MCT Friends of Mayfields Activities in June 2023

Great to have Mike Ridealgh back volunteering on Mayfields on June 1st. Mike and Malcolm had an excellent 4-hour session cutting back overgrown vegetation beside the main gate and around the noticeboard.. Offcuts were composted elsewhere on site.

Malcolm had another 2-hour session on June 2nd starting to catch up with strimming and mowing behind Hobmoor Terrace garden fences.

After a 2-hour effort.

MCT Friends of Mayfields Activities in May 2023

Another useful volunteer session on May 24 with Lesley, Paul, Paul and Malcolm. It involved extensive mowing of verges, removal of excess nettles and docks at the north end of the main path, and removing an illegal padlock fixing the Nelsons Lane gate open.

A 4-hour blitz with both mower and strimmer on the grass alongside Nelsons Lane on Saturday May 20th, between the Playground and Hobmoor Terrace. We left some substantial strips of wildflowers for habitat diversity and took grass off for composting elsewhere on the site.

Back to other routine tasks on Monday morning, May 15th, strimming carefully around daisies near the gate getting ready to treat this section of the fence there, and pricking out Ox-eye Daisy seedlings in the afternoon to produce plug plants to enhance the wild flower distribution on the meadow as part of our Co-op Community fund supported programme starting in the Autumn.

Using long plugs to hopefully improve drought tolerance after planting out the plugs.

Took another 25-feet branch down on May 12th. A bit tricky because of proximity of trees we want to maintain so had to come down in several sections using a pole saw.

If you look at picture below you can mentally reassemble the tall branch and will see why it was a job that took care and planning. A lot to cut up for disposal before taking down the next large branch!

CYC workers on May 6th took the final stump sections of the first 2 problem goat willows (with roots thought to possibly be damaging an adjacent house) down to ground level and treated them with herbicide. Job was made easier for them by all the careful preparation by Malcolm, Lesley, Paul , Alan and Tim over the previous week which had disposed ofthe upper 25 feet of the canopy. Meanwhile, on May 7th, Malcolm started removing some large lateral branches from the other major problem goat willow.

Look carefully and you can see where 2 of 3 major limbs were removed.

Good to get back to our more regular activities like strimming under the Nelsons Lane fence and mowing verges now the main part of a problem willow is disposed of. Lesley and Malcolm managed an hour of grass trimming on May 2nd.

MCT Activities in April 2023

Another very tall limb down on April 29, cut to fall due south this time instead of north. Just two more to get down. Lesley Abbott did a great job of disposing of the off cuts. Malcolm also cut down some interlocking high branches and rambler rose branches from the top of the tree to facilitate cutting down the last two sections tomorrow. Thanks to Louise for taking the photo.

After a very successful and enjoyable AGM on April 24th, Malcolm, Louise, Lesley and Paul were back out on Mayfields on April 25th felling another 3 limbs of the problem willows.

We have started to reduce some large goat willows too close to a couple of Goodwood Grove houses at the south end of the site. They may start to cause problems if roots grow into adjacent gardens. It’s best to do this before the trees grow too large. Meanwhile it was good to see the wild primroses we’ve established on the adjacent bund starting to grow well.

Fine morning on April 11 after a lot of rainfall overnight. Fine for Kathryn and Malcolm to do a useful hour’s mowing east of the main path around the young trees.

April has started with a series of routine jobs. The mowing/strimming season has finally started with strimming between the Nelsons Lane gate and the play park along with trimming back rose overhang on April 2nd by Malcolm. Meanwhile Alan Marsden has been working hard to keep the composting area safe and tidy at the other end of Mayfields.

We keep the grass short around the fence posts to help with their long-term survival (to allow wood preservative treatment at the post bases).

We do our best to maintain the composting area in a safe and tidy condition. Alan did a great job here at the end of March.

MCT Activities in March, 2023

We had no internet for the past 11 days from TalkTalk but back on at last now. We’ve been doing a lot of path improvements to the main path and the informal path behind Goodwood Grove houses, including some removal of a couple of trees in the wrong place as well as adding more pea gravel. Delighted to see how well the Cowslips were doing on March 27th in our study of the benefits of adding P and K to subsoil when they were planted out last Autumn. The results were a bit surprising as these 2 are typical of those which had no P or K added!

Lesley, Paul, Louise and Malcolm took advantage of the rain over Mayfields on Saturday night to identify the significant depressions in the main path that needed to be filled with pea gravel on Sunday 12th March. They used 11 bags over an hour’s work. This helps to reduce trampling on the grass verges.

Good dry weather on Mayfields on March 4th, ideal for careful selective trimming of growing grass, docks, nettles and velcro plants, while taking care to trim around English bluebells, primroses and pulmonarias in the bluebell area. We also gathered up a lot of twiggy material and some larger fallen branches there.

MCT Activities in February 2023

Good to see Adam Cresser back on Mayfields during a visit on February 25th. He was admiring the sequence of wildflowers on a quick tour, from Snowdrops to native Daffodils and Primroses to Cowslips. He particularly enjoyed the Blackthorn blossom on trees planted by MCT a few years ago though.

