MINUTES of the Twelfth Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Hagg Wood held at the Reading Room, Dunnington, on Wednesday 26th May 2010. 

PRESENT   Barry Wright, speaker, David Mayston, Chairman, Alan Briars, Treasurer, Linda Maggs, Secretary, Stephen & Anne Walsh, Peter Wordsworth, Brian & Dorothy Pearson, Ron Bielby, Richard Law, Olwyn Fonseca, Tony & Elaine Hudson, Michael & Diana Dunn, Jenny Brooks, Nigel Emery, Steve & Sue Ashby, Michael & Janet Clarke, John Rodwell. 

APOLOGIES  There were apologies from Steve & Celia Moorhouse, Barbara Pyrah, Jennie Stopford, John Maggs, John & Margy Vernon, David & Lily Rowe, Alan & Wendy Worsley and Ian & Lita Black

MINUTES  The minutes of the eleventh AGM, 27th May 2009, were accepted as a true record. 

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

David welcomed everyone to the meeting, FHW 12th AGM, and outlined the busy and enjoyable year: two trips on the Pocklington Canal after Mrs Nix’s interesting talk at last year’s AGM (12 members on each outing), an extremely well-attended Fungal Foray last Autumn, a talk by 2 members of the Holgate Windmill Society last year followed by a visit in the Spring, a talk from the Regional Director of the FC, Alan Eves, on the work of the Commission including details of the World Mountain-Biking Championships in April and a recent visit to East Bank Wood in Bilsdale.  The FHW New Year Lunch at the Sports Club for members and friends had been enjoyed by all and besides plenty of meetings there had also been plenty of working parties.  The Breathing Places Grant had enabled a boggy area of land to be opened up, cleared of rhododendrons and planted with silver birch and other indigenous species.  The grant had also paid for 2 new leaflets – the new Breathing Places leaflet and an updated Welcome leaflet. FHW had also enjoyed the annual illustrated talk by Terry Weston, Warden of the Hassacarr Nature Reserve, with his marvellous photographs. Martin Hammond had produced a monitoring report which had been printed for members to view – he had recommended taking down some of the sycamores in the bluebell area and around the pond and had also recommended clearing spaces around the new young oak trees in the Millennium Area.  Work could be undertaken around the bomb craters which Tony had been investigating. (Tony Hudson is our FHW Webmaster).  Tony had done some detailed research at the archives in Beverley and the National Archives at Kew and may give us a talk on his research in the future. 

The flooding of the rides proved a problem in the winter months as many of the ditches were blocked.  The topsoil needs to be scraped off as the soil had become too nutrient-rich, which was not suitable for the many wild flowers which habitually grow on the rides.  The Forestry Commission, whilst conducting their current felling programme, have agreed to urgently pay attention to the boggy rides.  

David thanked the Committee for their hard work in organising the busy programme and for organising the Community Fun Day last summer.  Linda thanked David for his continued dedication over the many years he had spent as Chairman. 

TREASURER’S REPORT

Alan presented the FHW Accounts and thanked Pam Nyman, a FHW Member, for her very generous donation of £300 for tree-planting.  At a special birthday Pam had requested money for trees rather than gifts and FHW were very appreciative of her kind gesture.  Council to Protect Rural England (CPRE) had also donated £50 after their visit last Spring and had bought several FHW booklets. 

Alan explained that the FC had not only provided for two thirds of this year’s insurance but had also made up the shortfall from last year, thanks to David’s intervention. 

Alan thanked Linda for her work on the many grants that FHW had received, which all required careful monitoring.  He also thanked Elaine, the Membership Secretary, who had kept meticulous records.  Alan then asked for questions.  The accounts had not yet been audited but they were provisionally accepted.  

ELECTION OF THE COMMITTEE

Members nominated for election: Ron Bielby, Alan Briers, Michael Dunn, Olwyn Fonseca, Linda Maggs, David Mayston, and Tony & Elaine Hudson.  They were duly elected.  David thanked Jim Smart and Margy Vernon who had stepped down due to pressure of other commitments.  He said the FHW Committee would welcome other members to come forward if they were interested in joining. 

