Selby Abbey is this year celebrating its 950th anniversary since its foundation in 1069, and this is a chance for an Autumnal cycle ride to visit it. We will take a cross-country route, including passing the heavenly planetary bodies along the Solar System cycle path between York and Selby.
We will meet outside the Children’s Play Area on Intake Lane at 10.00am for a round trip of some 32 miles. There are several nice cafes in Selby to choose from for our lunch stop, including one at the Abbey itself. If both you and your bike are in good condition, join us if you can for what should be a very enjoyable ride.
Our next work party is on Saturday 7th September and we would be delighted to see any new volunteers. We meet at 10.00am at the Welcome to Hagg Wood information board at the entrance to the wood. We work until 1.00pm with a break midway.
We will be working with brush cutters and hand tools to cut back brambles in the Bluebell area to enable the bluebells to thrive in the springtime. All the necessary tools are provided. Bring gloves if you can, and wear stout shoes or wellies.
My gardening diary tells me that on the 1st September we pass from summer to autumn. I wonder if Hagg Wood is aware of that. On a recent walk through the wood, admittedly in mid-August, before the deadline for this article is met, I looked out for signs of the approach of autumn. The foxgloves have all withered, but there still a few other flowers in bloom. There is not much bird song as our summer visitors are leaving and the residents are keeping quiet after raising broods of young. Trees are still in full leaf. Some of the paths have patches of mud created by the summer rain, however the ancient pond and ditches are quite dry. The main signs of the approach of autumn are the glowing red rowan berries and the ripening blackberries.
Autumn is a good season for our work parties as the weather is usually moderate, the ground is relatively soft, and we are not having to be careful of nesting birds. Keeping the ground clear of brambles, rhododendrons, and self-seeded saplings, all of which cut off sun-light and choke recently planted young native deciduous trees, is a never ending job for the few of us who take part in the work parties on a regular basis. We would be very pleased and welcoming to anyone who joined us. There is a good friendly spirit and usually some nice welcome coffee and cake at the mid-morning break, with the opportunity to make new friends. The dates of the next work parties are at the end of this article.
Our Autumn programme consists of a Cycle Ride to Selby Abbey on Friday 20th September, a talk on ‘Raptor Persecution’ by Stuart Grainger, from the Rural Crime Squad, at 8pm on the 6th November in the Reading Room. On Friday the 8th November there will be an excursion to Castle Howard Arboretum. More details of these events can be found on our website: www.fohw.org.uk Work parties Saturday 7th Sept, Friday 4th October and Saturday 16th November.
August is a lovely time of year to visit Hagg Wood and there is no doubt that to be outdoors and observe nature is an uplifting experience and is good for our wellbeing. There is so much to see and enjoy at all times of the year and we are very lucky to have such an amenity close to Dunnington. Evidently the amount of woodland around York is not particularly abundant.
The efforts of the members continue and these are voluntary, helping to improve and restore the Wood to its original splendour by the removal of non-indigenous and invasive tree species and also planting new specimens. Recent working parties have concentrated on taking out silver birch from around young oaks enabling these slow growing icons of our countryside to receive more sunlight and grow more quickly. Many of the young oaks were planted by local school children to commemorate the millennium. Creating more space meant that we had to be careful not to disturb birds’ nests and the fallen birches provide excellent bug hotels!
As you can imagine the rate at which biomass grows in the Wood is greater than the rate at which it can be controlled and the Wars of the Rhodos is set to continue for quite a while. For this reason we welcome enthusiastic and hard working people of all ages to come and join us for our working parties which are from 10am to 1pm if you can spare some time during these periods. Everyone is now aware more than ever of how important it is to conserve our environment for future generations to enjoy. Our working parties produce good results and there is always lots of friendly banter! Our next working party is on Saturday 7 September.
Meanwhile, enjoy the Wood, the summer and be a friend of Hagg Wood.
Our next work party is on Saturday 13th July and we would be delighted to see any new volunteers. We meet at 10.00am at the Welcome to Hagg Wood information board at the entrance to the wood. We work until 1.00pm with a break midway.
We will be working with hand tools to cut down rhododendrons to the south side of the Stone Road to create more space for bluebells and eventually have the area open through to the present bluebell area. All the necessary tools are provided. Bring gloves if you can, and wear stout shoes or wellies.
