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.

MCT Activities in January & February 2019

Why not come to our AGM at 7.30 on Feb 5th at Dringhouses Library  to hear about our work over the past year and discuss future possible plans?

More restoration of width of the main path on Sunday Jan. 20th, this time at the Nelsons Lane gate end.  Many thanks to James, Ethan and Holly who helped Malcolm and Louise.  We managed about 45 ft on the west side of the path.

It’s hard to believe we’re already well into 2019, but a Happy New Year anyway.  Mayfields is looking  good for the time of year after all the efforts our volunteers put in through Autumn and early Winter.  Last year at this time we were busy clearing excess Autumn leaves from verges etc.  As we managed that earlier we are now starting to trim the path verges where grass and roots from trees are encroaching onto the main path.  We do this at regular intervals to stop the path disappearing over a few years. You can hear a summary of our efforts over 2018 if you go to the AGM at Dringhouses Library in the evening on February 5th.


Look carefully and you can see on the left the beneficial effect of scraping away about 10 inches of encroaching grass and the soil forming around it.

MCT Activites, November & December

Our last volunteer session of 2018 was on Thursday 13th December when Adam, Mike and Malcolm did a final clearing of trampled twigs and leaves off of the path near Little Hob Moor.  Watch this space for announcement of our first session in 2019.

Meanwhile if you are a member of MCT can I please remind you that the 2019 £5 annual subscription is due by January 1st?  Please send cheques made out to Mayfields Community Trust with your contact details to the MCT Secretary, Louise, at 30 Goodwood Grove, Dringhouses YO24 1ER.  As all our work is done by unpaid volunteers this income is very important to cover insurance and replacing ageing equipment, etc. or purchase of plants.

New members are always most welcome, so why not come to our AGM at 7.30 p.m. on February 5th at Dringhouses Library?  The Fieldwork Coordinator will give an interactive talk on what MCT has been doing over the past 12 months and on our future plans and aspirations.  We would welcome your views.

It’s been quite a long drawn out and very wet autumn but we did manage a bit more leaf removal when it got to December 2nd.  We had a very pleasant afternoon session when it was not only dry, but quite warm too.

Wire lawn rakes are used to scrape trampled-in leaves from the path to avoid build up of organic mud, but the rotary mower can still be used to gather and shred leaves from grass verges (if not too many).

With some typical Autumn weather so far in November we’ve been doing lots of clearing of leaves off the paths and trimming some of the overcrowded trees along the west bund.

Great turn-out at the volunteer session on November 4th, with Malcolm, Louise, Paul, Lesley, James, Ethan, Holly, Tim and Pam

MCT Activities in September & October 2018

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.

MCT Activities in July & August

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.



MCT Activities in May & June 2018

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!

MCT Activities in March and April 2018

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.