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.
A Happy New Year to all users of the wood. What are we all hoping for in the wood this year? Perhaps one of the following:
To enjoy plenty of wild flowers, snowdrops, primroses, bluebells, foxgloves and orchids? (Orchids have been seen some years in the wood.) Or to see an increase in the number of the new broad leaf trees showing their potential as they gain height and girth? Do you enjoy hearing the birds and therefore hope for more birds nesting? Or to have an increase in wild life in general as the glades provide needed habitat for butterflies and other insects?
I’m sure we all enjoy year-long dry paths but that is difficult to achieve. Hagg Wood has always been known as a wet area. However the recent work on cleaning out existing ditches and creating new ones in the northern and western areas of the wood, around Styron Way, Chambers Way and parts of the Main Ride should help to drain those areas and keep paths drier than they have been. Some paths have been widened and made higher. However we need to give time for the paths to dry out and harden where the contractor’s vehicles have been. May all our visits to the wood this year be pleasant and rewarding.
On 22nd November we enjoyed a talk from Dr. Geoff Oxford on “The Hazel Dormouse-A Yorkshire Perspective” We heard that dormice are very rare in Yorkshire and there are definitely none in Hagg Wood. Our next talk, by Toni Brunnell on “The Disappearing Hedgehog” is in the Reading Room at 8pm on Feb 28th. Admission free to members, to non-members £1.50 and refreshments 50p.
Our next working parties are on Saturdays 6th January, 10th February, 10th March, 21st April and 26th May. Meet at the Hagg Farm end of Intake Lane at 10am and we work through to 1pm with a coffee break about 11am Bring gloves if you can and wear stout shoes or wellies and suitable clothing. We hope to see you and work together to make the wood a better place for us all.
Our next work party is on Saturday 9th December 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.
Eight members of Friends of Hagg Wood enjoyed a cycle ride to the beautiful 18th century watermill at Howsham, near Malton on a sunny day in October. There they were met by Bruce who gave them a very informative guided tour of the mill, detailing its history and its current use.
It was designed by John Carr of York as a Gothic style folly, but in recent years has been restored as an education centre and as a means of generating water powered energy using an Archimedes screw and water from the River Derwent. A refreshment stop at the Balloon Tree was very welcome on the return journey.
We had a very productive work party in October with one team working in the Bluebell area, clearing brambles and a second team raking up the grass and brash from either side of the stone track, where the Forestry Commission contractors had recently been cutting back the high vegetation. If the cut vegetation is not removed, the soil becomes too rich for wild flowers to thrive. Our next work party is on 9th December, where we will be very pleased to see any new volunteers. We normally work from 10.00 am until 1.00 pm but any amount of help will be very welcome.
Forestry Commission contractors have recently been in the north-eastern section of the wood clearing rhododendrons. This is in preparation for the work to improve drainage in this area, especially around the public footpath which is known as Styron Way.
We will be having our traditional New Year Lunch on Sunday 7th January 2018 at the Dunnington Sports Club. To book your place there please contact Michael on York 489013 or on email@example.com by 20th December. He will let you have the menu options or they can be found on our website www.fohw.org.uk
Friends of Hagg Wood send Christmas Greetings to all our members and also to everyone who is fortunate enough to be able to walk through and enjoy the pleasure that Hagg Wood brings throughout all the seasons of the year.
Our next work party is on Saturday 25 November 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.
Dr Geoff Oxford, Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Biology at the University of York, and a leading member of the Yorkshire Mammal Group, will be giving us a fascinating illustrated presentation into the life of this attractive tiny mammal.
The hazel (or common) dormouse lives in deciduous woodland, hedgerows and dense scrub, but is rarely seen in the wild, partly because it is nocturnal, but also because it is now less common than its alternative name suggests.
Meet at Dunnington Reading Room at 8.00pm.
Admission is free to members, non-members £1.50, and refreshments 50p.