Quite cool on February 22 on Mayfields but fine for doing a bit more clearing of vegetation that was starting to invade the path behind Goodwood Grove houses. We plan to replant this area with attractive native shrubs that will be more manageable over the next few years.

Before (left) and after (right) shots of the section cleared on Wednesday 22nd February, 2023. Still a bit more to do before replanting..

The overnight rain went quite early on Thursday morning, leaving pleasantly mild conditions for Lesley & Paul, Alan, and Louise & Malcolm to do more work behind the Goodwood Grove houses. We managed to cut back a willow growing through the fence panels at one point as well as disposing off-cut material at the composting area. Thanks to Louise for her excellent photographs.

.We started to reduce the brambles growing towards (and sometimes through!) the fences of Goodwood Grove gardens on February 15th. There’s more to do and we’re also reducing the leaf cover there to give more light to the buried wildflowers.

Malcolm, Louise, Lesley and Paul took advantage of the sustained dry weather on February 3rd to clean and apply wood preservative to the small gate and fence beside it now these were accessible.

Louise and Lesley after a job well done. Paul also managed to reinforce the slats on the adjacent fence on either side of the playground.

With help from the Council on February 1st we managed to dispose of the two locks that had been added (by someone without permission) to hold the Nelsons Lane gate permanently open. The gate opens easily both ways and closes automatically. It was installed for safety reasons to reduce the risk of children and/or dogs running straight out into the road.


On Saturday morning, 28th January, Alan, Lesley, Paul, Malcolm and Louise tested the erection of the MCT gazebo with a replacement canopy. It was done in a back garden to familiarize us with the slightly different design and make sure it was a good fit.

Lovely to see so many of the 3000-plus snowdrops planted by MCT volunteers with help from Ian Tomlinson in past years starting to flower again at the north end of the main path on Friday 27th January. The native primroses are a bit later this year but coming on well. The hazels were almost as beautiful as the bird song.

Great to have 4 excellent Goodgym volunteers out on January 14 to help Louise and Malcolm clear the heavy fall of twigs and small branches off of the southern end of the main path before they (the twigs!) got trampled in too heavily and formed mud.

The small side gate entrance to Mayfields should be automatically closing to reduce the risk of young children and dogs running out into the road. Unfortunately someone, probably a cyclist, has locked it open. We have put a notice on the gate asking them to remove the locks if they want to keep them.

Great to have Paul and Lesley Abbott out helping on January 12. We managed to strim and mow on either side of the Nelsons Lane fence and trim back several of the shrubs starting to encroach across the grass area. It’s important to keep the line of vision around the bend beside the Playground clear.

It was a useful session too yo show that the Mayfields Volunteers Ap Lesley set up for Malcom was working well. If you’d like volunteer to work in Mayfields for the odd hour or two and to join the group to hear of upcoming volunteer sessions, and you use Whats Ap, just send your name and mobile number to Malcolm.

We had a short break from field work over the festive season, but spent time circulating a members Newsletter and collecting Annual Subscriptions. Many thanks to the 45 members who have paid already and especially to those who added extra donations to support our work. It’s a very encouraging response. New members are always welcome too, as are new volunteers.

Malcolm was back out again on January 4th, clearing away some fallen and dead branches following the recent periods of windy weather.

MCT Activities in December 2022

Many thanks to our supporters via the Co-op Community Fund too. Activity levels were a bit lower during the last part of December due to the prolonged severe frosty conditions.

Cold but dry on December 1st 2022 on Mayfields. Good weather for Mike and Malcolm to work on restoring sections of the main path at the southern end to reduce grass encroachment and mud formation. Raking was followed by adding a fresh top dressing of pea gravel.

MCT Activities in November 2022

Before and after spreading another 5 bags of pea gravel on a muddy section of the main path on November 30th.

A bit different on Thursday 24th November. Mike came round to help Malcolm remove and cut up a branch hanging dangerously over the path by the dead hedge. Mike did an excellent job with the Silky pole saw at full extension (21 feet).

By November 22nd MCT had added 25 bags of pea gravel to fill the wet depression at the north end of the main path. Even after the torrential rain in the morning on November 23rd this area was still quite dry.

Reacent heavy rainfall really shows up the undulations in the main path on Mayfields as the puddles fill with muddy organic matter. On November 18-20 Malcolm added 15 bags of pea gravel to the biggest depression in the main path to provide a drier walking route.

Adding a few groups of Fritillaries after addition of P and K fertilizer to the subsoil locally prior to planting on Monday 14th November. Thanks to Louise for the photograph.

More leaf clearing on Sunday, using a mower to pick up and shred freshly fallen leaves from the path. It was good to see some beneficial effects already of the P and K added to sub soil of the recently planted out Cowslips.

Great to have Mike helping with clearing compacted muddy leaves off of the path at the Little Hob Moor end for 2 hours on Thursday afternoon.

