A lot of work has been going on meeting with other organisations over the last month.
We met with Natural England, Environment Agency, North York Moors National Park, Scarborough Borough Council and Scarborough Conservation volunteers to discuss the future Woodland Management Plan. This will map out our approach to how we manage the changing landscape of the woodlands as a consequence of Ash Dieback disease, the creation of a new generation of trees and the type of trees to re stock with. Many species are regenerating naturally even with deer grazing the new growth. Beech and Sycamore have been considered non native species but are establishing themselves well but Oak saplings are very rare to find. Holly is becoming prolific but is a native tree. All these aspects and more besides will be brought forward by Natural England in a public consultation on the Management Plan for the Forge Valley Woodland Management Plan. We will alert readers when the document is published so that you can contribute to the future plan.
If you would like to read a summary of the Forge Valley National Nature Reserve Woodland Management Plan Click Here.
We have also met with the Youth Engagement Officer for North York Moors National Park and explored the woodlands for opportunities to work together. Plans are already being taken forward to undertake work on paths, bridges and rhododendrons starting the end of June. This is a very exciting development to have the involvement of students and young people in maintaining the woodland.
We are looking at the nursery, reception, infants and juniors at local schools and how they can involve the children in the woodland and build community ownership and understanding. There are many opportunities to create spaces for woodland classrooms. In the next few weeks we hope to have arranged with a local school for them to identify an area that they can take care of. This could be helping to control invasive shrubs and plants while understanding how this impacts upon the woodland and the birds, insects and animals. Collecting acorns, conkers etc, sowing them and seeing them grow. Clearing rubbish and litter, surveys of the products and materials being left as litter. Caring for the trees, surveys of the different trees in the area and looking at ways the trees help the environment. If your school would like to look at areas within the woodland please get in touch with our Contact Us.
We have also met up and looked around Raincliffe Woods with Kindlewoods a successful Community Interest Company operating in York and Thirsk who provide Woodland Well Being Programmes and also Woodland Management. The opportunity is there to bring in their expertise on running Wellbeing Programmes, either to be provided by them, or to work with Scarborough based organisations or individuals with the skills. If you are interested in running programmes such as this please get in touch via our Contact Us.
Several of our membership Directors were also busy clearing sections rutted by the timber extraction vehicles. After some digging and raking a woodland seed mix was scattered on the prepared areas and right on cue we had the rain. Over the next few months we look forward to seeing what has taken and how well it gets established. There is a lot more work to be done on restoring the woodland floor and we are planning more volunteer days. Currently we are looking at Saturdays and to arrange these on a regular basis, weather permitting. If you would prefer alternative days let us know. We would also be pleased to hear from any member who has an interest in leading on these volunteer days. North York Moors National Park has an Associate scheme where organisations can get their volunteers trained by NYMNP staff in arranging volunteers and supervising the work. Once trained NYMNP offers their insurance cover for all the work undertaken as an Associate organisation. If you are interested in this scheme and the training offered please Contact Us.
The Scarborough Conservation Volunteers (ConVols) have been busy on Lady Ediths Drive cutting back the Blackthorn bushes and general overgrowth of vegetation. This has opened up the point of access we are looking to create in the future for a combined footpath and cycleway in to Raincliffe Woods. We hope that in cutting back the vegetation it will encourage more people walk on the grass verge rather than on the side of the road.
The ConVols also returned to their "Forth Road Bridge" task of trying to keep the Boardwalk around Throxenby Mere in good order. The section of boards along the Public Footpath from Red Scar Lane must be kept maintained as the ground it crosses is impassable without the boards. The section from the entrance to the Mere around the west side of the Mere is not a Public Footpath and as we are looking to create a combined cycle route and footpath on firm land just adjacent to the Boardwalk and it could be argued that replacing this section would be unnecessary. Please let us know your views and the options you would like to see.
Work has also commenced on surveying / auditing the woodland prior to signing the 30 year Lease. This provides us with a register of the state of all the paths and bridges and also the benches, seats and signs. It has identified several points where paths are blocked by fallen trees or have trees hanging over the paths. With this register of paths and tracks etc. we can plan where work can be undertaken and some idea of the materials required. A Public Footpath which is in need of some attention is Lady Mildred's Ride which provides some excellent views out to the coats and up the valley towards Mowthorpe. If you already walk the length of this track let us know and any thing you have spotted that needs attention. At its southern end above Throxenby Mere towards the Meadow it is not well used and the path has trail posts for the exploring Raincliffe Woods route. We now have a copy the leaflet which explains this route and it is high on our priority to re establish this route. With some of the income from the thinning work we can reinvest in restoring the paths, bridges and signage.
Finally Members will have had notification of the AGM not taking place due to insufficient members being in attendance or Proxy votes and a new date has been set for Tuesday 28th May at 6pm at Woodend. If you are unable to attend the AGM we would encourage you to use the Proxy voting form. To submit a proxy vote complete the form and take a photo of the completed form and email back or scan in to a computer and email back. We now have over 200 members and more are joining every month. This is a community woodland and with your involvement we can achieve so much more. Many hands make light work.