The Grapevine Parish Magazine entry for March 2021

Although many of the paths in Hagg Wood have been muddy this very wet Winter, this has not prevented the more able-bodied residents to walk and enjoy the many pleasures that the wood has to offer, especially vital in these difficult times, when exercise and fresh air has never been more important for our physical and mental health. It is always worth remembering that a good pair of wellies can usually be well worth having in these wetter times of the year.

The snowdrops close to the main Community Woodland notice board are now in flower. This is always a welcome sign that Spring is not too far away.

The catkins on the hazel trees are already formed and just waiting for some warmer weather to open up. It will not be too long before the primroses appear, especially abundant along the banks of the ditches. They thrive in damp conditions so this should be a good year for them. Many of the banks of the ditches have been cleared by Forestry contractors. Hopefully this will make them more obvious alongside the violets which can sometimes be difficult to spot. Already the green shoots of the bluebell plants are appearing, hopefully promising another magnificent display in late April and May. Unfortunately during this past year for several reasons we have been unable to carry out our usual conservation work to ensure that the brambles do not gradually take over and deprive our local community of this wonderful display, so let us hope we are not be unable to do this valuable work for too long in the future.

The birds too are starting to sing, especially the blackbirds and robins, all hoping to attract a mate. There is so much to enjoy in Hagg Wood, whatever the season or weather. You are welcome to join us if you would like to help ensure that the local community can enjoy Hagg Wood as much in the future as it has in the past. If so, do get in touch with us via https://haggwood.wordpress.com/contact/ or through our website www.fohw.org.uk

Main Ride blocked by fallen tree – 12 Feb 2021

Unfortunately a mature oak tree has been blown down across the Main Ride (Public Footpath) near to the top of the Stone Road. It is still possible to pass through fallen tree on foot with care. The Forestry Commission are aware and will clear it when a resource becomes available.

Update from Dunnington Parish Council Access to Hagg Wood – 30 January 2021

Further to our previous update in December 2019 regarding the closure of the track from Intake Lane into Hagg Wood some progress has been made in respect of this matter albeit slowly. If you do not already know two applications were made in 1997 seeking to record two separate public footpaths from Intake Lane into Hagg Wood one of which relates to the track.

Both these applications were the subject of an initial public consultation in the Autumn of 2019 and the City of York Council concluded that there was sufficient evidence for both applications to be determined as public footpaths and Orders were made on 24 February 2020 for these to be effective on 10 February 2020. A further public consultation was subsequently held in the Spring of 2020. However due to a number of continuing objections these Orders could not be implemented and the City of York Council referred the matters to the Secretary of State (Planning Inspectorate) in late Summer last year for them to deal with. In the meantime the track is likely to remain closed.

City of York Council has indicated that it is likely both cases will go to inquiry. At the moment the Planning Inspectorate appear to be trying to hold these inquiries during the Summer for covid reasons. Inquiries have to work to a set timetable which is usually around 26 weeks. This means that the Planning Inspectorate need to set the timetable by the end of March 2021 to hold an inquiry before the end of September 2021. If they do not get these matters under way by then, in a worst case scenario, it could be that the inquiries will not take place until Summer 2022. However if the covid vaccine is effective and the majority of people have been vaccinated towards the end of this year the situation may change and face to face inquiries should be possible. Alternatively the inquiries could be held during peak virus time if all the parties were willing to take part in a virtual inquiry. Unfortunately, as you can see, there is a certain amount of speculation as to what will actually happen which does not help matters. In addition, to complicate the situation even further, the Planning Inspectorate also has a large volume of cases to deal with so for the time being it is a matter of watch this space. As yet the City of York Council has not heard from them.

Whilst both these cases are in Kexby and Scoreby Parish because the majority of people who access Hagg Wood do so from our Parish it is considered that this information is in our residents public interest. This article is factual and based on information that is in the public domain.

The latest information containing details, including all the documents, in respect of both cases can be found on the City of York Council website: https://www.york.gov.uk/PROWNotices

(Once there, click on the “current PRoW notices” link and you can access the relevant documents under references ROW 359130 and ROW 3257816)

Updates will be provided as and when any further information becomes available.