ELECTION OF THE INDEPENDENT EXAMINER

Ken Sutcliffe, past FHW auditor, had sadly died during the year and David said a debt of gratitude was owed to him for his work over many years.  He will be missed for his kindness and cheerful disposition.

Simon Bryan-Smith kindly acted as auditor last year and Alan now recommended his wife’s colleague, Chris Edmondson, as auditor and he was duly elected.

 

ILLUSTRATED TALK ON HEDGEROWS IN DUNNINGTON BY BARRY WRIGHT

David gave a warm welcome to Barry who has been working on the Dunnington hedgerow project for two years after work in Scoreby during 2007.   The hedgerows of Dunnington centre and east had been surveyed during 2008 (240+ hedges) and Grimston and Dunnington Common during 2009 (200+ hedges). The aim of the survey was to draw together historical and botanical evidence in order to interpret the history of the landscape within the present parish boundary and to detect patterns that could indicate which hedgerows were the oldest and which were most recent in origin.  The current civil parish was composed of the medieval townships of Dunnington and Grimston, which had been enclosed at different times, in 1709 and 1772.  Early maps provided an invaluable source of evidence and the first OS series showed a cross-over of the hedge between Dunnington and Scoreby, annotated by 6ft RH, signifying the boundary is 6ft from the ‘root of the hedge’, ie the hedge is 6ft to the north of the boundary.  

Stephen Moorhouse had identified the medieval township field system from early maps – Thorntree Field and Mill Field lying on fertile land parallel with the A166, Undergate Field and East Field lying below with New Field, the Ings and the Intakes adjoining Dunnington Common.  The field system is largely dictated by the geology of the land, following the moraine with fields at right angles to it, and the botanical nature of the hedges is largely determined by geology and climate.  

Dr Hooper devised a rule to estimate the age of individual hedgerows which relied upon estimating the number of species in the hedge, and he applied a formula that suggested a hedge over a 30 metre section could gain a new shrub species every 100 years.  Thus a 7-species hedge would be approximately 700 years old.  Dr Hooper’s theory had reservations but it has been accepted by many as a sound basis for research, see, for example, ‘Hedgerow Survey Handbook’, Defra 2006. 

Barry’s work, however, discounts this approach and he has devised a new system based on recording all the species in the hedge – SLAG analysis looking at Species, Location, Abundance and Grouping.  Barry’s approach also takes into consideration the species of trees, which may be older or younger than the hedges – one tree may not suggest a hedge but two or three in a line could indicate a hedgeline.  The first series OS Maps plotted every tree with considerable accuracy and with modern GPS techniques it is possible to check the existing trees against the ones recorded in the 19th century.  The purpose of the analysis is to disentangle the palimpsest in order to better understand the history of the landscape.  An outstanding tree in the landscape is the Crack Willow on the Dunnington/Kexby boundary which must be at least 450 years old. 

The SLAG analysis revealed that Purging Buckthorn was exclusively located at only three locations in Scoreby, all on the township boundary and nowhere else. A number of other significant species have been recorded and documented in the survey.   English Elm appears to be a significant species in the historic landscape of the Dunnington area, probably up to a thousand years old. (They do not respect the recent enclosure boundaries).  Looking at the pattern of distribution across Dunnington Parish there are clear indications that this species is associated with some of the more ancient boundaries and routeways within the landscape.   Another species with a defined distribution is Gooseberry.  It is a species of significant domestic importance, to provide food, and its distribution may suggest it escaped from the gardens of Dunnington Hall and has colonised hedges closer to the village, perhaps aided by bird droppings.   Apple trees are another interesting species. Within the parish there are variable quantities of apples occurring in the hedgerows and also variation of type.  In general, the apples can be regarded as Wild Crab Apple, but some sweeter, domestic apples were also recorded.  A recent ‘Apple Day’ at Harlow Carr suggested that in medieval times domestic apples had been grafted on to crab apple trees to provide a sweeter red apple. Barry would like to conduct an Apple Tree Survey in 2010.   Damson were also recorded and it would be interesting to see if any hybridisation had occurred with sloes, another subject for further work.     

Barry had brought along his first draft report and would continue work until the first report was finalised. David thanked Barry for a most interesting talk and thanked the audience for their attendance. 

 

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