MCT activities in November & December 2015

MCT managed to add 8 more bags of gravel to resurface the path around the end of the west bund near Little Hob Moor between 27th and 29th December, so it should be less slippery and less muddy for dog walkers taking new year strolls. Keeping it safe has been a challenge after all the recent rain!

We popped out in the morning of December 27th to check on how the main path was holding up after all the rain.  There are a few puddles (but water rather than thick mud) and numerous twigs scattered over it so we’ve been very lucky compared with much of York and Yorkshire.  The grassed path around the end of the west bund was very muddy though, and quite slippery.  It needed a spot of TLC from MCT.

Dec27PathPuddles

We did a bit of work to improve the path behind the west bund at the Little Hob Moor end on December 23rd.  It had become very muddy and slippery because of the heavy late autumn rainfall and use by some cyclists.  It would help if they walked their bikes if using the path behind the bund for short distances.

XmasCard edited

MCT Trustees and a few members/partners/friends enjoyed an excellent festive Xmas dinner at York College on Wednesday night.  Thanks to Pam for the photos.

 

On December 14 the MCT fieldwork co-ordinator started trimming away side shoots adding excess weight to a snapped off branch on a willow on adjacent CYC land beside Little Hob Moor.  Ian Tomlinson, one of our local tree wardens, has been working hard to improve this patch of woodland over recent months and has done an excellent job.  You can see a path he has opened up on the “Adjacent Areas” page of this web site.

Wind-damaged tree, December

Wind-damaged tree, December

Trimming of lower branches for safety reasons

Trimming of lower branches for safety reasons

On December 10th Dave, Mike, Adam and Malcolm finally managed to cut down the other half of the forked willow branch damaged by high winds in November on safety grounds.  You can see how it pushed a 3-extension Silky pole saw near to its limits in the Video clip on the Mayfields Community Trust Facebook page.

Dec10_damaged Willow

There was a break in the bad weather for our final Sunday volunteer session of 2015 on December 6 that allowed litter picking, checking for storm damage, removing twiggy litter off the path and Pam to photograph a few confused (by the weather/climate!) wild flowers, including red campion, daisies and next spring’s primroses.

 

 

Malcolm, Mike, Dave and Adam managed more path improvements on December 3rd and reduced the height of a few path-side hazels that were shading adjacent trees excessively.  The soil is so wet it was interesting to see water draining from the west bund channelling its way across the path in places!

What joy to see a bit of blue sky in the morning on December 2nd!  It gave us a chance to scrape humified leaves and twigs off of the path at the gate end after the recent prolonged wet and windy weather.  As you’ll see in the second photo below we have slightly deepened the layer of gravel there so the entrance looks neater and you can keep your feet dry and mud free when using the path.

TwiggyLitterDec2015

Improvedby GateDec2015

Ivy enveloping trees can look very attractive but makes it difficult to assess the health of what it’s growing around.  Recent high winds at the weekend brought down a substantial creeper-covered branch at the north end of the west bund, aided by the branch angle and high mass of creeper.

Branch&Creeper

Once the break was tidied  up it was easy to see why the collapse occurred.

Break Revealed Rotten Stem

Slightly shorter session on Sunday 22nd November but we enjoyed the morning sunshine while it lasted and made some useful repairs to the path.  You can see Ben below raking off excess leaves and organic soil before spreading pea gravel and stomping it in.

Nove2015    StompingNov2015

In November we continued our work on the vandalized trees, taking off the dead branches from high up for safety reasons but leaving the stems (with added drilled holes) for insects.  We also have been cutting back a lot of dead rambler rose wood behind the east bund.  In the process we managed to rescue three very spindly Scots Pines, which should now do a lot better with drastic reduction in competition for light, nutrients and water.

Strong winds on November 9th brought down a high branch from one of the crack willows beside the path.  It landed just off the path but shows the importance of MCT’s work to reduce branches of Crack Willow overhanging the path.

SplitNov 9 2015                              Nov 9 2015

Sadly we had to cancel the volunteer session timetabled for 10.30 on Remembrance Sunday due to awful weather.  However the weather improved considerably later so Adam and Malcolm  managed to coppice and/or reduce same hazels and reduced a few other trees that were getting too tall and shading out more desirable species on the west bund.

As promised, here’s one of the primroses flowering on November 2nd 2015.  It started to flower for the second time early in October.

Primrose 2Nov2015

But there were more wild flowers on Noveber 1 than I thought!  Pam also caught White Campion on the site (first time we’ve seen it) and a couple of late Poppies.  She also captured a rather confused Dogwood flowering very late (or very early?).  If I can we”ll get a shot of equally confused primroses tomorrow.

  

On November 1st there are not many wild-flowers blooming on the site.  Look carefully though and you’ll spot some Black Medic, Red Clover, Red Campion (from plug plants raised by MCT last year and planted under the trees near the gate), and the odd isolated Daisy (looks more impressive when enlarged!) and geranium.

RedCampion  Daisy

 

 

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