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              Newsletter - Autumn 2013

It is that time of year again when the daylight is shortening, but after many bright sunny days during the Summer this year, we must be grateful for the warm relief we have had from the wet days of Spring this year. An increased volatility of weather patterns is predicted to accompany climate change, with the fluctuations in the jet stream seeming to be the immediate cause of this year’s switches between prolonged periods of good and bad weather. Wildlife, such as bees unable to forage successfully in the periods of persistent rain, have been one main casualty of the disruption, but also of the impact of more pressure on the traditional countryside. Woodlands are increasingly seen as an important refuge for wildlife, with a single tree able to host up to 250 different species of plants, insects and other animals. We need to reverse the decline in Britain’s coverage of ancient woodlands, which are now only two per cent of their original coverage of Britain, under which its native wildlife flourished.  

We are doing our best in our own ancient woodland site of Hagg Wood, through our monthly conservation working parties, including steadily restoring its broadleaf coverage and encouraging the spread of bluebells and other native wild flowers. One area we have transformed is the bomb crater area, which we have opened up and had cleared out to encourage native bird, pond and other wildlife to flourish there. This stands in peaceful contrast to the Halifax and other bombers which are on view in the nearby Elvington Air Museum. Another local reminder of less peaceful times is York’s Cold War Bunker, to which we will be having a peaceful cycle ride in October. Fortunately we have successfully fought our own battles to preserve the existing status of Hagg Wood in recent years.  Nevertheless the new threat which has emerged to our other local wildlife sanctuary of Hassacarr Nature Reserve means that the beauty of the English countryside is something we cannot take for granted but on which we must be eternally vigilant and proactive in its preservation.

 Another of our events this Autumn is a talk in November on “What is happening to our bees?”, and which will provide insights into how we can protect our many species of bees through our woodland and garden plantings.  In September, we have a visit to the Wild About Wood celebration at the Yorkshire Arboretum at Castle Howard. Full details of these and our other events and conservation working parties are given on our Events page (here). Do join us when you can. Please also make sure that you have renewed your subscription through to next May, and contact our membership secretary, Elaine Hudson, on 01904-481520 or elainehudson@talktalk.net if not. If you have not already told us your e-mail address, it would be very helpful for Elaine to have it so we can keep you up to date straight away on new developments.

But Autumn is also a time when we can simply enjoy the beauty of the wood through long strolls along its rides as the colour of its berries and of its golden leaves of its broadleaf trees matures with the onset of mellow fruitfulness. There is plenty overleaf too for you to put into your diary, and even in your 2014 diary with our now traditional New Year Lunch in January. So we too must be fruitful as we mellow!

 

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