MCT Activities in September & October 2020

We have been having a lot of trouble recently with people dumping their garden rubbish without permission on MCT’s compost area.  Fly tipping is illegal.  The other day a large pile of green waste was dumped illegally from someones overgrown garden.  It contained a lot of old ivy and other climbing plants.  Much was wrapped around a substantial wrought iron garden arch or gate and some long and heavy wooden posts.  In the process of trying to throw it over the dead hedge they broke down the hedge support posts which will have to be replaced for safety reasons.  Sadly it will take a lot of time and quite a bit of expenditure to restore  the dead hedge.

Mike and Malcolm finished trimming the meadow on 14th October so Malcolm could start gathering leaves from paths and trimming grass around young trees beside Little Hob Moor on 17th October 2020.  It was a lovely morning for the job and the bird song was exquisite.

We had a great session on October 4th 2020 with 7 GoodGym volunteers joining Louise, Lesley, Mike and Malcolm to trim about 80% of the wild-flower meadow getting it ready for winter use.  We used sheers and grass-hooks and also MCT’s 3 scythes to good effect.  We were really impressed by the brilliant work of Good Gym for more than an hour and a half even before they served up cake at the end of the session!



At our Sunday volunteer session on September 27th Lesley Abbott weeded the remaining path edges at the gaps between the path sections weeded by GoodGym on Tuesday.  Paul and Malcolm mowed the grass area behind Hob Moor Terrace houses and alongside Nelsons Lane.

We had a very useful session with GoodGym  York volunteers on Tuesday evening September 22nd).  Their group of 8 helped Malcolm.Lesley and Louise with path weeding.  Their hard work and excellent spatially distances company made for a very pleasant and helpful evening.

Strong team out on Sunday 20th September 2020.  Lesley, Paul and Adam used the 3 mowers and Malcolm used the strimmer.  Louise and Pam went litter picking.


Very upsetting to find that the young oak tree grown on and planted out by MCT behind the new bench a few weeks ago had been pulled up and dumped by mindless vandals.

Fortunately it had been watered on Saturday afternoon so with a good reeot ball may survive after replanting.

Malcolm mowed both sides of the fence along Nelsons Lane on Sunday 13th September while Pam Brown and Louise did some more trimming behind Goodwood Grove houses.

The grass and ground elder was getting a bit too tall around the young trees planted by MCT in recent years so we decided to give it a trim on September 5th.

Before (above) and after (below) trimming on September 5th, 2020.

September1st was a good day for working on the main path edges.  To maintain the path in the long term we need to control the encroaching grass and dandelions (mainly).  If we don’t do this the path gets narrower every year.  These before & after photos show why the work is essential.

MCT Activities in July & August 2020

Managed to start mowing main path verge and cleaning/reorganizing information boards in spite of the rain on August 27, 2020.  Spotted Mike Devil’s Bit Scabious on the way back – good to see benefits of all Mike’s efforts with this species.

Mike and Malcolm planted an Oak tree behind the new bench on August 26th to provide even more shade there in future.  It was grown from an acorn a few years back and passed on to us to grow on and plant out.

We were horrified on the way back to find a bag of illegally dumped medical waste between the playground and the MCT-managed woodland area.  We would be grateful for any information on its origins.

As the grass gets very worn in front of the other 2 benches that MCT has installed on Mayfields North, on August 17th we inserted 4 paving slabs in front of the new bench.  We put a weed barrier under them after stripping away the turf to reduce weeds in the gaps and made them flush with the surface for safety reasons..

Over the week up to August 16 we managed to dig holes for the installation of a new longer bench on Mayfields so that it could be installed on the 16th by Malcolm & Louise, Paul & Lesley Abbott, Mike Ridealgh, Adam Ridgeon Cousins and Pam Brown.  Thanks are due to the Dringhouses & Woodthorpe Ward Committee for their financial support towards the bench.

A helpful session with Mike Ridealgh on 5th August.  We managed some more trimming of Crack willow branches overhanging the path and cut these up for composting.  Mike and Malcolm then cut up the branches deposited in the compost area earlier to keep the surface flatter and safer.   Some illegally dumped garden waste deposited there during lock-down was posing a trip risk.

A large branch of Crack willow was left hanging insecurely after recent wind.  As soon as MCT heard Malcolm went out (on July 30th) and cut down the hanging branch in several stages.  Off cuts were dragged to the MCT composting area to be safely cut up later.

Before (above) and after (below) trimming.

Useful session in spite of light rain on July 26th.  Malcolm did some tidying behind the information board at the north end of the site while Pam and Louise did litter picking and more tidying near the main gate.

We also worked on path verges behind houses at the north end of Goodwood Grove.

Malcolm couldn’t resist another quick shot of the wildflower meadow when walking across Mayfields North (just because he thought it looked lovely).

Mike and Malcolm had a valuable 3-h session on Wednesday 22nd, mowing, trimming and strimming at the southern west half of the main path and beside the path across to the railway underpass.  The latter is important to protect the young trees that MCT planted there 3 or 4 years ago.

More trimming on Sunday 19th, this time between the gate and the playground.  Meanwhile Pam and Louise helped dispose of off-cuts and took some excellent photos after a litter-picking session.

A lovely day on July 17th for mowing alongside  main path.

After 3 days of effort from Mike Ridealgh and Malcolm the trimming back of (mainly) nettles, bindweed, brambles and velcro plant behind houses  towards the southern end of Hob Moor Terrace was almost completed on 15th July.

Pam Brown, Louise and Malcolm had a valuable hour-and-a-half session working beside the gate on Sunday 12th July.  We’re deciding what’s best to plant there now.  It’s important as it’s beside the main site entrance.

It has been a productive start to July, with Malcolm, Adam, Mike, Lesley, Paul, Louise and Pam all working on the site at various times with appropriate social distancing.  The meadow is looking excellent just now as are all the path verges (on July 8th).  The grass has recovered well following the rain after being trampled by socially-distancing walkers crossing the site.  We have also been working behind Hob Moor Terrace homes and alongside Nelsons Lane, as well as beside the path to the railway underpass.

Main path verge after mowing to facilitate 2-m social distancing.

Trimming alongside  Nelsons Lane. and some of the wildflowers left there.

Trimming back ivy beside path for re-seeding verge.

Meadow Browns and Ringlets were abundant on July 6 and 7.

MCT Activities in May & June 2020

Paul came out on June 25th to help repair the damaged battery mower.  He realized that a hair dryer was the best way to soften the replacement plastic wheel support by temporarily softening the self-locking lugs that held the axle in position.

Great to have Paul and Lesley Abbott back on Saturday 20th June helping Malcolm trim back the ivy creeping over the path edge.   Mike was back again on Wednesday 24th to help tidy up a pear tree behind Hob Moor Terrace, damaged in bad weather a couple of weeks earlier.  Steve had also done a lot to tidy that area.  Corn flowers and corn marigolds were doing well.

We are starting to have small volunteer sessions at last with appropriate social distancing and all outdoors.  Good to have Mike Ridealgh back to help with mowing at 6 cm while Malcolm used the strimmer around trees and the Yellow Rattle plant area to reduce competition.

We managed to plant some Devil’s Bit Scabious plants Mike had raised for MCT.

We also took some photos of the Poppy and Cornflower and Corn Marigold patches MCT has established.

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.



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.