Now that Spring has finally arrived, it is good to enjoy the many delights that Hagg Wood has to offer. The wood anemones, mainly in the Bluebell area of the wood are putting on a fine show and there are numerous clumps of primroses to be seen, especially on the banks of ditches and around the ancient pond. There promises to be an excellent display of bluebells again this year, probably around the first 2 weeks in May will be when they are at their best, a little later than last year because of the adverse weather conditions. For those who are not familiar with Hagg Wood, the best area for bluebells is to be found by taking the right- hand track, about 50 yards from the main entrance.
The various paths in the wood have been quite wet this winter and spring because of the prolonged periods of rain, but with sensible footwear (i.e. pair of wellington boots) there is still a great deal of enjoyment to be had, not least to witness the gradual greening up of the trees and to hear the birds singing, loud and clear.
Our next event is on Wednesday 30th May in the Reading Room at 8pm. We will have our AGM first which is usually a very brief event (around 10 – 15 minutes) followed by an illustrated talk entitled “The Black Stuff” by Dr Jean McKendree. It deals with burning heather on grouse moors on which she has done extensive research. All are welcome to this event and refreshments will be available.
Our next working parties will be on the following dates, 26th May, and 6th June. As usual we will welcome any new volunteers to these. We usually work from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm but any time spent with us will be appreciated. Meet at the wood end of Intake Lane.
Our next work party is on Saturday 21st April and we would be delighted to see any new volunteers. We meet at 10.00 am at the top of Intake Lane and work until 1.00 pm with a break midway.
We will be working in Styron Way in the east side of the wood. The task is to remove the remains of rhododendron and general brash following the recent clearance work by the Forestry Commission contractor, with the aim of allowing the area to return to its native floral.
All the necessary tools are provided. Bring gloves if you can, and wear stout shoes or wellies.
Our February talk “The Disappearing Hedgehog” was a sobering reminder of just how many pressures our wildlife faces from population increase, climate change etc. It also emphasised to me just how important is the effort of voluntary groups and committed individuals to protecting our natural environment.
The next two events on our Spring Programme are:-
Wednesday 30th May: The Black Stuff & AGM
After 25 years working in industry Dr Jean McKendree changed her career goals by taking an MSc in Environmental Science at the University of York, and postgraduate study at Loughborough University. She is now an Executive Officer at the Non-Native Species Secretariat, working with the Animal and Plant Health Agency in York. Her illustrated presentation is entitled “The Black Stuff – estimating burning on a grouse moor using recent carbon deposits”. Meet at 8pm in the Reading Room.
Sunday 17th June: Cycle Ride and Visit to Burnby Hall
Meet at 11am outside the children’s play area in Intake Lane for our cycle ride to Burnby Hall Gardens in Pocklington, along a 26 mile cross-country round trip. We plan to have a picnic lunch at Burnby Hall at about 12.30pm, when you can meet us if you are coming by car. We then have a chance to look round the magnificent displays of water lilies and other plants in the gardens, and to listen to the Swinton and District Excelsior Band from 2pm to 4pm.
Our next Woodland Working parties will be held on Saturdays the 21st April, 26th May, 9th June and 21st July. Meet at the wood end of Intake Lane at 10 a.m or just find us in the wood. Details will be posted on the notice board as you enter the wood. All equipment will be provided and we usually work through to 1 p.m. You will be made very welcome even if you only stay for an hour or two.
Local expert amateur naturalist Terry Weston will be giving us another of his annual wildlife photographic extravaganzas in the Reading Room at 7.30pm, by kind invitation of the Dunnington Conservation Group. Admission is free but arrive in good time!.
Our next work party is on Saturday 10th March and we would be delighted to see any new volunteers. We meet at 10.00 am at the top of Intake Lane and work until 1.00 pm with a break midway. If you wish to come later check the “Welcome to Hagg Wood” notice board at the entrance to the wood, where a note will indicate where we are working in the wood. Bring gloves if you can, and wear stout shoes or wellies. All the necessary tools are provided.
