MCT Activities in May & June 2020

It has been near drought conditions in York for the past few weeks, but we have been managing to keep the poppy, cornflower and corn marigold patches watered.  Malcolm was rewarded for his efforts by the first poppy flower on May 25th and the sight of several more buds.

The combined impact of social distancing and drought on Matfield over recent weeks has not done a lot for our lovely green path verges!

The Field-work co-ordinator was delighted to get caught in a shower of rain while doing some urgently needed trimming of the rambler rose overhanging the notice board at the Nelsons Lane end.  It reminded him to print some more recruitment leaflets.

A bit more on May 23rd!

An unfortunate impact of the lack of Green Bin collections due to the Corona Virus has been the amount of garden waste being dumped in the Mayfields Compost area.  This will be a bit more difficult to manage while MCT is unable to have group volunteer sessions.

The Field-work Co-ordinator has been using short exercise sessions on the site observing appropriate social distancing.  It has allowed some mowing of verges and strimming alongside Nelsons Lane in Late April, and selective strimming around trees and bluebell clumps.  Social distancing by the public has generally been excellent.

On May 1st Malcolm was delighted to see numerous Yellow Rattle seedling emerging in the area established in December 2019 as part of a Dringhouses and Woodthorpe Ward Grant from CYC.

MCT Activities in March & April 2020

Not much happening on the site at present in early April because of Corona restrictions, but we are managing to raise a few wild flower plug plants while in isolation, looking forward to better times.  Meanwhile  Keith has wedged the gate open at Nelsons Lane so anyone taking gentle and well spaced exercise can pass through without touching the lever or catch.

We cannot have volunteer group sessions until further notice because of the Corona virus regulations,  but Pam Brown kindly used her short and well-spaced exercise walk on Mayfields on the 29th March to take some excellent photographs in the bluebell dell area.

Cowslips planted by MCT starting to flower again

The Native English daffodils planted in the green in clumps alongside Nelsons Lane are looking particularly good this year.  One group, now in its 3rd year, is shown below.

A pleasant day on Sunday March 8th for work behind Hobmoor Terrace houses.  We also spread 6 bags of gravel on muddy parts of the path behind Goodwood Grove houses.

We took advantage of the lovely sunny weather on 5th March for a litter picking session.  As well as the usual sweet and crisp wrappers several plastic bags had blown in over recent storms and MIke managed to dig out a dumped broken child’s scooter.

It was good to see the 4 clumps of wild daffodils planted in the green by MCT last year starting to flower again by the Nelsons Lane notice board.

Mike and Malcolm also did some more restoration work on the path edges, raking off mud from the recent storms and spreading a thin layer of gravel.  We have a bit of a problem with cyclists going over the verges and transferring mud onto the main path!

Great to see the first of our Wild English Daffodils starting to flower beside Nelsons Lane on March 1st, a perfect start to Spring!  We were actually out working on the path, recycling some turfs dumped on the site to restore the main path edges at the Little Hob Moor end.  We hope this will reduce the number of thoughtless cyclists who go over the verge to avoid shallow puddles.

Well done James!

MCT Activities in January & February 2020

We were out on Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 26) scraping the worst of the mud and twigs off of the path near Little Hob Moor  and marking out the path edges with logs, ready to spread a layer of gravel (hopefully on Thursday).

James and Malcolm had a useful day on Sunday 23rd February.  Between showers they started to remove mud and a lot of twiggy material off from the main path.  A lot of this material was the aftermath of storms Ciara and Dennis.

After adding 8 bags of pea gravel as a top dressing there was a considerable improvement.

We have started planting out Poppy, Cornflower, Scabious and White Campion plug plants in and around the meadow.  These were  grown by MCT over winter and hardened off to improve biodiversity in accordance with our Management plan agreed with CYC.

A well-rooted Scabious plug.

Great to have Chloe helping improve the Poppy patch that she helped set up in 2019.

Nice to see the Blackthorns MCT added 3 years ago coming into flower again on February 18th 2020.  We try to have something in flower all through the year for pollinators.

A very successful AGM on Feb 3rd 2020 with 21 attending (and 13 apologies!).  We got 2 new members, pushing our total up to 76.

At the end of January 2020 we are starting to add more shrubs to start screening off the red brick wall extension beside the back path at the N.W. end of the site.  The photo below shows Mike Ridealgh after he had helped Malcolm plant the first of the new trees and shrubs.

This one had been grown on for a year to give it a larger root ball to help it establish more quickly in the heavy clay soil in this area of the site.

It was good to see the snowdrops doing well beside the path on Sunday 19th January.

Cold but sunny on 19th and 20th January.  Good conditions for Malcolm, Adam, Tim and Louise to remove (for safety reasons) a large, dead branch of a willow overhanging the path near Little Hob Moor.  On Monday we also cleaned some graffiti from the back of the information board and rescued a beech tree planted a couple of years ago which had got smothered by bindweed last year.

  Adam using the pole saw at full extension

The rescued beech tree with a new stake fitted.

On January 10th Malcolm & Louise took advantage of the sunshine to fit the new top to the vandalized bench beside the path.

We hope you enjoy our efforts to beautify Mayfields North of Nelsons Lane for both the public and wildlife management.  Annual subscriptions (still only £5) are now due for renewal for 2020 and can be mailed to the MCT Secretary, Louise Cresser, at 30 Goodwood Grove, Dringhouses YO24 1ER.  You can copy the membership form from the Membership page on this web site into Word, or simply provide the appropriate details on plain paper with your payment.

