Anyone visiting the Fitts Reserve will notice that there’s been a lot of work clearing the boundaries in order to install stock fencing. In amongst the vegetation we came across a pair of very old stone gate posts with many nearby dressed stones in and on the ground.
In order to make use of the stones we decided to have a go at creating a dry stone wall with results shown below. By coincidence, as we were making the wall a chap walking down the path mentioned that many years ago there was a stone-built field bothy… probably used to store tools.
It was satisfying to be able to put these stones to good use again.
Since the trust took over our new site at Fitts Lane, our Friday volunteer work party has been working hard towards restoring the valuable grassland habitat.
Much of this work has been preparing boundaries; fencing and hedge planting. To provide a much-needed boost to this effort, and to introduce members to the new site, the work being done and what we hope to achieve; this month we are holding two family hedge planting days at the Fitts Lane site in East Keswick (the fields on the footpath to the river from the end of Cleavesty Lane) during January, Sunday 16th and Saturday 22nd.
The days will start at 10am and we will be there as long as we keep going! Any time that can be given is welcomed and contributes to the overall team effort, so please come along at, and for, a time that suits you.
The work itself is great for kids – with tasks suitable for all ages. We find they generally enjoy planting the whips and protecting them with canes and guards – leaving the older ones to dig the holes! And it’s great for them to see the growth of the hedges over the years to follow – something to be proud to have been part of.
We will also take the opportunity to explain the work we are doing there, plans for the site and how the trust use the Dexter cattle for conservation grazing, and (for the kids) the importance of worms! We will also have BBQs lit and available for use – an opportunity to learn about the charcoal making we undertake in Ox Close Woods, whilst you cook some sausages to keep energy levels up.
What you will need:
Appropriate clothing and footwear
Your own food to cook on the BBQ (or a packed lunch) and a drink
If possible, a spade
If you need help finding us, you can contact Corinne on 07582 561749 or Thomasin on 07944 951605. It would be helpful if you let us know if you are planning to attend, but not essential.
We will cancel the events if the ground is frozen or there is heavy rain. We will notify people in advance via our Facebook page (search for East Keswick Wildlife Trust) if we do need to cancel.
Wildlife groups and individuals have recently been contacting the trust to learn from our several years of experience of wildflower seed collecting, germinating and plug-planting.
In September, members of the Menston Area Nature Trust were guided in the process of collecting and sowing seeds for the land that they hope to acquire shortly. They have been mentored by the EKWT on how to form a wildlife trust and become a charity.
Working in a joint venture, the Wood Meadows Trust at Escrick have asked for our help in germinating some uncommon species and to share seeds and plant plugs for their wetland and meadow areas.
Hearing of our expertise, York City Council Community Woodland have asked us to try to germinate Large Hemp Nettle, which is relatively uncommon in this area.
To top up our own supplies, this Autumn volunteers have collected seeds, nuts and berries from various habitats within the parish.
Postponed from last year due to covid and organised by Judith and John Pentith, the Askham Bryan Gardening Club visited the trust on 3rd July 2021. A day which was very, very wet but turned out to be a very enjoyable full day.
In the morning the large group was shown around the inner village reserves. Lunch in the Duke, with time to dry out a little, was followed by a guided walk around Ox Close Wood.
Subsequent comments were enthusiastic:
‘Thank you for arranging the visit to East Keswick on Saturday, we found it fascinating and really enjoyed the morning despite the soaking!’
‘An absolute joy to see such beautiful places, particularly enjoyed the range of flowers in the meadows and the wide variety of grasses and sedges by the marsh. Loads of orchids and to be introduced to the Thistle-broomrape (also known as Yorkshire broomrape), which is only found in our county was special. But the star of the show for me, was to see at last Herb Paris, which was the absolute icing on the cake! Seen so often in guide books, but never found before.’
‘The whole soggy day was enlivened by our two very enthusiastic guides – thanks again!’