For the first time since the 18th century, cows are grazing in Ox Close Wood!
The cows will graze the paddock for a few weeks after which they will go to another reserve to continue their conservation grazing.
Once part of the Common lands of EastKeswick, Ox Close was a wood pasture where wood and timber could be cut and extracted during the winter months and animals grazed during the summer by the Commoners of the village – usually the most prominent residents. By the end of the 18th century, the management of Common lands was deemed inefficient so increasing numbers of individual parish Parliamentary Enclosure Acts were passed to provide the legal framework for privatisation. All Commoners rights to graze in Ox Close ceased at the beginning of 19th century on the enclosure of East Keswick when the wood became part of the Harewood Estate.
The photos show three cows, each with a calf being let into the wood. Because Clarita (below) has horns, she had to be transported separated from her calf and separately from the other cows.
Clarita walks out of the trailer, looking for her friends.
All six cows and calves are in the photo.
The Trust has continued its work with Bardsey Primary School to spread the word about the Environment Agency’s Yellow Fish Campaign. With the slogan “Only Rain Down the Drain” the campaign is designed to indicated to people that any substance that is put into a surface water drain goes straight into our local becks and then on into the River Wharfe.
The local becks are in poor condition mainly from agricultural run off. But we can do our bit: In order to raise awareness Bardsey School stencilled a yellow fish next to surface water drains, posted explanitory notes into surrounding homes and talked to residents; some of whom were relatives of the children!
“Only Rain Down the Drain!”
Hi Grandma. Did you know…..?
During July, Bardsey School visited Elliker Field to identification wild flowers and to learn about flower pollination
Students from Bardsey School exploring pollination in Elliker Field
Bardsey School in Elliker Field
In July, the Trust ran another successful course with Flora Locale on woodland management to improve biodiversity. The photos show the group looking at the newly created coppice coupe in Elliker Wood and discussing the fluctuating water temperatures in the River Wharfe
Flora Locale, July 2017
Flora Locale on the River Wharfe, July 2017
30 Bardsey Cubs and Scouts joined forces to Bash the Balsam along Keswick Beck. Many thanks to all those who took part to make the event so successful.
Preparations for Balsam Bashing
In the thick of it Balsam Bashing. The plants are flowering and the seed pods will not be far behind so it was a good time to pull the plants.
During the past year, the Trust has assisted the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust in monitoring the pollution in the streams of the Collingham, East Keswick and Bardsey catchment area. Our samples confirm the Environment Agency’s earlier findings that these water courses are indeed highly polluted. Some articles refer to the beck as “Collingham Drain”!
Water sample tests from East Keswick beck showing high levels of pollution.
Most of the pollution comes from agricultural run off, but we can help… see the next post. Additional assistance that the Trust has provided has been helping plant trees and hedges along the stream sides.
Now it’s late Spring the countryside is full of flowers and our efforts during previous seasons are showing results:
Ox Close grazing pasture
At the side of entrance track to the Ellikers
Looking down Elliker Field
Yellow Fish is a national Environment Agency project involving stencilling a Yellow Fish symbol beside surface water drains to remind us all that any waste entering them may go directly to the nearest stream, river, lake, canal, beach or bathing water, causing pollution and killing wildlife. Car washing solutions, engine oil, paints, chemical wastes, detergents and even litter entering these drains pollute our watercourses. Pollution can also be caused by ‘misconnected’ household pipework, where foul waste from toilets, washing machines, dishwashers, showers, baths and sinks can enter surface water drains.
The Trust is working with Bardsey Primary School on the Yellow Fish Campaign to raise awareness so do look out for the Yellow Fish symbol highlighting drains which feed directly into the beck. Be aware that, any fluid that goes into a surface water drain, whether it has a yellow fish logo or not, goes into the beck.
Only Rain Down the Drain
During the winter months, the eastern boundary of Ox Close wood has been cut back. Trees that were overhanging the field have been removed or trimmed back to allow more light to the field edge thereby benefitting any growing crops. To maintain a boundary a new hedge has been planted along this side of the wood. Thanks go to The Woodland Trust for supplying the plants, guards and supports.
Planting the new hedge
Planting the new hedge
Inspired by Ian Rotherham’s talk on Ancient Woodlands (see next post) we have been measuring some of the village’s oldest trees. These will go into a national database at www.ancient-tree-hunt.org.uk/project/hunt. The village hosts many large and ancient trees, mainly Oak and Ash.
This veteran Ash near the green bridge down at the river has a circumference of 4.63m at shoulder height
Measuring the circumference of a massive Oak along the boundary of Ox Close wood. It measured 4.27m.