Gill Shaw
Chairman
Dunnington Parish Council

The Grapevine Parish Magazine entry for February 2021

Although winter may have Hagg Wood in its grip there is still plenty to see and enjoy if it is within your permitted exercise allowance. A walk to the wood in early January highlighted just how lucky we are to live in this village and how precious our surrounding countryside is, not least during lockdown if we can enjoy it safely within the rules.  Many people have been taking their daily exercise whilst carefully keeping their distance along the adjacent lanes and bridleways, including joggers, cyclists, walkers and dog walkers. Both walkers and runners should indeed be thankful for the extensive network of local footpaths and bridleways they have inherited from the past to enable them to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of fresh air and local exercise in the nearby countryside, whilst following the Countryside Code and now all the social distancing rules. We look forward to happier times when even more enjoyment can be possible for both young and old, including within and to and from Hagg Wood. In the meantime, it is a good idea in these rainy months to come prepared wearing a good pair of wellies before all the paths dry out.

Some enthusiasts have been exploring new hobbies in their own gardens. One couple used macro-photography to take beautiful pictures of frost covered leaves and flower heads. There are now clip-on macro lenses for smartphones available at relatively cheap prices. As usual there has been lots of interest in sight for the birdwatcher. A mixed flock of Fieldfares and Redwings were seen in a field off Intake Lane, and about thirty linnets were on crops that had gone to seed, all supervised by a solitary Buzzard perched in a tree. This is the time of year when small birds often gather in large parties to feed together, and it is not uncommon for tits and finches to be in the company of tree-creepers and nuthatches.

Our website www.fohw.org.uk has more information on our local Community Woodland of Hagg Wood and on our own activities. You can also get in touch via our website https://haggwood.wordpress.com/contact/, especially if you have walked along the now blocked path from Intake Lane in many past years and want to support our current claim to have it confirmed as a public footpath for all to be able to enjoy as a key way into Hagg Wood. The City of York Council has now published its own Statements of Case supporting our Kexby 19 and Kexby 20 local public footpath claims, and these are now available on its website: https://www.york.gov.uk/downloads/download/583/public-right-of-way-prow-notices.

Spring is now not too far away, and with it the promise of new life for the plants, birds and animals of our local environment, and with it fresh hope of happier times not too far away.

The Grapevine Parish Magazine entry for Christmas 2020/January 2021

Our Community Woodland of Hagg Wood is a very valuable local natural environment that we need to protect and cherish. It provides plenty of green open space and fresh air for all to enjoy, with accompanying physical and mental benefits within easy potential reach of Dunnington. However, to do this it needs to be readily accessible to all in our local community, including young and old, and the able and less able. It is a very great pity that access to it has been blocked along the main footpath from Intake Lane for over a year now, causing considerable inconvenience to many local people. This has also had the counter- productive effect of causing some people to decide to drive and park at the end of Intake Lane in order to make their walk further afield more manageable, though with Dunnington Parish Council now tackling this problem in a sensible way. If only we lived in more enlightened times when all local residents could easily access our local Community Woodland.

Let us hope that the generous Spirit of Christmas becomes more dominant than barricades along the path to human enjoyment, and the New Year brings more Joy than the darker days we have been experiencing in recent months. We look forward to Spring when numerous wild flowers can add to its beauty, and to a happier future when our Conservation Working Parties can be resumed. As soon as we safely can, we will also plan our regular trips to beautiful destinations and meetings with interesting talks. We always welcome new members, including young people wanting to protect and enhance our local environment for everyone’s better future. Please visit our website www.fohw.org.uk for further details of how to join us. Have a look also at the Countryfile website www.plantbritain.co.uk for how even in your own garden or green space you can contribute towards a healthier and greener future.

If you have not already been in touch with us about the disruptive path blockage from Intake Lane, please do get in touch via our website https://haggwood.wordpress.com/contact/ or by writing to FHW, 5 Church Lane, Dunnington, YO19 5PT. But even if you have contacted us in this way, you still need to fill in a User Evidence form that we can present to the Planning Inspectorate to assist our public footpath claim so please email davidmays10@gmail.com for a form so that you can play your full part in achieving a successful outcome in 2021.

