MCT Activities in November & December 2017

All are welcome to our Annual General Meeting at Dringhouses Library at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 9th January 2018.  It will end with a short film showing what we have been doing (and why) over the past 15 months.

At our last volunteer session of 2017 on December 14th, Adam Mike, Dave and Malcolm sprinkled gravel on the path behind Goodwood Grove Houses where it was getting a bit muddy.  They also cleared away soil that had been dumped around one of the vents.

A useful volunteer session on Thursday 7th December.  Ellie, Adam, Mike, Dave and Malcolm trimmed back encroaching brambles, self-sown hawthorns, dogwoods and roses alongside Nelsons Lane.

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At our Sunday volunteer session on November 26th we cut down the suspended top of a tree that had snapped in the wind and Ellie added it to the dead hedge.  Later we trimmed hazels beside the main path and removed one of 3 Field Maples all growing within  1 square metre, to give the remaining 2 more space to develop.

In the 3rd week of November we planted a few hundred more English bluebells on the site, after first weeding out a lot of ground elder to reduce competition.  We also collected a lot of fallen leaves from the path and grass verges/banks and transferred them to our leaf-mould container.

We do a lot of leaf clearing from path and grass verges in November, to prevent the formation of a muddy path when wet leaves get trampled in and cycled over. Photo below is the path after clearing on November 19th at the LIttle Hob Moor end.

We thought you might like this shot showing some of the Autumn colour  on the Mayfields trees in the early evening on November 1st behind a house in Goodwood Grove.

We were delighted to be able to finish cutting the meadow on November 1st to get it ready for winter.  We have taken off a lot of grass for composting elsewhere on the site to help keep soil fertility low.

 

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MCT Activities in September and October

On October 28th we put up a display showing the sort of jobs MCT volunteers do throughout the year on one of our two information boards.  Photo shows the MCT secretary, Louise, topping up the box containing Membership application/renewal forms.

Getting the meadow ready for winter is now more or less complete (on October 21, 2017).  We used scythes this year for the first time and now have 3 for future use.  We’ll be having a volunteer session at 2 p.m. on Sunday 22nd, working down near the gate.  MCT would really welcome any extra help if you can spare an hour and care about Mayfields.

On October 11th we managed to work on the meadow for 3 h between showers.  We’re starting to make sure grass won’t be too short for winter use by dog walkers etc. and will be an attractive green sward.

We trim around patches of vegetation still in flower though.  We’d welcome any help from volunteers for an hour or so from 2 O’Clock on Sunday15th to complete the task if weather is fine as forecast.

As usual in Autumn we’re doing a bit of pruning (avoiding nests), keeping verges mowed, and starting to clear leaves from the path so they don’t turn to mud when trampled in.  Volunteers are particularly welcome at this busy time of year so please contact us or look at our Facebook page.

 

MCT Activities in July & August

We plan to do some more trimming on the meadow on August 20th 2017, starting to get it ready for winter use and helping maintain a very diverse wild flower population.

Meanwhile here are a few shots by Adam Ridgeon-Cousins taken at our Thursday volunteer session on August 17th, giving examples of what we work for on Mayfields apart from people. We hold volunteer sessions on Sunday afternoons, starting at 14.00.  Do come and join us for an hour or two if you’d like to help keep Mayfields north of Nelsons Lane beautiful.

Regular site users may have noticed that in July we have started reducing the number of Crack Willow branches that were starting to overshadow the young trees MCT planted beside the path at the Little Hob Moor end.  These were planted over the last 2 – 3 years.  We’ve also been shortening the grass there and taking cuttings off for composting to help reduce soil fertility.  This also makes more water available to the young trees.

On July 13th 2017 there were literally dozens of butterfliles, moths and bees on the wild flower meadow.  Mike Ridealgh caught a few on camera including a six-spot burnet, a ringlet, a gatekeeper and a shaded broad-bar (see below).

Mike also caught on camera a 7-spot ladybird, a common soldier beetle and a froghopper.

MCT Activities in May & June 2017

We’ve seen lots of butterflies and bees on site this year, especially Yellow Brimstones, Large Whites, Commas, Peacocks, Red Admirals, Orange Tips and Holly Blues and Small Blues.  You can see some photos on our Facebook Page.

We hold volunteer sessions on Sunday afternoons, starting at 14.00.  Do come and join us for an hour or two if you’d like to help keep Mayfields north of Nelsons Lane beautiful.

We checked for the regrowth of Japanese Knotweed for CYC at the end of the first week in May where we have been trying to eradicate it from the site.  It was encouraging that we only found a solitary small plant in the area where growth was greatest last summer, and that has now been given an initial treatment, as photos below show.

Dead Knotweed stumps in treated area (above), and the solitary survivor just prior to treatment (below).

