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                  Newsletter - Spring 2015

We have again celebrated the New Year with a very enjoyable Sunday morning walk round the wood followed by an excellent New Year lunch at Dunnington Sports Centre, with bright sunshine accompanying our productive conservation working party the morning before, despite strong winds. In 2015, we have another Spring programme of events for you to enjoy, starting with an illustrated talk by FHW member and leader of the local Health Walks, Derek Utley, on the Treemendous York Group. This was formed in 2011 with the help of the City of York Council and other local conservation groups following a national survey that was undertaken by the Guardian and New City Beautiful, which identified that the York area has even less tree coverage than the national average of 12 per cent, which itself falls well short of the European average tree cover of 27 per cent. The Treemendous York Group has the long-term target of planting 50,000 new trees in the York area, in order to “help to promote a healthier, greener, more environmentally friendly, successful and beautiful city”. As you will see if you drive along the A166 road from York to Stamford Bridge, the group have recently been busy planting many new saplings not far from Dunnington. We look forward to Derek giving us the full story.

It is followed on Tuesday 24th March by the annual photographic extravaganza of local naturalist Terry Weston, by our visit to a bluebell wood in Ilkley on Saturday 25th April, by our AGM and illustrated talk by Dr Colin Beale on the impact of climate change on wildlife, and by a summer cycle ride to Naburn Marina on Saturday 20th June. The details of these and of our monthly conservation working parties are given overleaf. Please put them all in your new 2015 diaries, alongside the date of Friday 2nd October at 5pm for an Autumnal Fungi Foray in Hagg Wood! So plenty for you to enjoy!

But don’t forget also to take a walk in Hagg Wood, especially in April and May when we hope that the bluebells and other Spring flowers will be in bloom. With the help of TCV and our own conservation working parties, we have cleared more brambles in the bluebell area to open it up for what should be a magnificent display. There are also numerous foxgloves and primroses waiting to burst into flower in the wood, both between the trees and along the rides and banks of the adjacent ditches. Nationally, wildflowers have been flowering steadily earlier in the year than before climate change got underway, so do not leave your visit too long!

We have recently had further discussions with the Forestry Commission on how to ease the problem of paths in the wood becoming boggy, and build upon the remedial work FC have already undertaken in improving the drainage within the wood. While much of the problem arises because the original network of smaller ditches in the wood that FC no longer have a large labour force to maintain has become blocked up, there are further positive steps to ease the flow of water off the paths we have discussed with FC’s specialists and on which we hope to have more details agreed in the near future. In the meantime, don’t forget your wellies and remember that there are several alternative drier paths in the wood available, though to protect local wildlife and flora no new trails are to be encouraged.

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