We have recently had the good news that the City of York Council intends to recognise as public footpaths the two access paths into Hagg Wood that we claimed back in 1997. We have received a very large number of messages of support from local residents for our campaign for reopening public access from Intake Lane, including many stressing the importance of such access for families of parents, grandparents and small children, both able and less able, as well as for health walkers, scouts, beavers, guides, brownies and cubs.
Unfortunately, a handful of objectors can still risk great local unhappiness by making the process of getting the access paths open again much longer than it needs to be. The outstanding issue of parking along Intake Lane is a question that needs to be resolved separately, and which we can productively engage in to find a viable solution. Closing the main path has failed to stop people wanting to use the wood and may well have resulted in more people wanting to park, to reduce the much longer walk into the wood that they face with the main access path blocked.
Having the main access path recognised as a public footpath under the responsibility of the City of York Council also helps to alleviate a second main reason for the blockage, that relating to liability. The possibility of selling the forestry track, from Intake Lane to the entrance to the wood, to the Forestry Commission, which we would be willing to assist in, would offer further benefits to the existing landowners.
Let us hope therefore that good sense prevails so that all can benefit.
Our next working party is to be held on Thursday 9th January commencing at 10.00am. However, due to the current restriction on gaining access to the wood via the Intake Lane entrance we will again be using the entrance from the end of Hagg Lane next to Cottage Plantation.
Any volunteer who travels by car we would advise you to park at the Children’s Play Park at the start of Intake Lane by 9.45am. If you normally walk into the wood could you also meet here at 9.45am. We will then drive in a limited number of our cars to Cottage Plantation, where the Forestry Commission has arranged for us to park, and then walk into Hagg Wood along the public path.
We will again be working in the Millennium area of the wood and all the necessary tools will be provided. Please bring gloves if you can, and wear stout shoes or wellies.
Despite the recent gloomy weather and the onset of winter, there is normally still plenty of enjoyment to be had by walking through Hagg Wood. Our Community Woodland is a valuable local amenity, of which we have been very proud and are fortunate to have in our locality, so long as access to the wood is not too difficult for those who could enjoy the wood. If you have been inconvenienced by the recent path blockage from Intake Lane, please let us know, with details about how important this access path into the wood is to you, and how long you have been using the wood, via our website https://haggwood.wordpress.com/contact/ or by writing to FHW, 5 Church Lane, Dunnington, YO19 5PT. This will add weight to the evidence we can present to the City of York Council for a successful permanent resolution to the recent access issue.
The Friends have been busy working on conservation activities in the wood during the past year. This has opened up the forest floor to allow in more light and to provide habitat for attractive spreading carpets of delicate plants such as bluebells and foxgloves, for all to enjoy. Whether we can achieve so much in the future with more restricted access into the wood remains to be seen. However, we are continuing with our conservation working parties under more challenging circumstances. Our January working party will be on Thursday 9th January, so if you wish to come along and help, please meet at the Children’s Playground on Intake Lane at 9.45am.
Outside the wood in recent months, we have enjoyed impressive Autumnal colours on a pleasant visit to the Yorkshire Arboretum, and had an informative talk by Stuart Grainger of the North Yorkshire Police Rural Crime Force on Wildlife Crime, with North Yorkshire unfortunately top of the league table for many such crimes.
Our annual New Year lunch will be held at the Sports Club on Sunday 12th January, so contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 0744-3597769 soon if you would like to come. Our website http://www.fohw.org.uk gives further details of all our activities.