MCT Activities in May, 2022

Mike and Malcolm were out on Thursday May 26th, finishing (well almost) restoration of the width of the path to the underpass and doing some verge mowing later in the day.

On May 20th we decided that the nettles and other plants encroaching across the path to the railway underpass needed reduction to keep the path safe. It was done by hand-weeding rather than strimming to help reduce the soil fertility (and hence regrowth) at the path edges in the longer term.

Before and after shots show why the job was needed. As usual one of the local robins watched on, looking for lunch.

Mike and Malcolm did some trimming of the overgrown grass and rose between the gate and the playground on the morning of May 19. Malcolm went back in the evening and finished the job (well almost!).

Another excellent session on May 7th. Lesley mowed the tall grass in several areas while Kathryn, Mark and Malcolm trimmed back overgrown dead and living blackthorns and dogwoods starting to emerge and block the verge on the north west side of the main path.

Malcolm managed to trim the grass and Ground Elder crowding out the native English Bluebells at the northern end of the site on Thursday morning.

Kathryn and Mark Crozier with 2 of MCT’s battery mowers on Sunday, 1st May 2022.

Good to have Kathryn’s brother Mark joining us again on May 1st to help with mowing and trimming some lower over-extended oak branches beside the main path.

MCT Activities in April, 2022

April has been a busy month for our volunteers, reducing some overgrown or dead trees and lots of mowing the path verges as well as a fence repair and selective plant removal in new shrubbery area.

Good to see the large plastic bags of soil deposited here last year replaced by logs.

Hopefully the last remaining sheet of board will soon go too!


Kathryn and Malcolm on April 24 reducing competition behind Shrubs planted by MCT last year.
Alan strimming grass behind Hobmoor Terrace houses.
Kathryn mowing on April 16.

Replaced broken fence bar on April 14

MCT Activities in March 2022

Just a rminder about the MCT AGM at 7 p.m. on Tuesday March 15th at Dringhouses Library. The meeting will start with a short presentation from Malcolm Cresser showing MCT activities throughout 2021. The business meeting will follow.

Lovely day on Sunday 13th, so we had our first mowing session of 2022 on one of the more sheltered areas of the site.

A useful 2-hour session with Kathryn and Malcolm on Saturday 12th. The removed a large, mainly dead, branch of willow suspended in a fork between 2 tree stems.It took several stakes. Later Alan Marsden cut up the material cut off in the composting area.

Finally managed to disentangle the hanging section.
Some sections snapped off easily when rotten at the base.

MCT Activities in February 2022

Clearing up after storns like Storm Eunace takes some time and safety is one of our prime concerns. Malcolm and Mark and Louise Crozier did a good job on 2 damaged trees on Saturday 19th of February, and Alan and Malcolm tackled a few more on Sunday Feb 20.

Alan tackling a hanging branch by the path.
Because of the advanced fungal attack damaged branch and a lot more was removed.

Someone managed to knock down the main gate off Nelsons Lane on February 10th by demolishing the gate post. Malcolm and Lesley made it safe that night using chains and padlocks, Alan, Paul and Malcolm took a couple of hours in the morning on Friday 11th to support the old gate post with straight and right-angle brackets as a more secure temporary fix. Later Malcolm also gave the gate a much-needed coat of wood preservative.

The broken post.
The repair team (Alan and Paul).
A working gate again.
And finally the preservative-treated gate later that day.

A useful session on Saturday February 5th 2022. Kathryn and Malcolm trimmed the rose near the bench beside the path to stop it overhanging the path and dug out the grass encroaching onto the path where it was reducing the path width.

Before we started – photo shows rose hanging over the encroaching grass.
Job after an hour of work. Looks neater and more importantly is safer too.

MCT Activities in January 2022


Malcolm cut the offcuts up in the composting area on the following Friday morning.

Branches to be cut to small lengths
Job done after 2.5 hours.

On 27th January Mike and Malcolm trimmed the trees overhanging the Yorkshire Water box on Nelsons Lane and a gtree overhanging the main path. Mike dragged the large felled branches up to the composting area to be cut up later.

We were delighted to have a new MCT member, Alan Marsden, join Kathryn and Malcolm on Sunday morning on Jan 23rd to help trim the guelder rose shrubs in front of the maturing Ash trees beside the main path.

Alan and Kathryn cutting up offcuts for composting

Kathryn and Malcolm spent a pleasant hour and a half on Saturday Jan. 22nd removing another limb of the 4-limbed Alder beside the Nelsons Lane playground. It had to go to make more water/nutrients available to the 2 remaining limbs in extended periods of dry weather in summer. It was also growing into the adjacent tree.

