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.



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.

MCT Activities in March & April 2019

The main area of English bluebells is starting to look really attractive after all our efforts over the years.  The photo shows what part of it looked like after another hour of selectively removing velcro plant, ground elder, nettles and some docks and buttercups on Sunday morning on the 28th April.  Stll more to do though.

We were joined by lots of butterflies while working on the English bluebell area on Thursday 18th April, as well as our favourite robin.  Adam was quick enough to catch a Speckled wood on camera.

More mowing and strimming in the morning on Sunday 14th (by James and Malcolm) alongside the Nelsons Lane fence.  Holly and Louise joined them in the afternoon to help with preparation of a seed bed for poppies.  You can see more on our Facebook page.

On April 11th Mike, Adam and Malcolm mowed the verges beside the main path and the grass path behind Hobmoor Terrace.  Later they cleared a patch at the rear of the native English Bluebell area and planted some native foxgloves.

We took a break from the path restoration on 31st March to help a resident in Hobmoor Terrace who needed space to install a new garden fence.  The brambles/rambling rose and nettles there were a bit of a problem that needed to be sorted anyway!

Working on the final path section on the west side on March 28th proved to be a real challenge for Lesley, Malcolm and Adam.  Many, many roots above and below the barrier beside the path here were starting to grow right out across the path, posing a possible future trip risk if not removed.  It was a real axe and pic job, and thus quite slow.

We were out again on 25th and 27th March (2019).  On Wednesday 27th Tim and Malcolm finally managed to complete restoration of the eastern side of the path.  Having scraped off mud and grass they added 4 more bags of pea gravel.  It was pleasing to get so many favourable comments from passing path users about how much safer the path was when cyclists went past and how much better the drainage was too.  We still hope to finish by the end of March.

Three great sessions this week.  Lesley, Adam, Mike, Tim, James and Malcolm scraped encroaching soil and grass off of 2 long sections of the main path and added fresh gravel to the edges.  First photo below (from Pam Brown) shows how near we are to finishing by the end of March.  On 24th Match James, Ethan and Louise helped cut up a large pile of shrubby vegetation that had been cut down because it had caused partial collapse of a garden side fence.  It was added to the compost heap (second photo from Pam).

The weather has not been too bad so far so we have been making really good progress with restoring the path back to its original width of 2 m.  Photos show how far we have got by 13th March.

In spite of much heavy rain the treated area down to Nelsons Lane was puddle free.

The MCT field-work co-ordinator (Malcolm) is very grateful to the volunteers who made this possible (Lesley & Paul, Adam, James, Ethan, Mike, Louise and Holly) and to the Dringhouses & Woodthorpe Ward Committee for funding the first 100 bags of gravel.  Photo below shows some of the team in action.

Generally grass and soil encroachment had made the path 5 feet narrower than it originally was. 20 years ago.

MCT Activities in January & February 2019

Why not come to our AGM at 7.30 on Feb 5th at Dringhouses Library  to hear about our work over the past year and discuss future possible plans?

More restoration of width of the main path on Sunday Jan. 20th, this time at the Nelsons Lane gate end.  Many thanks to James, Ethan and Holly who helped Malcolm and Louise.  We managed about 45 ft on the west side of the path.

It’s hard to believe we’re already well into 2019, but a Happy New Year anyway.  Mayfields is looking  good for the time of year after all the efforts our volunteers put in through Autumn and early Winter.  Last year at this time we were busy clearing excess Autumn leaves from verges etc.  As we managed that earlier we are now starting to trim the path verges where grass and roots from trees are encroaching onto the main path.  We do this at regular intervals to stop the path disappearing over a few years. You can hear a summary of our efforts over 2018 if you go to the AGM at Dringhouses Library in the evening on February 5th.


Look carefully and you can see on the left the beneficial effect of scraping away about 10 inches of encroaching grass and the soil forming around it.

MCT Activites, November & December

Our last volunteer session of 2018 was on Thursday 13th December when Adam, Mike and Malcolm did a final clearing of trampled twigs and leaves off of the path near Little Hob Moor.  Watch this space for announcement of our first session in 2019.

Meanwhile if you are a member of MCT can I please remind you that the 2019 £5 annual subscription is due by January 1st?  Please send cheques made out to Mayfields Community Trust with your contact details to the MCT Secretary, Louise, at 30 Goodwood Grove, Dringhouses YO24 1ER.  As all our work is done by unpaid volunteers this income is very important to cover insurance and replacing ageing equipment, etc. or purchase of plants.

New members are always most welcome, so why not come to our AGM at 7.30 p.m. on February 5th at Dringhouses Library?  The Fieldwork Coordinator will give an interactive talk on what MCT has been doing over the past 12 months and on our future plans and aspirations.  We would welcome your views.

It’s been quite a long drawn out and very wet autumn but we did manage a bit more leaf removal when it got to December 2nd.  We had a very pleasant afternoon session when it was not only dry, but quite warm too.

Wire lawn rakes are used to scrape trampled-in leaves from the path to avoid build up of organic mud, but the rotary mower can still be used to gather and shred leaves from grass verges (if not too many).

With some typical Autumn weather so far in November we’ve been doing lots of clearing of leaves off the paths and trimming some of the overcrowded trees along the west bund.

Great turn-out at the volunteer session on November 4th, with Malcolm, Louise, Paul, Lesley, James, Ethan, Holly, Tim and Pam

MCT Activities in September & October 2018

We’ve been making good progress over October with paths, woodland and the meadow.  We had an excellent volunteer session on the 21st with Malcolm, Tim and James hand weeding ground elder and nettles and excess creeping buttercups to start to prepare our English Bluebell Dell area for spring.  We were pleased to welcome Stephen and Jo back in the afternoon to help Malcolm, Louise, James and Ethan mowing verges and trimming back dome over-crowded trees beside the main path.  Thanks to Pam Brown for the Photographs.

Malcolm.Tim and James reducing competition on Bluebell Dell

Dogwoods in Autumn colours in October


It’s a  relief to be getting rain again after the drought problems through July and much of August.  They had a strong impact on grass verges and the meadow, but things are starting to recover now.  We have started to take grass off on the meadow earlier this year and half has now been done by September 9th.  We hope to get another crop of wildflowers on the zone we cut earlier.