Mike soon mastered our new technique with the long-handled leaf grabber.

Invested in a pair of long-handled leaf grabbers on Monday morning and tested them on site on the muddiest bit of the main path after scraping with a wire lawn rake. They certainly reduce the amount of bending required.

Another session of leaf clearing off of the path and some trimming of wild roses growing through the fence by the gate by Sabrina, Louise and Malcolm.

A useful session with Sabrina, Louise and Malcolm on November 3rd. We trimmed some large branches overhanging the eastern side of the Playground in Nelsons Lane and cut all the material up before moving it to the composting area

MCT Activities in October 2022

After planting the 3rd set of Cowslips on October 27th, Mark, Mike and Malcolm did some trimming of overhanging shrub branches to give more light (and potentially water) to the adjacent Cowslips. This set had P and K added to the sub-soil just below rooting depth. In the process it also provided better growth conditions for a small Yew tree, as shown in the photo below..

On 26th Mark and Malcolm transplanted out some more Cowslips, but this time added phosphate fertilizer to the 10-15 cm of loose soil blow the pot depth. Part of our Co-op supported project is to see if we can enhance wild-flower establishment by adding P and/or K.

Mark and Malcolm transplanting Cowslips after phosphorus addition. Thanks to Louise for the photo.

On Tuesday 25th October Mark, Louise and Malcolm started work on the MCT project being supported for a year by the local Co-op Community Fund to enhance biodiversity and wild flower species on the meadow. They planted the first batch of Cowslips that they had been growing on in a local member’s garden.

More leaf removal from the main path on October 23rd


Path after 80 minutes of leaf clearing. Thanks to Louise for the photograph.

Light rain on October 21st but OK for trimming overhanging rose and brambles becoming a nuisance on this corner of the site.

17 volunteers from GoodGym came out in the dark on October 17 to help Malcolm with weeding the edge of the main path and cut up branches overhanging the side path around the meadow. Louise provided excellent refreshments after all their hard work. We were really impressed the next morning to see what a really excellent job they had done.

Beautifully edged path the morning after. Well done and thanks to GoodGym.

GoodGym volunteers working by headlamp light at 19.00 on 17th October.

MCT was sad to hear about the death of one of our members in summer of 2022. Because walking on Mayfields was one of her favourite activities her daughter asked us if she could donate a tree to commemorate her mum’s love of Mayfields. The tree arrived on the hottest day of the year when the soil was very dry so we grew it on in a tub in a garden until the weather was better for planting a tree. On October 13th Malcolm and Mike planted it out very carefully on the site.

It had an excellent rooting system and, as the photos below, show it is growing well.

A useful double session on Sunday 9th of October. Great to have Kathryn back a.m. to help Malcolm mowing round the young trees and shrubs at the north-east end of the main path. Mariella, Alex and Louise helped in the afternoon collecting leaves off of the main path before they could turn to mud later in the year.

Kathryn using our recent replacement battery mower round young trees and shrubs.

Alek using a mower to collect up and shred leaves off of one of the back paths for composting on site

Mariella raking leaves to small piles to collect up and shred with the mower.

More mowing on October 6. Mike and Malcolm mowed both sides of the Nelsons Lane fence.

Mike was very happy with the new 4 Ah battery which lasted well over an hour.

A nice sunny afternoon on 2nd October was ideal for an hour’s mowing behind Hob Moor Terrace houses.

A good opportunity for Malcolm to test a new 4 Ah battery.

MCT Activities in September 2022

We mowed the area around the young trees beside the path to the railway underpass on September 29th as part of our scheme to maintain diverse habitats across Mayfields.

Only took just over an hour to do this job.

Malcolm and Louise added more logs and gravel to hel delineate the path edge on 27 September.

One of the jobs done by MCT at least twice a year is trimming the vegetation growing through the fence into the playground. Mike and Malcolm had a 2-hour session on this on September 22nd. It is important to remove thorny and prickly material.

Malcolm raking up the final traces at the end.
Mike making a start on the west side at the Nelsons Lane end

By September 18th we had finished trimming the dead vegetation on the meadow (via a series of 1 or 2-hour strimming and raking sessions by Malcolm, Mike and Kathryn). Sabrina and her friend Joey joined Mariella, Alek, Malcolm and Louise on the 18th to help mow around the outside of the meadow and collect up all the cut vegetation for composting.

Joey soon mastered the battery mower.
Sabrina used secateurs to cut the tougher dried stems.
Mariella and Malcolm hard at work raking up dried offcuts.

Alek with a very full bag to take to the compost area.

September 1st started with more trimming of mainly knapweed and grass on the meadow by Mike, Kathryn and Malcolm. Earlier than expected this as a consequence of trying to deal with droughty weather in York and listening to the local weather forecast for 3rd and 4th September.

Mike and Kathryn using a mix of secateur work and mowing.

Kathryn cutting one of the self-sown encroaching roses back to ground level.