During March, the bridleway down to the river was re-surfaced. The spoil that this work generated has been tipped to the sides of the bridleway and as a consequence has covered locally uncommon species of wild flowers. The Trust met up with the Footpath Officer (Groundwork) and the Parish Council to discuss this and other damage that was caused.
The marsh in East Keswick is grazed again for the first time in at least twenty five years. Trust volunteers completed fencing the marsh during March and the Dexter cattle which were introduced in May will be there for a short while to reduce the density of the dominant vegetation of Meadowsweet and Great Willow-herb. This will allow the more delicate wildflowers to re-establish themselves. The Marsh was last grazed before the houses of Keswick Grange and Church Drive were built.
On Monday May 8th the cubs took their 15 bird boxes to Ox Close Wood. They enjoyed the evening as they climbed short ladders to screw their boxes to well distributed trees.
During March, a group of Trust volunteers visited some Duke of Burgundy butterfly sites to do a bit of habitat maintenance. The food plants of this butterfly are Primroses and Cowslips. Scrub was cleared to allow light to penetrate to the ground to allow these plants, primroses in particular, to thrive.
Following this work members, along with other conservationists, returned in May to see the fruits of their labours and were rewarded with sightings of twenty adult Duke of Burgundy butterflies. Other butterflies seen were five Dingy Skippers, a Small Copper and a Red Admiral.
One the 3rd May we had our annual bluebell walk in Ox Close Wood. There’s always a bit of guesswork in planning the walk six months ahead in the hope that the flowers will be at their best. This year we got it spot on and the flowers were glorious. On average, during the 25 years of the Trust’s existence, this event has moved forward by two weeks!
Work has started on the construction of a log store in Elliker Wood. We plan to move most of the log piles (others are habitat piles) from Elliker Wood and some from Ox Close so that the logs can season for a couple of years under cover before they are used. We intend to start selling logs to the community in the autumn of 2017.
This Autumn, three Dexter calves have done an excellent job in eating most of the coarse grasses in Elliker Field. this should, hopefully, have the desired effect of allowing the smaller delicate Spring flowers to flourish next year. Only time will tell…..
Additional volunteer work this winter will include reducing the scrub and bramble cover.
Students from Bardsey School enjoyed enormously their day on the 12th October pond dipping in East Keswick Marsh. After the event, they all wrote letters of thanks which included excellent sketches of many of the creatures they found. Here a re a couple of the letters… there’s not enough room to put them all.
Bardey School learning about the Yellow Fish Campaign when years 5 and 6 visited the reserves this summer to learn about the water quality in our local becks. This visit followed on from a practical demonstration in school by The Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust on many aspects of caring for our rivers.
The Yellow Fish Campaign is a Government scheme to raise awareness about sources of water pollution and the quality of water in streams, rivers, lakes or ponds. The hope is to put a yellow fish sign alongside all surface water drains to remind people that whatever does down the drain ends up in our streams.
In July EKWT ran a course on Managing Woodland for biodiversity and sustainability for Flora Locale. The feedback after the course was excellent. They were extremely impressed at the amount and diversity of management work we have achieved in Elliker and Ox Close Wood.