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                               Friends of Hagg Wood

                                  Newsletter - Autumn 2010        

We have a full programme of events this Autumn for you to enjoy (see Autumn 2010 Events,). There is firstly the chance to get some fresh air and exercise on our cycle ride on Saturday 25th September past Gipsey Lane and Grimston Wood in Elvington and along the country roads that few cars use into Heslington for lunch in the Charles XII. At a more leisurely pace, we have a Sunday afternoon walk though Stub Wood near Acaster Malbis on Sunday 10th October, after Sunday lunch at the Ship Inn beside the River Ouse. On the evening on Wednesday 24th November, we have an indoor meeting, with a presentation on the Red Kite in Yorkshire by local naturalist Nigel Puckrin, that promises to be a celebration of the success of reintroducing this beautiful bird into its former homeland. As Autumn gives way to Mid-Winter, we also have our Annual New Year Lunch for members in the Dunnington Sports Centre, on Sunday 9th January, though again with the chance for some health exercise in the form of a walk in Hagg Wood before tucking in. To keep even fitter, we have our monthly Woodland Working Parties on a Saturday morning each month to help improve the woodland environment.

This has got more challenging recently after the Forestry Commission's contractor has changed substantially the visual appearance of the main forestry track into the wood, and carried out further work on the main north-south woodland ride. Some of this work has been aimed at improving the drainage along the main ride and tracks, that in recent years has been poor, with large boggy patches making them often difficult to walk along. In addition, work in due to start this September on a major thinning operation within the wood, which needs vehicular access. This will involve felling some of the conifers, and in the process freeing up the canopy for some of the existing broadleaf trees and creating more open glades within the wood. As part of the process of helping to restore the wood to semi-natural woodland, rather than simply a conifer plantation, we very much support this latter goal, and are having discussions with the Forestry Commission and their harvesting contractor on where best to carry out the opening up of the canopy. However, their work elsewhere will also create an adverse visual impact, like the earlier dumping of spoils, only some of which nature will heal over time, and we will do our best to ensure remedial work is carried out wherever possible.  

You may also be interested to know that one of our committee members, Tony Hudson, has recently been making great strides in his researches into the history of the bomb craters in the wood.  He has traced official records that the bombs were dropped in Hagg Wood on the night of 27th & 28th June 1944 by a Halifax Bomber of the Free French 347 Squadron based at Elvington Airfield  that developed port engine failure shortly after take-off, and which had to abandon part of its bomb cargo before returning to Elvington. Tony hopes to give us a full presentation of his findings in our Spring programme next year.

We have also recently submitted a proposal to the Community Wildlife Lottery Fund for the conservation work recommended by local ecologist Martin Hammond to improve the habitat of the wood.

If you have not yet renewed your subscription, do get in touch with Elaine Hudson on 01904 481520 or elainehudson@talktalk.net or complete the Membership form.


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