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MCT Activities in March & April, 2017

It’s been a busy 2 months for us, but we had a lot of help from our volunteers from Askham Bryan College, especially Adam, Ellie, Tom and Dale, working alongside the field work co-ordinator and our regulars, Margaret, Lesley Paul, Louise and Pam.  Ruben Fernandez joined us too at the end of April.  You can get a detailed overview on our Facebook page.  We are having volunteer sessions on Thursday and most Sundays (from 14.00).

We always look out for frogs etc. when mowing/strimming

The snowdrops planted in-the-green ,by Ian Tomlinson, with a little help from Malcolm, flowered  well.  We were also pleased with the flowers this spring on the Wild Daffodils MCT planted alongside Nelsons Lane a  couple of years ago.

We managed to plant several Yew Trees, Hollies and Beech Trees (donated by Bettys) around the site.  We kept them watered and they are doing quite well.  Evergreens are helpful in retaining water from winter rain (helps reduce mud on the path!).

Ellie, Adam and Mike planting hollies from Bettys.

MCT Secretary Louise watering newly planted young trees

We’ve spent a lot of time looking after the mature trees on the site, making sure they have enough space, light and water to grow, but are a bit concerned about possible occurrence of Ash dieback on a couple of trees.

MCT Chair, Margaret Silcock, was back mowing verges just a few weeks after breaking her risk in a fall.

Easter Sunday was our biggest disappointment as most of the primroses, cowslips, English bluebells and Foxgloves we had planted over the past 2 years at the N.W. corner of the site were severely damaged by trampling during an over-enthusiastic but unsupervised Easter egg hunt someone arranged on the site without consulting us.

Pam & Louise often extend their litter-picking to the children’s playground.

 

MCT Activities in January & February 2017

We had a good session with  Adam, Ellie Tom and Lauren (our Askam Bryan Volunteers) on 9th Jan.  We managed to improve tree architecture for some birch trees while coppicing hazels and trimming roses to give the birches more space and light to grow.  We also spread 6 bags of 20-mm pea gravel at the south end of the rear path, which had become very muddy and slippery after recent heavy rainfall.  You can see their efforts and the progress of our Snowdrops on our Facebook page.

On 27th Jan we decided to move access to the composting area so that it was no longer via a slippery slope.  As the photo shows Lauren, Tom, Ellie and Adam extended the dead hedge to define the route, which is now much safer.

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As well as spotting the first snow drops flowering on Feb 2, we noted that our recently installed leaf-mould container seemed to be functioning well.

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It was nice and warm for our Askham Bryan volunteers on Thursday19th.  They worked with Mike and Malcolm  removing some dead wood and excessively competitive growth from the north end of the west bund and collected up more fallen leaves for the leaf-mould container.  That enabled them to add pea gravel to that end of the rear path where it had been getting muddy and a bit slippery.

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On Jan 12th our Askham Bryan volunteers were back, and helped Mike & Malcolm erect a more permanent storage area (posts and green PVC-coated mesh) for preparation of useful leaf mould. It allows free air entry and has a loose cover to stop it getting too wet at times.  Ellie and Mike spotted another fascinating centipede lurking under the old storage bags.

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Adam, Ellie, Tom and Lauren were back on Mayfields on 5th Jan, working with Mike and Malcolm trimming over-grown roses (some with much dead wood!), hazels and guelder rose beside the path.  As you can see we were distracted by 4 hungry/optimistic robins, so Mike’s heading off to catch one for a photo (you can see the other 3 on our Facebook page).

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You can also see shots of some interesting soil fauna on our Facebook page.

MCT Activities in November & December

A big thank you to all our volunteers for all their hard work over 2016 and especially to our helpers from Askham Bryan who have made such a difference to the site over recent months.

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It was great to have Dave Moore back at our Sunday volunteer session on Mayfields on December 4. Dave was able to advise MCT on the safest way to use a new Brushcutter on loan from a Trustee (upper photo).  Dave and Tom compared its performance with that of a Grass Trimmer (lower photo). We were impressed by the Brushcutter’s efficiency when used in the strimmer mode behind Goodwood Grove houses.

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On December 1st our volunteers from Askham Bryan did an excellent job, mowing the meadow at 6 cm ready for winter use, and clearing brambles etc. and strimming the grass behind the houses along the southern half of Hobmoor Terrace.

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Top photo shows Ellie, Tom, Lauren and Adam after clearing brambles growing through a local resident’s fence and the lower one the cut grass at the Nelsons Lane end.

A few more photos (thanks Adam!) of our Askham Bryan Volunteers (Ellie, Adam, Lauren and Tom) working on improving Foxglove Corner at the N.W. corner of the site we manage.  One shot though shows a fascinating root growth pattern on one of the brambles at the site.
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11-11-20163We had a good full-day sessions on November 3rd and 10th, helped by out students from Askham Bryan as well as Malcolm and Mike. We hope to have a session on Sunday 13th November too and volunteers would be welcome to come and help finish getting the meadow ready for winter use if they turn up at about 2 O’clock (weather permitting!). Photos below show the current state of play after Thursday’s session, and some of the soil fauna we try to protect. We always take care to save frogs on the site.

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