May 16 2019

Smithills Update 13th May 2019


Hi all and welcome to our latest Smithills update


Russ Hedley will be leaving us in July, after four years’ working on the project. Russ’s guided walks business has gone from strength to strength (and anyone who has been on one of his walks will not be surprised at that), so he is leaving to focus on that full time. Russ’s knowledge and enthusiasm are going to be massively hard to replace and we are all sad that he will be leaving us – but we know that his business is going to take him around the world and will be an amazing adventure!

Thank You event

Smithills will be holding its own volunteer thank you event this year as part of volunteers week, to take place on the 4th June, all Smithills volunteers very welcome to come along.

Guided Walks

Volunteer guided walk leader Tony Greenwood will be doing a trial run of his history-themed guided walk route on Saturday 18th May. This route is 9km, 4 hours, with lots of fascinating information about the history of Smithills on the route. All being well this will then be on offer to the public as a guided walk.

Our Birdsong Walk led by Stuart Fraser, which lots of volunteers attended was very popular. The group heard reed bunting, blackcaps, willow warblers, chiff chaff, dippers, nuthatch, and tree creepers… as well as seeing MORE green hairstreak, which are fluttering about quite frequently at the moment, having been very elusive in previous years.  We have asked Stuart to run a second walk. This is a two hour walk, from Barrow Bridge car park. Please book a place here

There are also a few places left on the rescheduled Archaeology Walk – available here


Natural Flood Management work

Part of the funded project work is looking at ways of re-wetting the moorland, and over the last six months or so we have been doing lots of work on that. Russ wrote a great Facebook post about it, with some pictures of the work, which you can see here:


Project Update

We have had our second dementia-friendly walk, which volunteers Sue, Alex, Pete, Rob and Anne assisted us with – we did a morning walk and an afternoon walk this month, using the woods near Smithills Hall and the footpath along the meadow heading up toward Horrocks Fold. It was a rainy day but that did not put anyone off, and a good day was had by all.

Also last week we had our first art walk, through the woods on the Estate side of Smithills Dean Road and then back to the Hall for a session with Joe Parsons of Joe’s Watercolours to show us how to create a watercolour of what we had seen. It was fascinating to see the different ways the group used the exact same colour palette to create different images of the woods.

Last Friday was the second Smithills Explorer Day for schools, which volunteers Clive and Liz helped out at.


Volunteers Tony and Lawrence attended the conference of the North West branch of the Council for British Archaeology, themed around fire and including a session on the moorland fires at Winter Hill; Alex and Paul J attended health walk leader training in Sale

The Wildlife Group had a grassland ID training day, and also met on Tuesday to go over progress to date and plans for the future. One thing they are monitoring for at the moment are slow-worms… they have set up felt mats around the Estate, which any slow-worms present might like to slither under, and will be checking them regularly.

…and the Wardens had a well earned Monday break due to the Bank Holiday!!!


L-R dementia friendly walk; birdsong walk; grasslands training; art walk & workshop


 Royal Lancashire Show

 I have had a request from the regional team for any volunteers who are interested in helping man the Woodland Trust stand at the Royal Lancashire Show, which runs between 19th and 21st July at Salesbury Hall in Ribchester. As always travel expenses are reclaimable. Volunteers would be helping the events team handing out trees and information about the Woodland Trust. If anyone is free on 18th July, there will be some set-up going on that afternoon.


Walt Whitman Festival

We are welcoming Live From Worktown to Smithills Estate on 1st June for the annual Walt Whitman walk, which leaves from Barrow Bridge and heads up to Walker Fold. The walk celebrates the poet Walt Whitman’s connections with Bolton, and this year is likely to be more popular than ever, as it forms part of the Bolton-wide Whitman Bicentennial celebrations. There will be poetry readings and music at the end of the walk, at Walker Fold car park.

If you want to go on the walk, no booking is required – just arrive at the turning circle at Barrow Bridge at 2pm. If anyone is free in the afternoon and would like to help set up a gazebo for the poetry readings with me, that would be greatly appreciated!


Vicky Entwistle – Engaging Communities Officer, Smithills



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