Not much happening on the site in the first week as we have been working on restoring the damaged bench.  A useful job to do in the conservatory we also use for growing wildflower plug plants.  Many thanks to Paul and Lesley for help with bench repairs and to Tony and Frances for a very generous donation towards the bench restoration costs.  It really boosts motivation when people tell us how much they enjoy our  efforts to keep Mayfields beautiful.

A Happy New Year to all.  We were out on January 1st checking possible ways to restore the burned out bench, and also because we had been notified about a dangerous heavy branch that had snapped off and was hanging over the path near Little Hob Moor.  Malcolm managed to pull it down and break it up for removal,  It had been attacked by bracket fungus and was very brittle so we will need to check the rest of the parent tree.

MCT Activities in November & December 2019

Upsetting to find on Decembr 29th that someone had set fire to one of the 2 benches that MCT had installed on the site in earlier years.  They cost over £400 each when new so we will investigate if restoration is possible.

Encouraging to see the primroses starting to flower in mid December’

Heavy morning frost on 1st December 2019 so Malcolm and James concentrated on potting on assorted wildflower seedlings that will be hardened off and planted out next year.

In the afternoon we prepared some strips for establishing Yellow Rattle from seed.  Hopefully the seedlings will appear early in Spring next year.

Beautiful day on Sunday 10th Nov. for Malcolm, Adam, Holly and Louise to do more leaf clearing, mowing beside Nelsons Lane and planting more wild Foxgloves.

Our volunteers are busy with the usual late Autumn/early winter activities.  These include finishing mowing the meadow and removing trimmed material, clearing fallen leaves from paths before they produce mud and pruning overgrown and/or mis-shapen trees.

We keep path overhang under control to reduce litter fall and keep the path lighter.

Before (above) and after (below clearing leaves.

MCT Actities in September & October 2019

On the 28th October Louise, Mike and Malcolm set up the MCT Gazebo in Dringhouses Library ready for their Thursday event. The next day Pat Proctor, Chloe and Louise helped Malcolm trim the vegetation growing through the fence from Mayfields into the Nelsons Lane playground.

With help from James and Mike Ridealgh. Malcolm had about 90% of the wild-flower meadow trimmed by 23rd October when heavy rain stopped activities for a few days.  We hope to be out again on Sunday 27th October at about 11 (remember clocks go back!) if anyone would like to help.

Photo shows the remaining sector (wee bit of a challenge for the mower!).

By Oct.19 we had managed to trim half of the wild-flower meadow, getting it ready for winter.  Hope to have another volunteer session on Sunday Oct. 20th, at 11 and again at 2 in the afternoon.  Any help would be most welcome, just come and find us on the site.

This photo of Mike Ridealgh on October18th shows effects of the 3-step process, strimming to reduce clumps, raking and then mowing at 4 cm.  We’re always on the lookout to protect frogs and toads!

We have also been filling some of the depressions in the main path recently.  They are mainly caused by roots growing under the path.

The photo above shows the typical small puddles formed after prolonged heavy rain. Photos below are shots before and after adding pea gravel and levelling on October 15th 2019.

   

 

By October 13th, 2019, MCT volunteers had done 8,000 hours of unpaid volunteering on the Mayfields site north of Nelsons Lane.since they started in 2012.
We’re getting well into Autumn now. A good time for planting Fritillary bulbs kindly donated by Tim Shepherd, but also important to start trimming the meadow before winter sets in. We also work on the paths between showers, weeding the main path and collecting up fallen leaves before they turn to a muddy deposit.

Corner of the meadow trimmed on October 15th.

 

Before and after shots of rear path after gathering leaves with a mower.

MCT is grateful to the Dringhouses & Woodthorpe Ward Committee for financial support to set up patches of poppies, cornflowers and corn marigolds around the edge of the wildflower meadow.  We will add new seeds in autumn and spring each year to areas with carefully prepared soil.  The plants in our earlier trials with poppies did not set seed.  We think this is due to pollinators preferring other flower species blossoming at the same time as the poppies.

Poppy pods with no seeds at end of August. 

 

Phil Richardson working on cornflower patch on September 4th. Soil was dug to a spade depth and 120 litres of peat-free organic matter added to improve growth conditions.

 

MCT Activities, July & August 2019

We have been doing a lot of selective removal fo plants like Ground Elder, Docks and Ragwort recently, the last two to prevent too many seeds being dispersed.  The wetter periods earlier mean everything has been growing rapidly, so we have been doing  much mowing and strimming to keep paths clear.  We were  pleased to see our trial poppy patch flowering in July.  Second photo shows Chloe, one of our junior DoE volunteers, trimming vegetation growing around new trees/shrubs we are establishing on part of the site.

 

 

MCT Activities in May & June 2019

We’ve done a lot of mowing and strimming verges beside the path and the grass paths around the meadow in May.  At the end of the month we turned our attention to the path behind Hobmoor Terrace houses, which needed a bit of work with the brush-cutter on May 31st.  Before and after photos below show why it needed to be done.

Before

After

After a bit of rain everything has been starting to grow quite fast.  We plan on thinning ground cover on some parts of the site where shrubs and young trees are at risk of being starved of water, nutrients and light.  Photo below is an example, taken on May 5th.  It shows Paul & Lesley Abbot after helping Malcolm for 3 hours at the N.W. corner of Mayfields.