The bluebells may have finished flowering for this year in Hagg Wood, but we can now enjoy beautiful displays of pink, purple and white foxgloves. These tall elegant flowers seem to do especially well in the year following disturbance of the soil which took place when Forestry Commission’s contractors were working in the wood doing some drainage improvements. Following this our work party volunteers spent some time removing dead rhododendron branches which disturbed the ground further. The foxgloves are most abundant in the north eastern section of the wood, reached by the track known as Styron Way which leads to views of Scoreby.
Our AGM in June was well attended and we all enjoyed a very interesting talk on Langdale Forest on the North York Moors by Brian Walker who worked for the Forestry Commission for many years.
On a more serious note we have had reports of fires being lit in Hagg Wood. This could lead to severe devastation if the fire was to spread. We were reminded of this with the dreadful fires on Ilkley Moor and Marsden Moor earlier this year. If you think your children or grandchildren could be tempted to have a campfire in the wood, please remind them that this is forbidden by Forestry Commission and could have serious consequences.
The other problem we have is dog waste being left in plastic bags along the path edges in the wood. There is a bin at the top of Intake Lane so please be a responsible dog owner. The majority of dog owners are very conscientious about this, but it only takes one or two thoughtless people to spoil our magnificent wood for everyone else.
Our next work party is on Saturday 13th July from 10 am – 1pm. New volunteers are always very welcome even if they can only stay a short time. We meet at the notice board at the entrance to the wood from Intake Lane.
Our next work party is on Saturday 22nd June and we would be delighted to see any new volunteers. We meet at 10.00am at the Welcome to Hagg Wood information board at the entrance to the wood. We work until 1.00pm with a break midway.
We will be working with hand tools to clear brambles and brash around planted trees and check on their condition in the Jubilee area adjacent to the Stone Road.
All the necessary tools are provided. Bring gloves if you can, and wear stout shoes or wellies.
In the warm dry Spring it has been wonderful to experience the beauty of Hagg Wood. The fantastic display of wildflowers rewarding our efforts to hold back the brambles and promote good growing conditions along the rides and ditch margins. Although the bluebells have been stunning this year I seem to have noticed more primroses than ever before. Birdsong also seems to be increasing with even more willow warblers, balckcaps and chiffchaffs.
The Forestry Commission and FHW have carried out work in the Millennium Area to reduce the birch trees and to “halo cut” around the young oaks we have planted. Oaks need lots of light to survive, they cannot regenerate in closed-canopy conditions. No species of native tree supports more life forms than an oak and it is amazing to think that the oaks we have planted may still be around in 900 years.
Our Autumn Programme is coming to together. We will have a talk by Stuart Grainger from the Rural Crime Squad on 6th November. He will speak on Raptor Persecution which continues to be a very controversial issue, especially on grouse moors. We also have plans for an excursion to the Castle Howard Arboretum and a cycle ride to Selby Abbey.
Our work parties will continue to battle with brambles and clear around many of the trees we have planted.
Woodland Working Parties Conservation in Action These will be held on the mornings of 22nd June and 13th July so do put these dates in your diary. Meet at 10am at the Hagg Farm end of Intake Lane. Bring gloves if you can, and wear stout shoes or wellies.
Brian Walker will be giving us the benefit of this experience in his presentation on the lessons to be learnt from seeking to manage Langdale Forest in the North York Moors National Park. He has had over thirty years’ experience as the Wildlife Officer of the Forestry Commission in the North York Moors district.
His presentation will immediately follow our AGM.
Dunnington Reading Room at 8.00pm.
Members Free, Non-Members £1.50
Our next work party is on Saturday 11th May and we would be delighted to see any new volunteers. We meet at 10.00am at the Welcome to Hagg Wood information board at the entrance to the wood. We work until 1.00pm with a break midway.
There will be two teams working with hand tools to:
a. clear brambles and brash around planted trees and check on their condition in the Jubilee area adjacent to the Stone Road.
b. cut down self-seeded overhanging trees and shrubs in the Main Ride ditch opposite the Millennium area.
All the necessary tools are provided. Bring gloves if you can, and wear stout shoes or wellies.