December 2nd: Children from the local communities learned how to sow wild flower seeds, some for their own gardens and some for the Methodist church wild flower garden project . The children collected seed heads from a variety of wild flowers and examined the differences between the seeds. Using our tried and tested method, which has been acquired by previous experience using seeds from plants within our Nature Reserves in East Keswick, they carefully sowed seeds from a selection of plants.
One of our members works for Network Rail and, on 26th October, he organised a “Corporate Event” in Ox Close with his colleagues. The day was a great success. The day started by filling and lighting one of the charcoal kilns and other activitied included moving logs and using the stock trailer to round up the cows from the Marsh to transfer them to the wood. The burn produced a respectable 41 bags of charcoal.
The Children’s Pizza Event and Charcoal Burn on 30 June was a great success.
Approximately 50 children arrived with their families and about 90 pizzas were made.
Other activities included painting, willow whittling and clay modelling.
On the 18th February we held our annual winter bird survey and recorded 53 species of birds. No Curlew or Lapwings were seen this year but new for the winter bird survey were Little Owl, Mute Swan and Blackcap. The Blackcap is usually regarded as a summer visitor but, with recent warmer winters, our local birds are able to remain in the area along with others that have migrated southwards from the north.
The RSPB’s State of Nature Report, 2016, states 56% of UK species are in decline. We have found that the built-up areas of our villages their gardens, hedgerows, trees and flowers provide valuable habitats for these declining species. In fact, our ten years of annual bird recording have shown that we have a good variety of bird species in the village. This is in contrast to the surrounding area’s intensively farmed land. Whilst some landowners are sympathetic, modern farming practices provide little in the way of suitable habitat, food or shelter.
Our Summer Bird Survey is on 17th June. Please join us. Check out the Upcoming Events box above.
Over 50 people spent a glorious sunny afternoon on Saturday constructing a bug hotel under the guidance of East Keswick Wildlife Trust.
The event was hosted by East Keswick Methodist Church on Main Street, East Keswick, with the luxury accommodation for insects being built in the garden behind the church. Melanie Smith from East Keswick Wildlife Trust explained the importance of creating suitable habitat so that the vast variety of insects we are lucky enough to have can thrive. The children then used various natural materials to make a five storey, five star hotel for insects.
Melanie said “It was wonderful to see how enthusiastic the children were and we hope they will go home and make similar habitats in their own gardens.”
After the hotel had been built, the families enjoyed refreshments before tackling a nature hunt. The bug hotel is the first event of many in a programme to create a wildlife haven at the rear of the church involving the local community. The next joint event is a wildflower identification walk on 10 June and then, in the Autumn, seeds will be gathered and sown in pots so that young plants are ready to plant out next Spring to create a wildflower garden. Members of the public are most welcome to visit the garden at any time.
For future family events please check out the list of Upcoming Events (above), and to view the article in the village newsletter website visit http://www.eastkeswick.org.uk/latest-news/745-new-hotel-opens-for-bugs
Much work has been done recently at Elliker Field and Wood. Now that the cows are removed from the field this has been cut and raked.
The log store (just out to the right of the picture) is completed and we plan to create a pond in the field into which rainwater run-off from the roof will be directed.
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.
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!
During July, Bardsey School visited Elliker Field to identification wild flowers and to learn about flower pollination
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