The Grapevine Parish Magazine entry for December 2020

Being able to walk and take exercise in pleasant natural surroundings with plenty of fresh air and ample space between people has been shown to be very important for people’s physical and mental health, not least in these challenging times. Our Community Woodland of Hagg Wood provides such a valuable local natural environment that we need to protect and cherish. It is a very great pity that access to it has been blocked along the main footpath from Intake Lane for over a year now, causing considerable inconvenience to many local people. This has also had the counter-productive effect of causing some people to decide to drive and park at the end of Intake Lane in order to make their walk more manageable, though with Dunnington Parish Council now tackling this problem in a sensible way. If only we lived in more enlightened times when all local residents could easily access our local Community Woodland.

The Autumn colours have shown the beauties of Nature which can be enjoyed within it. We look forward to Spring when numerous wild flowers can add to this beauty, and to a happier future when our Conservation Working Parties can be resumed. As soon as we safely can, we will also plan our regular trips to beautiful destinations and meetings with interesting talks. We always welcome new members, including young people wanting to protect and enhance our local environment for everyone’s better future. Please visit our website http://www.fohw.org.uk for further details of how to join us.

If you have not already been in touch with us about the disruptive path blockage from Intake Lane, please do get in touch via our website https://haggwood.wordpress.com/contact/ or by writing to FHW, 5 Church Lane, Dunnington, YO19 5PT. But even if you have contacted us in this way, you still need to fill in a User Evidence form that we can present to the Planning Inspectorate to assist our public footpath claim so please email davidmays10@gmail.com for a form so that you can play your full part in achieving a successful outcome.

The Grapevine Parish Magazine entry for November 2020

Mid-October saw a sad day for the people of Dunnington and the surrounding area, namely the first anniversary of the locking of the gates at the main entrance into Hagg Wood, by the new landowners of the adjacent fields through which the forestry track, which has been used for decades, passes.

The two alternative entrances are approximately one mile away from the village and involve walking over rough tracks. For the elderly, the disabled, young children and parents with children in pushchairs, this has meant that Hagg Wood has been inaccessible to them for the last twelve months. It has also meant if anything more cars parked at the end of Intake Lane, as many people feel the need to drive part way in order to reduce their resultant longer walk to get into the Wood.

This last year has been a particularly difficult year for most people due to Covid and the benefits of being able to spend time in a local wood, enjoying the peace and tranquillity of Nature would have had so many benefits to people’s physical and mental health.

For the fortunate few who have been able to walk the extra distance there is so much to see at the moment with a wide variety of fungi in most areas of Hagg Wood.

The Autumn colours on the broadleaf trees are a pleasure to observe. The banks of the ditches, which have recently been cleared by the contractors, are starting to green up again. Nature wastes little time reclaiming bare earth.

Details of how to access Hagg Wood, albeit now further afield, can be found by using this link here.

If you have not already been in touch with us about the disruptive path blockage from Intake Lane, please do get in touch via our website https://haggwood.wordpress.com/contact/ or by writing to FHW, 5 Church Lane, Dunnington, YO19 5PT. However, even if you have contacted us in this way, you still need to fill in a User Evidence form that we can present to the Planning Inspectorate to assist our public footpath claim so please email davidmays10@gmail.com for a form so that you can play your full part in achieving a successful outcome to the forthcoming Public Inquiry.

The Grapevine Parish Magazine entry for October 2020

A September walk in Hagg Wood revealed many of the pleasures to be found in an English woodland in autumn. Several types of fungi, acorns on the paths, a bumper bramble crop, and deciduous leaves “on the turn”. There were still some summer migrant swallows over the fields and we will soon be welcoming the winter visitors, Redwings, Fieldfares and maybe Waxwings.

The current crisis has certainly highlighted how lucky we are in Dunnington to have ready access to the fields and woods that surround us. Indeed there are reports that there has been an increased demand for houses in rural areas after the long lockdown as people appreciate the need for open spaces. However this makes it even more unfortunate that the path closure prevents easy access for the people who need it most.