Many feel that it has been a challenging winter in terms of the cold weather and the prevalence of flu bugs of one form or another. At last Spring is around the corner and we can all take advantage of Hagg Wood to find signs of Spring growth. In mid-February winter still had a grip on the wood apart from the snowdrops. Most of the greenery was provided by the much maligned bramble. After a very cold shower of rain the leaves of the brambles glistened and they looked amazingly healthy. When digging out the brambles on our working parties I have often considered the question – do brambles have any merits apart from those that provide blackberries? Few in Hagg Wood provide berries. However, brambles in the past did have a function. They were planted on graves to deter the grazing sheep and in ancient times they hoped that brambles on graves would keep the Devil out and the dead in!
We are hoping that with the drier Spring weather many of the paths will dry out quickly. The Forestry Commission in November used contractors to carry out extensive work on the paths and tracks. Many of these have become very wet and boggy because the water has not had the chance to drain away.
Our working parties continue to do excellent work throughout the year. We are hoping that with the milder weather a few more new volunteers will come along and enjoy the joys of making Hagg Wood an even better place!
Working Parties will take place on March 10th, April 21st, May 26th, Meet at the end of Intake Lane at 10am.
Our first indoor meeting is an illustrated presentation by Dr Toni Bunnell, who has spent over 25 years running the York Hedgehog Rescue Centre and has carried out detailed research on the challenges facing our native hedgehogs, which used to be familiar visitors to our gardens. She has great expertise in the problems, and many of the solutions, facing our hedgehog population, and has in recent years published two books The Disappearing Hedgehog in 2014 and Rescuing the Disappearing Hedgehog in 2016. Toni lectured in physiology at Hull University for over 16 years, and as well as being a wildlife biologist, is a singer-songwriter, musician, writer and broadcaster.
Twenty four members of our group enjoyed a splendid New Year Dinner at the Sports Club on Sunday 7th January. The staff, with their usual courteous manner, provided a delicious meal and it was good to sit at round tables where everyone could join in the lively conversations. If anyone would like to join us next year you’d be made most welcome.
Our next talk ‘The Disappearing Hedgehog‘ by local expert Toni Bunnell will appeal to many. It takes place in the small Reading Room on Wednesday 28th February at 8.00pm, free to members, £1.50 for non-members to help with expenses.
Did you know that Friends of Hagg Wood membership is only £4 a year, £6 for families? For that small amount you get 2 Newsletters a year, 3 illustrated indoor talks, 2 cycle rides, plus other excursions of Conservation interest. Is that good value or what? In return you help us to manage the wood for wildlife and see the display of bluebells expand year by year.
We always have fun at our working parties, this year planned for Saturdays 10th Feb, 10th March, 21st April, 26th May, 9th June and 21st July. Please check our website: www.fohw.org.uk if you’d like more details about our future events.
We’d just like to remind you that your present Committee are not getting any younger (though still young in mind!) New faces would be a terrific bonus for us. Can we not fulfil any of your New Year Resolutions?
Our next work party is on Saturday 10th February and we would be delighted to see any new volunteers. We meet at 10.00 am at the top of Intake Lane and work until 1.00 pm with a break midway. If you wish to come later check the “Welcome to Hagg Wood” notice board at the entrance to the wood, where a note will indicate where we are working in the wood. Bring gloves if you can, and wear stout shoes or wellies. All the necessary tools are provided.
Our next work party is on Saturday 6th January and we would be delighted to see any new volunteers. We meet at 10.00 am at the top of Intake Lane and work until 1.00 pm with a break midway. If you wish to come later check the “Welcome to Hagg Wood” notice board at the entrance to the wood, where a note will indicate where we are working in the wood. Bring gloves if you can, and wear stout shoes or wellies. All the necessary tools are provided.