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The Grapevine Parish Magazine entry for April 2017

In troubled times it was heartening to hear our young speaker, Guy Mandziuk, recount his interesting experiences as a volunteer in the recent disaster areas of the Philippines and Nepal.  It requires openness and generosity of spirit.  Guy convinced us that it was very worthwhile and he hopes to work again with the charity, ‘All Hands Together’, which spends 94% of its donations on getting work done, a great example for other charities to follow.

We continue our conservation work in the wood and with Barbara Pyrah’s bequest we are creating a woodland glade in her memory, Barbara’s Glade, situated at the top of the wood, off Styron Way.  Please check the map on the Welcome leaflet in the Library if you want to find the exact location.  We have planted lots of pollinator species such as Lady’s Smock, Meadowsweet, and Wild Angelica provided by Andrew Cutts on the Urban Buzz Project to provide good habitat for Butterflies, Moths and Bees.

Several years ago the group commissioned Barry Wright to survey the hedgerows of Dunnington.  He has been awarded his PhD and part of his work was the ‘Historic Hedgerow Heritage of Dunnington’ project.  The work has been summarized with the full details contained in a DVD at the beginning of the report.  A copy has been left at the Library and all the Dunnington farmers are to be given a copy in thanks for their support and encouragement.  Barry would very much welcome comments and feedback, telephone 01423 358791.

We’re planning a visit to Drax Power Station on Saturday 8th April.   First we’ll walk around their Nature Reserve, called the Skylark Centre followed by lunch at the Comus Inn at Camblesforth, then drive to Drax to be collected by electric buses for a guided tour around the power station.  Everyone is invited to attend all or part of the planned programme.  Please confirm with Linda Maggs, York 489127 if you’d like to join us.

Working Party dates are April 1st, May 6th, June 10th, July 8th and August 5th.

The Grapevine Parish Magazine entry for March 2017

When did we last have 200 twitchers trying to view a rare bird in Dunnington? The Pine Bunting should not have been here at all. It breeds in Siberia and usually winters in central Asia with a few coming further west but very rarely this far.  So we were fortunate to have one mix in with a local flock of yellowhammers, especially if you happened to see it.  What has this to do with Hagg Wood?  We expect that the establishment of some groves in the wood, and the planting of suitable vegetation will green the floor of the wood and attract insects, butterflies and birds.  Not necessarily rarities but more the usual woodland birds that are becoming scarcer in the UK.  It will not be long before the first of the summer migrants arrive, so keep your eyes and ears open.  Some are more often heard than seen. There might be a rare one among them!  Urban Buzz York, the Butterfly Conservation, and our ecological adviser Martin Hammond have been very helpful in suggesting the vegetation that would be suitable in the glades.

During our next Hagg Wood working party on March 4th we shall be planting in the glades, so come along and plant a tree.

As mentioned in our Spring Newsletter, the Conservation Volunteers have cleared further areas of invasive brambles in the Bluebell area that should create an even more magnificent display of bluebells than previously.

On Monday March 20th at 7.30 pm in the Reading Room, Terry Weston will be giving his popular annual photographic show, this year entitled  “Namibia & Its Wildlife”.


The dates for our next Woodland Working parties are March 4th and 11th, and April 1st. Meet at  10am at the wood end of Intake Lane. We aim to finish at 1pm. Strong boots or wellies and good gardening gloves are recommended.  Please join us and help make the wood better for us all.


Volunteering after Natural Disasters – Wednesday 22nd February 2017

Guy Mandziuk was born in York, grew up in Dunnington, attended Dunnington Primary School, was a member of Dunnington scouts group and played for the mighty Dunnington F.C.   Guy is now on a graduate scheme with Unilever, but prior to joining the company spent two months volunteering in 35 degrees heat and 90% humidity with a dedicated group of volunteers from around the world to support building work after the 2013 typhoon Yolanda that devastated parts of South East Asia, and the Philippines in particular. During the summer of 2016 Guy flew to Nepal to join All Hands Volunteers, an American NGO, to help rebuilding after the 2015 major Nepal earthquake.

Guy will give us an illustrated presentation on his inspiring experiences in the face of these natural disasters, at 8.00pm in the Dunnington  Reading Room.

Admission is free to members, non-members £1.50, and refreshments 50p.

The Grapevine Parish Magazine entry for February 2017

Our first work party in 2017 was very well supported by 15 enthusiastic members on 7th January. The following day 28 members of Friends of Hagg Wood enjoyed a delicious New Year lunch at the Sports Club, 12 of these had walked some of the various paths in the wood prior to the lunch and noted some of the work that had been done over the previous months.

Pre-lunch walk at the bomb crater
Enjoying the meal at the Sports Club

It was very encouraging to see so many families with children exploring Hagg Wood over the Christmas and New Year period. So often we read in newspapers and hear on television that children today are too busy with their electronic devices and do not go outdoors very much and experience nature. This does not seem to be a problem in Dunnington but perhaps this is because we have the benefit of Hagg Wood on the edge of the village just waiting to be enjoyed.

Our next indoor event will be on Wednesday 22nd February in the Reading Room at 8pm, when Guy Mandziuk, who grew up in Dunnington, will be telling us about his volunteering experiences in the Philippines after the 2013 typhoon and in Nepal after the 2015 earthquake. Non-members will also be very welcome at what promises to be a very interesting talk.

Our next working party will be on Saturday 11th February from 10 am until 1 pm. Non- members who wish to see what we do will be made very welcome even if they only wish to stay for a short time. Meet at the Hagg Farm end of Intake Lane. All tools will be provided but please wear strong shoes or wellies.


The Grapevine Parish Magazine entry for January 2017

Our November lecture reminded us all of how vulnerable our countryside is to invasion by “alien species” from Japanese Knotweed to the American mink. We remain vigilant in Hagg Wood, particularly for Ash dieback, and hope we never see the Muntjac deer. We have increased our efforts in bramble clearance to enhance our bluebell area and have identified some areas where we will create glades to increase biodiversity.

Our Spring programme is taking shape and the following are dates for your diaries. Please watch out for our next newsletter for further details.

Saturday 8th April –   Visit to Drax Power Station and Nature Reserve.

This visit will include lunch, time in the Skylark Centre and Nature Reserve and a guided tour of the Power Station. Drax produces 7-8% of the U.K.’s electricity half of which is fuelled by biomass.

 Wednesday 24th May   –  AGM and Lecture

Our speaker will be Jonathan Dent, Nature Reserve Manager at St. Nicholas Fields. He will be talking about his work at this local nature reserve and other current projects, including water course management and water voles conservation.

Saturday 3rd June –  Cycle Ride to Ellerton Church.

 Our next Woodland Working parties will be held on Saturdays the 7th January, 11th February, 11th March, 1st April, 13th May, 10th June, and 8th 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.

For further details of all of our events and activities please visit our website at