We are looking forward to a happier future when our Conservation Working Parties can be resumed, as well as our trips to beautiful destinations and meetings with interesting talks. We always welcome new members, including young people wanting to protect and enhance our local environment for everyone’s better future. Please visit our website www.fohw.org.uk for further details of how to join us.

If you have not already been in touch with us about the disruptive path blockage from Intake Lane, please do get in touch via our website https://haggwood.wordpress.com/contact/ or by writing to FHW, 5 Church Lane, Dunnington, YO19 5PT. But even if you have contacted us in this way, you still need to fill in a User Evidence form that we can present to the Planning Inspectorate to assist our public footpath claim so please email davidmays10@gmail.com for a form so that you can play your full part in achieving a successful outcome.

The Grapevine Parish Magazine entry for September 2020

Despite the Friends not being able to carry out our usual Conservation Working Parties in the Wood because of Covid-19 and the disruption caused by the continuing path blockage from Intake Lane, the lovely local amenity of Hagg Wood is not out of mind. We still need to be able to enjoy this local natural habitat which is beneficial to so many people’s physical and spiritual well-being, and even more so in these difficult times. The difficulties caused by the pandemic have forced us to appreciate simple pleasures and reflect on what is important to us, including the joys of our local  natural environment. Despite the lockdown this year we have had much pleasant weather with a good mix of sunshine and rain, that will be memorable to us despite the difficulties. Earlier in the Spring, the author heard a cuckoo coming from the direction of the Wood, so the natural world carries on.

The Forestry Commission have been busy contracting out work clearing the main ditches in the Wood to create better drainage. Poor drainage can result in trees dying and boggy paths, though slower flowing ditches also can create attractive habitats for amphibians and attractive native plants.

We are looking forward to a happier future when our Conservation Working Parties can be resumed, as well as our trips to beautiful destinations and meetings with interesting talks. We always welcome new members, including young people wanting to protect and enhance our local environment for everyone’s future. Please visit our website www.fohw.org.uk for further detail of how to join us.

If you have not already been in touch with us about the path blockage from Intake Lane, please get in touch via our website https://haggwood.wordpress.com/contact/  or by writing to FHW, 5 Church Lane, Dunnington, YO19 5PT. But even if you have contacted us in this way, you still need to fill in a User Evidence form that we can present to the Planning Inspectorate, so to do this please email djm02045@gmail.com in order to play your full part in achieving a successful outcome.

 

The Grapevine Parish Magazine entry for August 2020

Midsummer is upon us and I commence this article with sweaters and warm clothes on. However May was hot and very dry, June was cooler and quite wet and July has started cool, wet and windy. How have the variations affected the wood? The trees are laden with leaves, the undergrowth is abundant and high and woodland flowers are in full bloom throughout. Some of the more open spaces are filled with purple or white foxgloves coming into bloom. I am sorry that I do not know the names of the many flowers that are in the wood, but even not knowing their names they are a joy to see. The sharp eyed visitor to the wood may even spot the small clump of orchids that has been a summer flower for at least the past four years.  The increasing number of flowers is in some part due to the efforts of the monthly working parties in keeping the invasive plants in check.

The foliage on the trees does make it difficult to see much birdlife, but judging by the amount of singing and chirping there is a good population of birds. In August, many of the birds will be starting their moult in preparation for their southerly migrations, or taking a break after rearing their latest brood. Then the singing will diminish in volume.

In a recent visit it appears that fires have been lit, possibly for picnics or similar. However no such fires are allowed in Hagg Wood as fires pose a real risk to the wood, especially if we have another dry spell, with the amount of undergrowth there is. Enjoying the countryside also means taking care of it!

There is still time if you have been inconvenienced by the recent path blockage from Intake Lane, to 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.  Further details of our activities to help everyone enjoy the wood can be found on our website  http://www.fohw.org.uk

Further afield, we are pleased to announce the recent birth of a third baby beaver in Cropton Forest, following their re-introduction last April  (see https://www.forestryengland.uk/news/baby-beaver-born-cropton-forest-north-yorkshire).