A Chairs View

a personal account


Leave a comment

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.


This gallery contains 0 photos

A two way split

Leave a comment

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


This gallery contains 2 photos

More grass back

Leave a comment

Thank you all for coming out and giving an extra day on the Meadow. This large plot of bramble was just a small plot a few years ago but has gradually expanded taking out two paths. We will rake this off and ready it to be reintegrated into the flower meadow as a wet flush

This gallery contains 18 photos

thank you Tesco

Leave a comment


This gallery contains 0 photos

Meadow next week

Leave a comment

hello all you fit and energetic people we need as many as we can get next week. we are back on the Meadow cutting brush and thinning trees . this may not seem a lot but we need it cutting, collecting,piling,burning one two sites.We also need to keep the Blackthorn controlled.

Save money on Gymnasium and come out with us Unless of cause your one of these moaning B*****s that tell every one what should be done but dont bother to actually do anything

A quick Ps

When we thin out Trees we try and replace them as quickly as we can with native species. in out arboretum plot we are going to be planting as many rare verities as we can. The plot is the second largest on the meadow to the right of the fire bit ,in front of the hide.Given the restraints of the plot what trees would you like to see there ?

This gallery contains 0 photos

Us almost finished for this year

Leave a comment

. This last Wednesday we continued to thin Millennium woods, even with the small number of young trees that were thinned it still made a huge difference to the amount of light hitting the floor and that will make an amazing difference to the variety of ground species growing in the woods over the next few years. The Volunteers will be back next year to carry on with the thinning and to introduce some classic coastal woodland flowers. When this small plot was planted it was done in that what seems crazy to us now in straight lines. Far too many trees are planted and it still goes on to this day. No thought as to how the wood will be thinned or monitored, just line after line of young trees all struggling to make headway in a continuous canopy. Why oh why can we plant less, more mature saplings and chose where we want them? Its much easer to come back and plant up gaps and we get a staggered canopy. As an added bonus we would use fewer tree guards, those biodegradable bits of plastic that NEVER seem to degrade

This week I visited Thorpe Trees http://thorpetrees.com/ with Dave Lyons its a heck of a trip but well worth it. We picked up some Black poplar, Greengage, Wild Pear, Scots pine, Damson and Crab Apple. The Black Poplar will be split into two groups. Three will be planted in the top Ash Stand with the other used to give a visual balance near the coppice and standard plantation. The fruit trees will be used to augment the Cherry Stand. We decided to do this because ALL of our cherry are suffering from a disease that drops all the leaves as soon as flowing is over, I dont know if we will loose the Cherry over the next few years but at least we will have a beautiful spring display from the fruit trees. We have also purchased wild Strawberry & Wild Hops to beef up the foraging stand. The Volunteers will be popping along to the Meadow on the 30 Dec to plant it all up (fingers crossed)

. .In the New year our neighbour and local Organic farmer Pete Wilson will be helping us bring one of our wet flushes back to life. A few years ago now the volunteers decided to augment one of the wet flushes and create a permanent wetland. So we set about digging the area out by hand, unfortunately it resulted in an invasion of Huge Mares Tale. This time we will use a digger to pull the top soil and the Mares Tale to one side and hope that and cutting it back three or four times will reduce its impact.

This gallery contains 10 photos

This might well change so dont shoot me

Leave a comment

25 November Throxenby mere to finish the board walk

2 December Osgoodby path clearance

9 December Millennium Wood thinning ( chainsaw needed)

16 December Millennium Wood thinning ( chainsaw needed)

6 January Meadow brush clearing and preparing the memorial plot

13/20/27 January Hedge Laying .This is a Compulsory high Viz Task

3 February Meadow finishing the Memorial plot

10 February Joes Wood thinning

17/24 February Wetland project

This gallery contains 0 photos