentrated on cutting bracken in an area where Heather is established. This required carefully cutting away from the heather patches, we hope to link up these areas of Heather.  By the end of the day a lot of bracken had been cut which gives the other plants a chance of reestablishing.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Today we worked with 12 volunteers 

 

 

 

 

Friday 6th August: Baildon Moor, Baildon

The BEES technique of widening out from mixed flora areasThe BEES technique of widening out from areas of mixed flora Our second visit of the season to cut Bracken on the moor. For today's task we concentrated on 3 techniques of control. For the areas that we have been working on for a number of years, which are showing good recolonisation progress, we mainly walked over the area and hand picked out the Bracken. Next, patches that we identified as having a good mixed flora were cut away from using hand tools in the hope that that the flora will spread out into the newly cleared areas. Finally, using the autoscythe and the hand scythes we cut areas that were dense with bracken with little or no flora beneath. The Bracken is then collected up into piles.

Today there were 15 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day 

Friday 16th July: Baildon Moor.

area of cleared bracken allowing grass to recolonisearea of cleared bracken allowing grass to recoloniseThis was our first visit of the year to Baildon Moor and as we arrived the moor promised do do what it does best. Weather!. However it turned out not too bad - very windy but not too wet. (on our Wednesday Wildlife Wander we were greeted by thunder, lightning and a soaking downpour).

We are working in the same area of moor with have managed for a decade - on the slope facing towards Sconce - but we are now focusing our extension work down hill rather than back towards the road. We will work in this direction to join the existing heather patches near the fairway. The gradient is too steep for the auto-scythe, which concentrated on the upper areas, so scythes and sickles were the main tools used, raking the arisings into large piles. Friends of Baildon moor used a strimmer to increase the impact of the work.

Swifts, oystercatchers, skylarks and pipits were present through the day, and a nest (probably swallow) was spotted in the shelter. The ling is just coming into flower and the first few bilberries were ripening.

Friday 28th Aug: Baildon Moor, Baildon

Friday 28th August: Racking cut bracken in very strong windRacking cut bracken in very strong wind Today was our last trip of the season and we concentrated our efforts on ensuring we removed regrowing bracken from previously cut areas and raking the bracken litter. It is noticeable the amount that we have managed to cut over the past five years and the range of plant species that are recolonising the area. We are going to take advise over the winter on how best to proceed with the project. Although it was August we were exposed to some severe weather and had to result to the Lifeboat matches to get the kettle alight!

Today there were 6 volunteers.

Click here for other photos of the day .

Friday 24th July: Baildon Moor

View down the work siteView down the work siteThis was our second work day to clear bracken on Baildon Moor this year. We concentrated our efforts on the area the we originally worked on 9 years ago - to the left hand side as you look down the hill over the work site. The photo shows the clear difference the control regime has made. There are still fronds growing where we have worked but a marked difference to the areas not managed. 

The ling was just coming into flower and there were plenty of bees drinking from the flowers. The cross-leaved heath is going over now. We heard a grouse very near by and we couldn't remember hearing one in this area before.

See more photos here, including the ling. Can you spot the bees?

Friday 26th June: Baildon Moor, Baildon

Fri 26th June 09 1: Area of previously cut Bracken which grasses have now been able to colonise. Picture shows removing the young Bracken.Fri 26th June 09 : Area of previously cut Bracken which grasses have now been able to colonise. Picture shows removing the young Bracken. 

Our first trip of the season to the Baildon Moor site. We were pleasantly surprised that the area we have been cutting has shown a good recovery with a range of plants now recolonising. We worked in three areas, the oldest area required the young bracken to be removed, a previously cut area required thorough raking to remove the thick layers of decomposing matter, and an area which we have only cut once previously was recut.

The work was very physical and we where able to practise our traditional skills of sycthing and raking. The conditions were hot with a high pollen count that was a problem to hay fever sufferers. Today there were 10 volunteers.

See more photos of the day. 

 

 

 

 

Baildon Moor - Bracken cutting

park on the top car park

Our domain!: when we started working on the moor this hillside was covered in brackenAn area of moorland we've improvedA lovely day for our last visit to cut bracken this summer.

Undoubtedly we have not covered the same amount of ground now we no longer have an auto-scythe, but we have still made a good impression, adding to many of the existing piles of composting bracken. We use a mixture of scythes, slashers and sickles, with some of the sparser areas being pulled by hand.  I walked down to where we had started off in 2002 – we have cut an impressive patch, creating space for heather, bilberry and crowberry.

I didn’t achieve my ambition of glancing upon a short-eared owl silently quartering the hillside (it’s been years since I have seen one), but we disturb quite a few red grouse and could see buzzards over Rombalds Moor.

Baildon Moor - Bracken cutting

park on the top car park

Proper Baildon Moor weatherProper Baildon Moor weatherA rainy day today, but still successful progress in cutting areas of bracken and raking the arisings into the piles. 

I filled a couple of carrier bags of semi-composted bracken to mulch the blueberries that I bought at Apple Day last year. One day it would be nice to make more of the bracken we have harvested but the logistics and effort wouldn’t be insignificant.

 
 

Baildon Moor

Baildon Moor, 22 Aug 08Baildon Moor, 22 Aug 08We have been working to control bracken on Baildon Moor since 2000. We have concentrated on an area that had unlying moorland plants - heathers, sheep sorrel, heath bedstraw, bilberry and crowberry. The control measures have involved cutting the bracken three times a year. The results have been very encouraging and we continue to expand the areas we are managing.