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              Newsletter - Spring 2016

This year we will be celebrating our 20th birthday! It was in 1996 that the Friends of Hagg Wood was formed to campaign for continued public access to the wood, when the wood was threatened with privatisation after being rated of no great local interest in an official survey carried out on a Tuesday afternoon! However, within a short time, FHW ensured that the future of Hagg Wood was raised in the House of Commons and the decision reversed. To have survived and flourished for 20 years is no mean achievement, with many local people now benefitting from access to the wood. We continue to offer many enjoyable events and activities for our members, so do take up these opportunities, including those listed below and overleaf. Not least do come to our 20th Anniversary celebrations in the wood from 2pm to 4pm on Saturday 4th June. Taking part in our celebrations will be the Dunnington Community Choir and the popular local folk group Woodsmoke, so come and join us!


Following our very enjoyable New Year celebrations, our first event of 2016 is a presentation  on Wednesday 24th February by Dr Rachel Pateman, Research Associate at the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York, who will be giving us an illustrated talk on her work on butterfly conservation. After studying Biological Sciences at Oxford University, Rachel travelled to Ecuador and Belize to study rainforest ecology, before becoming Conservation Officer for Cambridgeshire, followed by a PhD at the University of York and her research into how populations of butterflies have been moving further north in recent years, based upon analysing the records made by volunteers with the charity Butterfly Conservation.

 A similar theme will be taken up for bees and other insect life at our AGM on Wednesday 25th May in a presentation by Harry Woolner from Buglife’s Urban Buzz York team, drawing on Harry’s extensive experience from working on projects to promote interest in the conservation of their natural communities for Buglife and The Conservation Volunteers (TCV).  

 On Saturday 14th May, we have a trip out to Markenfield Hall, which is one of England’s finest surviving 14th Century country houses, and located 3 miles south of Ripon. After parking at Fountains Abbey we will walk from Fountains Abbey to Markenfield Hall, The circular walk is about 6.5 miles and takes about 3 hours. Admission to the Hall is £5 or £4 for concessions, and free for Historic Houses Association (HHA) members.

 Closer to home, on Saturday 9th April we will have a cycle ride to Buttercrambe Wood. Later on Saturday 6th August, but also close to home, we will have a cycle ride to Brockfield Hall, a fine Georgian House near Warthill. It was built for Benjamin Agar by a partner of John Carr and completed in 1809. It contains many fine architectural features and elegant furniture, as well as a collection of paintings by the English Impressionists associated with the Staithes Group. Also close by is the subject of  this year’s photographic extravaganza on Monday 21st March by Terry Weston on a subject close to his heart: Hassacarr Nature Reserve: Saving a Place for Wildlife. We also have plenty of chance for you to get involved through our monthly Conservation Working Parties.


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