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).

MCT Activities, May & June 2021

  • We’ve been doing quite a lot of mowing and strimming between showers in May. On May 27th we had an excellent session with 7 members of GoodGym helping Malcolm, Louise and Lesley trim back vegetation encroaching over the south end of the main path. That allowed Malcolm to mow the exposed verge on Friday 28th, giving a safe area for walking on when passing at 2 m.

First photo below shows outcome on May 28th 2021.

Malcolm and Kathryn managed to mow carefully around new shrubs on May 2nd, in spite of the rain.

MCT Activities in March & April 2021

We have spent a lot of volunteer time up to April 14 adding an extra grass verge along the east side of the main path to facilitate safe passing during the pandemic. It involved removing roots of mainly ivy and nettles before laying turfs. At one stage half a dozen turfs were stolen by teenagers making a camp site of sorts on Hob Moor. Fortunately they were caught taking more so thanks to Lesley and Paul we managed to recover them all. Shots below show the verge looking north and south from the opposite bund.

Great session to end March with 6 of our friends from GoodGym helping Louise, Lesley and Malcolm cut up illegally-dumped garden waste at the N.E. corner of Mayfields and moving it round to the composting area. A very pleasant evening session.

March31-2021 (5)Almost the end of March and spring is arriving. Over the past 2 weeks we have done a tree check (thanks to Adam), added more gravel to fill the puddle at the north end of the main path, removed more ivy and nettles to extend the grass verge for safer passing with social distancing, and added a wild violet to our collection of photos of native wild flowers on Mayfields.  In the warm and dry weather we’ve had to do quite a bit of watering of recent shrub and tree addirions.

March 28 2021 (1)

Adam admiring one of many blackthorns

March 28 2021 (2)

Completion of a safe and wide path at the Little Hob Moor end.

March 28 2021 (3)

Watering an Rowan donated  (and planted) by Ian Tomlinson

March 28 2021 (4)

More ivy and nettle roots removed redy for adding more turfs on April 2nd.

March 28 2021 (8)

Lovely to see wild violets coming onto the site.

Paul  & Lesley did a brill job on Tuesday March 9 laying a turf verge between the area they had just helped plant and the main path.  Here’s hoping  cyclists will use their sense and avoid cycling on it unnecessarily.

We added a few pictures to one of the information boards on March 6 explaining about the planting recently done by Lesley, Paul and Malcolm beside the path near the Little Hob Moor end.  We thought they might be of interest.

Someone decided to fill the empty leaflet box with dry leaves over the weekend.  Fortunately we managed to borrow a useful pair of long tweezers from Pam Brown to help get them out before adding new leaflets.

A local resident presented us with a useful oak tree at the end of February to see if we could find a good home for it on Mayfields.  Lesley and Paul helped plant it near the newer bench at the back of the meadow on Sunday.  Malcolm watered it again on Tuesday March 2nd.

MCT Activities in January & February 2021

The photos taken on 24th show Paul and Lesley planting Guelder Rose with advice from the local robin.  We have already planted several blackthorn, hawthorn and hazel in the exposed area.

We have been hard at work in February, once the snow stopped, clearing ivy, brambles and nettles east of the path at the north end.  This was because of the felling of 28 large trees on the adjacent CYC-owned land by the owner of one of the cottages.  This left the rear of the cottages in full view from Mayfields main path.  After consulting the other adjacent residents we decided to establish a dense shrubbery of native species that will screen them from view again.  These should grow well with more light now available.

A bit snowy on Feb. 9th for solo fieldwork this week, so spent some time creating a display of what we have done so far in 2021. At least the dual-carriageway path for passing with safe social distancing seemed to be working well earlier. Good use of 30 bags of gravel.

Dual-carriage way path makes comfortable safe social-distancing passing easier.

On the 23rd Jan. Malcolm bought 10 bags of gravel to create a dry strip for walkers on either side of the main path. He hopes this will mean less folk trample on the snowdrops beside the path. Photos below show what was done.

It was nice to see the snowdrops in the wooded area away from the path were doing well on January 22nd. Sadly though the combination of social distancing and prolonged rain has resulted in hundreds being damaged badly by trampling on either side of the main path at the Little Hob Moor end.

We were disappointed to see the felling of may trees and shrubs immediately adjacent to the northern end on the site managed by MCT, east of the path. This is behind the 20-23 Hob Moor Terrace homes in an area leased to No 22. Sadly, apparently the adjacent home owners were not given a chance to object.

MCT Activities in November & December 2020

A new venture for MCT on December 10th.  7 of our good friends from GoodGym came out at 6.30 in the evening to help Malcolm & Louise scrape muddy leaf litter from the path.  This makes the path lighter and safer and reduces the rate of grass encroachment from the verges.  The work went really well, all done by the light of headlamps.

Many thanks to GoodGYm (even for the second photo).

A beautiful afternoon on Mayfields on December 1st 2020.  Malcolm weeded out encroaching grass and mud from the path near one of the MCT information boards before it became too deeply rooted.  Mike Ridealgh dug up some more stones/boulders that had been a problem to mowers and added them to the base of the repaired dead hedge/habitat wood pile.

A photo of the rebuilt dead hedge on 25th November 2020.  We also moved the adjacent mini-dead hedge back by about 30 cm to make it easier to turn in with the trolley.

Mainly leaf clearing from path and verges on November 14th.  But Malcolm also managed to add a few more branches to the dead hedge he’s been repairing with Mike Ridealgh and Lesley Abbott. A solos lock-down session on Saturday, hence the selfie.

Before and after shots above.  You can do a lot in an hour and a half.

Still a bit more to do to the rear of the dead hedge, but it’s now already strong, safe, and a doubling as a useful habitat pile.

MCT is very grateful to Paul & Vanita for the donation of 7 excellent turfs to help improve the eastern edge of the path at the north end.  This will greatly facilitate safe social distancing,

Also on November 7th Lesley and Malcolm did some more work on the dead hedge restoration.  More to do but getting a lot stronger as the work progresses.  A bit slow as we can’t have our normal volunteer groups during lock-down.

You can see above (compared with earlier photos below) we have added a rear row of stronger posts.  Eventually this will double as a habitat pile.

Since the start of November we have been busy rebuilding the dead hedge section that someone had badly damaged while illegally dumping garden waste in the composting area.  Mike, Lesley and Malcolm have been making good progress though there is more to do.  Photos were taken on November 5, 2020.

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.