A Chairs View

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Good morning campers and tree huggers. For the last two weeks the ConVols have been working on the annual task of Himalayan balsam removal.

Hymilayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera)  is listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act in England and Wales therefore, it is also an offence to plant or otherwise cause to grow these species in the wild.

H.B is Britains largest annual plant growing to over  two and half meters and introduced  to the UK in 1839. Travelling both up and down stream H.B quickly dominates the riverbanks forcing other less aggressive species out,this in turn dramatically reduces the biodiversity of the river banks.

New Volunteers are often reluctant to work on this task as what they are seeing is a bonny relative of the Busy Lizzie plant and it is an attractive plant, thats why it was brought here all those years ago but it has to go. Anyone that has witnessed the way that H.B. colonise our river banks,will in a short time realise  that H.B. poses a major threat to our river and beck sides, with what can be catastrophic results to the indigenous flora/fauna.

If you would like to know more about this subject the net is full of info.R.H.S    

Rhododendron   Rhododendron ponticum (L.)pulling  is a very similar task to H.B. a stunningly beautiful plant grown all over the world, that has to go. Although it possesses attractive flowers R. ponticum has few attributes that offset the negative impact it can have on an invaded site.  It has been shown to reduce the numbers of earthworms, birds and plants and regenerative capacity of a site, leading to a reduction in the biodiversity of the area. Physical access to a site can be reduced by the density and size of mature bushes, and management costs then rise as the bushes need to be treated prior to other activities being carried out. Established bushes then act as a seed source for further invasions in adjacent areas, eradicating ground cover plants and interfering with the process of natural regeneration of trees.

The ConVols have contracted with the Woodland trust to continue with Rhododendron pulling in Raincliffe Woods and over the coming year we hope to make some dramatic improvement in the amount of this unwanted plant.


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My name is Paul Thompson and I work for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. 

 I am beginning to recruit for next year’s cohort of my project, ‘Tomorrow’s Natural Leaders’.  We really struggled to recruit last year in Ryedale (where there are 6 vacancies) so I wondered if you could please pass this opportunity on to any conservation volunteers, friends or relatives to help raise awareness of this amazing opportunity for young people (age 16 – 24) looking to start a career in the conservation / countryside management sector.


Placements will run from September 2017 – August 2018 and the deadline for applications is 30th June.  Detailed information about the vocational placements including how to apply can be found on our website here:




Participants receive a bursary of £250 per month, a training budget of £470 and a placement completion bonus of £500 cash.


I have attached a flyer for use in newsletters or social media, plus an article featuring interviews with some of this year’s participants.


We will be hosting two practical “taster sessions” in June for anyone who would like to find out more and have a chance to ask myself and the current trainees any questions on the following dates:


·         Saturday 17th June

·         Wednesday 21st June


These will be held at one of our local nature reserves or farms and further detailed information will be sent through later this month.


Let me know if you have any questions and feel free to forward this email and my contact details on.


Kind regards,



Paul Thompson
Environmental Youth Project Leader

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Tel: 01751 417503

Website: http://www.ywt.org.uk


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Hello good woodland people just a note about this Wednesday 30th As we are in such a public spot we need to be on the Ball with our H&S cos we dont want angry letters .

I want to thank ENGLISH HERITAGE for inviting Scarborough ConVols to help with this important and prestigious task and we look forward to its completion with out serious incident

We will be working on the south side of the castle, thinning the trees back and cutting back the Black thorn . For ease I am going to use bullet points.



  1. NO Starting before we are all aware of what other members are doing and have had H&S briefing
  2. HIGH VIZ to be worn at all time while working
  3. EVERYONE must have appropriate safety clothing.
  4. Those that are using chainsaws MUST have FULL PPE other wise you will be asked not to use the saws
  5. All tools to be ready for use ,checked for faults,damage and fuelled.
  6. All chainsaw operators to work at SAFE intervals.
  7. One qualified chainsaw operator will at all times be responsible for safety and control All activitys ( this task will be rotated each hour ) . The Volunteers MUST accept H&S instructions from the lead operator at ALL times.
  8. The lead operator is in charge and that person has the right and responsibility to halt working until such times it is safe.
  9. NO ONE is to approach a chainsaw operator unless its from the front or while the saw is in operation
  10. Those not cutting have equal responsibility for safety and must stay alert for Danger.
  11. EVER ONE will keep a safe working distance from those felling at least TWO tree lengths.
  12. We will challenge( appropriately ) Volunteers and members of the public if H&S rules are been breached or are about to be.

We will be working over the full length of the south wall moving from the path up the slope cutting back the undergrowth and trees from the bank. The Blackthorn will of cause come back in the spring and some of the felled trees will regrow,so fear not we are not taking away any homes for wild life.

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A spot of stone walling

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Here we are up at Osborn Lodge repairing a 300 year old wall. The main dificulty is trying to key in the new with the old but i think the ConVols have done ok . Next week we are back here again then out to Boggle Hole for some tree guard removal .THEN ITS TOP SECRET


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A fond farewell

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I have to say somthing about these photos it says so here goes. Its a bugger when you have to spend your time in such a stunning spot as the Derwent river, the Ayton end of the boardwalk had become over grown with bramble and weeds so ConVols to the rescue. As I understand it RWCE are taking over the responsibility for the boardwalk soon, the ConVols will miss working in this beautiful spot and are a bit jealous. The ConVols were a major contributor to the creation of this boardwalk. I can well remember starting work on the other end in poring rain,with three groups one passing the timber over the river, the second catching and stacking while the third started on the frame work, nowhere  dry to sit for lunch and soaking feet all day . I  enjoyed our time building it!!

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A two way split

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Hello good people ,Wow what a week of ups and downs. The ConVols had a rare split task this week, first to collect brash and chip it at Millennium wood and then bring it to the meadow for our gate . While 3 of us went onto the Raincliffe meadow to prepare the ground helping Pete Wilson of Thorne Park farm and his big red tractor.

Unfortunately problems with the chipper stopped work on the gate but at least its ready. While we were waiting for the other volunteers to join us in Raincliffe we decided to have a look at the new wetland ,what a surprise the lower three scrapes were almost empty ,so we set about clearing its feeder stream .As the other volunteers joined us we were able to clear more of the stream, low and behold two of us found an old Belfast sink, that had been put in by a previous owner to feed his cattle . Sadly I dont think that will be enough, the banks that we created are behaving like large radiators pulling water out of the ponds as it evaporates out of the bank. We also have a problem with dogs jumping in and pushing their paws through the clay lining and I suppose the Deer will do the same. Solutions I here you shouting well its going to be a bit of fun ,first we will change the way the pond fill each other and use angled pipe to supply the water to the lower ponds , puddle the clay with spades and use a form of pond liner take a breath oh and all the rest of tree planting, training and our weekly tasks .I feel some “ special events “comming up soon .Have a good week


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A task that is in two halves

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Hello good people of the Sun. Next week we are working on a strange and unusual task .CHIPPING COOL. .We are splitting the dy in two the first half will be in Millennium Wood then on to the Meadow for the afternoon. We are chipping already felled timber and using the chips to dry out the West gate in the Meadow. This is our busiest time of year and we need Volunteers out to help us ,so if you can come please come along WE NEED YOU

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