We’ve been making good progress over October with paths, woodland and the meadow. We had an excellent volunteer session on the 21st with Malcolm, Tim and James hand weeding ground elder and nettles and excess creeping buttercups to start to prepare our English Bluebell Dell area for spring. We were pleased to welcome Stephen and Jo back in the afternoon to help Malcolm, Louise, James and Ethan mowing verges and trimming back dome over-crowded trees beside the main path. Thanks to Pam Brown for the Photographs.
Malcolm.Tim and James reducing competition on Bluebell Dell
Dogwoods in Autumn colours in October
It’s a relief to be getting rain again after the drought problems through July and much of August. They had a strong impact on grass verges and the meadow, but things are starting to recover now. We have started to take grass off on the meadow earlier this year and half has now been done by September 9th. We hope to get another crop of wildflowers on the zone we cut earlier.
The drought is becoming a potentially serious problem for some of the trees, especially the birches. We have been busy reducing competition from dogwoods, roses and Guelder roses by heavy pruning. The hope is that this will reduce water stress for trees we want to save. We have also been watering soil under the stressed trees heavily to the best of our ability.
Our 3 Duke of Edinburgh Sunday volunteers, Ben, Holly and Ethan, were a great help throughout June, especially with helping on the area reseeded with grass and wildflowers which needed regular daily watering. On July 1st it is starting to green up in patches. Many thanks too to Adam and Ellie and Lesley and Paul for all their help and also to Pam and Louise. Our main problem at the start of July is the impact of the extended period of drought.
The un-shaded grass verges beside the main path are in poor condition and, after another week of predicted hot dry weather, will take a few weeks to recover. Some deeper rooted wildflowers like Knapweed are a bit smaller than usual but surviving well.
Plants like the Foxgloves and Ox-eye Daisies are also surviving, especially in more shaded areas.
We’ll be hopefully (if it’s stopped raining) having the usual volunteer session on Sunday June 3rd at 2 O’clock if anyone would like to help fr an hour or so.
Great to have Holly, Ethan and Ben join our volunteers as part of their Duke of Edinburgh award programmes. With their help Mike, Adam and Malcolm finally managed by May 31st to finish breaking up the clay clods and levelling the soil behind the new extension wall in the northeast corner of Mayfields. They added leaf-mould, sowed a mix of grass and wildflower seeds and watered well in. Rain on 2nd June helped keep the system moistened.
We noticed on May 10 that some of our newly transplanted in-the-green English Bluebells had been trampled by humans and/or dogs. Adam, Mike and Malcolm therefore coppiced some hazel to make a small section of protective fencing, as shown below. This should help the bulbs to establish.
MCT has been working hard at our Sunday afternoon sessions recently, replacing Spanish Bluebells with native English Bluebells (you can find more on our Bluebells page). We have been carefully removing some of the Nettles, Jack-by-the-hedge and Ground Elder to reduce competition around the Bluebells. MCT is grateful for the help from Ben and Holly, who joined recently as Sunday afternoon volunteers getting experience towards their Duke of Edinburgh bronze awards, as well as to our usual team of Mike, Lesley, Paul, Adam, Ellie, Malcolm and Louise. We have also added more Foxgloves near one of the MCT information boards, and spent a fair amount of time watering new transplants.
I’m glad Paul and Malcolm managed to mow path verges for the first time this year on April 29th as it’s far too wet on Wednesday May 2nd!! In 2017 we had to start mowing months earlier!
We were delighted to welcome Ben Satterthwaite as a D of E volunteer on Sunday, April 29th, and Joy (his Mum) who also stopped to help. They worked around the Nelsons Lane gate area and on the path with Lesley, Louise and Pam while Paul and Malcolm did some mowing.
There was a volunteer session on Sunday 8th April, starting at 2. We moved some pruned material from behind Hobmoor Terrace houses onto the compost area. Many thanks to Lesley, Paul, Louise and Pam for the help and Pam Brown for the excellent photos.
- English wild daffodils along Nelsons Lane
Great to hear the bird song on March 5th and to see the spring wildflowers that had been protected from the harsh winds by the snow cover.
Primroses surrounded by emerging English bluebells, snowdrops and the first (hopefully of many more) wild daffodils to start coming into flower
Our first Sunday volunteer session on March 4th was cancelled because of the weather (Pam’s photo below shows why!). Do come and join us on Sunday 11th of March 2018 though.
We finally got to the last day in February. Mayfields was looking very wintery when Pam Brown caught the path, meadow and trees on camera for us.
Another great session on 18th of February. We managed more path restoration and took advantage of the warm 9-degree temperature to start sharpening the scythes ready for use in Spring.
A very useful Sunday p.m. volunteer session on 11th Feb, with Paul & Lesley Abbott joining Malcolm, Adam, Ellie and Pam. Pam caught the other 5 on camera, enjoying the wintry sunshine.
Adam, Mike and Malcolm started pruning guelder rose shrubs on Jan 28th while Louise and Pam picked up litter. Malcolm managed to prune the adjacent rambler rose in the mild, dry weather 2 days later. Then on 1st Feb., Adam, Mike, Dave Moore & Malcolm pruned the massively overgrown roses with a lot of dead twiggy wood at the rear of the Hobmoor Terrace houses. We also made a start on restoring path width at one section of the main path.
There won’t be a volunteer session on 21st January 2018 because of the snow. Meanwhile to cheer you up instead, here’s a photo of the first of this year’s snowdrops starting to flower yesterday. Its beside the path at the Little Hob Moor end
Another volunteer session on Sunday 11th Jan. Louise, Malcolm and Tim Shepherd treated the path network near Little Hob Moor with 11 bags of gravel where needed to get a safe surface.
Inspired perhaps by our well-attended AGM on January 9th in Dringhouses Library, Malcolm, Mike and Adam started the New year field work season on Thursday 11th Jan by improving the main path (making it less muddy for site users). We were watched throughout by one of the Mayfields optimistic Robins (which Adam Caught on Camera.
We hope to do a bit more path work at 2 on Sunday afternoon (14th Jan 2018) at our regular volunteer session. Any help would be gratefully welcomed.
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.
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.
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.