Limb on the right had to go.
Tricky job for Kathryn to tidy the cut
A joyful indicator that Spring is on the way.

Looks even better after adding another 10 bags on 12th January! That’s 39 in total so far.

Seemed to be working well so added another 5 bags of gravel on January 11th to widen both strips.

Kathryn and Malcolm were back out on Mayfields on January 8th, assessing priority jobs for the volunteers for the next few months. Top of their list was adding pea gravel to both sides of the main path at the Little Hob Moor end to provide a drier walking area with safe social distancing. They were back out with Louise on Sunday 9th to add 7 bags of gravel to each side of the path.

This is a lot better but more will be needed.

MCT Activities in December 2021

Another useful leaf and twig clearing session on Sunday 19th December, this time just inside the Nelsons Lane gate.

Kathryn and Malcolm worked on the area for just over an hour.
An hour later – this massively reduces thick mud formation on the path over winter

Managed to treat fence with wood preservative on Friday December 10, so had time for clearing twiggy litter off of grass and paths, felling an excessively spindly overcrowded birch and trimming the ash tree on Nelsons Lane wrapping itself around a street lamp, all under a heavenly blue sky at about 11 degrees C on December 12th.

The Ash tree after an hour or so of trimming.
Mike and Kathryn after helping Malcolm clear twigs and leaves and just off tom fell a problem birch.

Kathryn and Malcolm started to repair the Nelsons Lane fence on Saturday December 4. They managed to get the 2 broken lengths of wood off, and measured up to replace them with new wood, hopefully on Sunday morning.

The 2 broken sections that were removed

November ended with a few very stormy days that brought down many twigs and branches onto the main Mayfields path. Not surprising that December started with clearing as much as possible off the path before it got trampled to much and turned to mud.

Twiggy derbris hetre.
Leaves raked off grass verge first before raking path.
Looking better after an hour and a half working in the rain

MCT Activities in November 2021

Leaf-fall has been very heavy and prolonged in Autumn of 2021. The session on November 22nd was about number 8 already, but another useful 2 hours to minimize future mud formation on the main path over winter.

Just 2 hours made a big difference as the photo below shows!

Malcolm and Kathryn finished mowing the wildflower meadow and turned their attention to clearing leaves from the main path and mowing verges. On Sunday 14th though they felled one of the 4 limbs of the Alder which was struggling for water earlier this year beside the playground on Nelsons Lane.

Great to have 7 members of GoodGym helping Malcolm, Louise, Kathryn and Lesley on November 6. They trimmed the final corner of the meadow and reduced the overgrown Dogwoods west of the main path.

Another 2 hours on November 5 was enough to finish the SE corner of the meadow.

Lovely day for more work on the Meadow on November 4th. Malcolm did another 2 hours of trimming grass, joining up the patches cut on October 30th by our good friends from GoodGym. He even managed to clear leaves off the path for an hour too to keep mud development there under control.

MCT Activities in October 2021

Great to have 10 members of GoodGym helping Malcolm, Louise and Kathryn make a start on trimming the wildflower meadow on October 30th, in spite of the heavy rain. They made excellent progress.

On October 24th Kathryn and Malcolm worked at the Nelsons Lane end to make room for a potentially very attractive Oak tree. This involved felling a Cherry that was too close and some small Hawthorns and mostly dead roses.

On 25th Malcolm finally got around to cleaning one of the MCT information boards and adding a display of photos of leaves from 30 of the important tree species taken on Mayfields North in September.. Education has always been an MCT objective as well as maintenance.

Finally managed to finish pollarding the Willow. Proved quite tricky as it was rather tall but managed it safely. It should be easier to manage in future years.

Managed to avoid the rain on Wednesday 20th by going out at 9.30 a.m. and got 2 hours in starting to pollard a Grey willow. Couldn’t do it last year because of pigeon’s nest.

After a day of rain on Tuesday, on Wednesday 6th Malcolm made a start on widening the shorter grass verges around the meadow. Later he also made a start on reducing the over-grown Dogwoods west of the main path.

Looking good after clearing leaves from north end of the main path on October 3rd. Thanks Kathryn for another valuable session.

1st October was a good morning to put a new Silky professional pruning saw to good use for felling a Scots Pine in very poor condition as part of our on-going plan to reduce competition and increase water and nutrient availability for remaining trees.

A quick job with the new saw, fell exactly where planned.
Tip of the crown of the felled tree in very poor condition post drought.

MCT Activities in September 2021

A useful session on 23rd September prior to the Zoom Meeting later at 7.30 p.m. about climate change impacts on Mayfields. As well as trimming some shrubs growing over path edges Malcolm and Mike felled another of the trees on the bund suffering from being too close to other trees and contributing to the on-going drought stress problem on Mayfields.

An excellent session as part of York Environment Week on September 19th when 16 people participated in a tour of Mayfields North to assess worrying damage to trees cased by climate change and rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. Thanks to Pam Brown for the photos.

Malcolm and Kathryn spent an hour on Sunday September 12 weeding out some of the brambles etc. from the recently planted shrub restoration area.

On Saturday morning Malcolm managed to trim back a massively over-grown rose, ivy and an adjacent hawthorn that were depleting soil moisture and nutrients available to a a nioe oak tree growing alongside Nelsons Lane.

Hard pruning of a largely dead rose besxide the playground to allow safer entry to the grass area.
We removed more overhanging and dead rose and hawthorn by the informal path down to Nelsons Lane.

MCT activities in July & August 2021

We decided to add another 8 bags of gravel to fill the puddle at the northern end of the main path on August 27th. We used half 20 mm and half 10 mm gravel to get a smoother surface.

We have been doing a lot of opening up the canopy at the north end of the west bund in August. This is enabling us to select the best trees and give them mores space (less competition) and apply trimmed material as a surface mulch to conserve water in drought periods and help build up soil organic matter to improve moisture retention.

Mike trimmimg back round one of the better oaks at this end.
The more open canopy.

The MCT Fieldwork Manager, Malcolm Cresser, will be making a Zoom presentation on September 23rd about how climate change influences MCT’s management of the northern section of the Mayfields Public Open Space as part of York Environment Week. Contact Malcolm if you would like to participate.

Climate change potentially poses real challenges to groups llike MCT that manage an area of public open space like Mayfields. In our management strategy it’s important to consider what is changing and what we can do about it.

In the 3rd week of August we have done quite a lot more trimming of overgrown vegetation on Mayfields North. Mostly brambles and nettles behind Hob Moor Terrace houses, but also of dead trees (often Alder and Birch drought casualties) and rambling roses on the bund.

Mike and Malcolm felling some of the dead trees and trimming seedling trees under the canopy

With Adam, James and Adam R-C to help on August 10 we were able to do more trimming alongside Nelsons Lane in the morning and, in the afternoon, lower the crown on a Silver Birch that had become too tall for where it was growing. Silver Birch are not particularly drought tolerant so it will be interesting to see if the reduction helps in this respect.

Lowered by about 5 m. Material was used to top part of the dead hedge.

Malcolm managed to trim the mix of brambles and nettles encroaching across the Highways land by Nelsons Lane on Sunday/Monday 8/9th August. Quite a long job by hand weeding and secateur use.

Good to see the concrete edge to the Highways land re-emerging again!

We had a problem with a large branch cracking on an Elder early in Auigust. It was hanging over our newly planted native shrub area. Fortunately Kathryn and Louise were available to help Malcolm remove the branch in sections and cut up for composting and transfer to a dead hedge. With care taken no shrubs were damaged.

Kathry carefully lifting first cut off section of broken branch over shrubs.
Louise and Kathryn helping cut up leafy end of broken branch for composting.

First of August already! We spent a lot of time trimming grass, re[pairing the path and starting to trim overgrown shrubs in July. The increased incidence of periods of drought means we have to remove some of the competing ground cover shrubs etc. so the trees get enough water.

After Trimming the edge to the back path, 31 July 2021

Quicker to cut down than it is to cut up to smaller bits for composting!

Trimming in progress. Material is cut up and composted on site.

Trimming dogwoods.

Malcolm, Kathryn, Lesley, Mike and Adam took advantage of days with better weather to do a lot of mowing, strimming and selective weeding on Mayfields throughout June. The grass on the meadow is taller than expected downslope this year, probably because of the weather so we have been doing some selective clipping there.

Images (from top left) show Kathryn planting Oxeye daisies {produced by Mike), Lesley Abbottt helping treat the fence wyh wood preservative, Adan Cresser helping se;ectively trim vegetation round new shrubs, Adam Cousins and his mum takink down a dead willow to make room for a young oak tree growing behind it, Kathryn and Lesley helping mow round young trees at the start of July, and primroses exposed after selective removal by Malcolm of velcro plant, nettles and ground elder in the Bluebell dell area (where they were smothering more desirable plants).