Sep 02 2019

Smithills Update 31st August 2019

Hello all

It’s been yet another busy week here!

Team Smithills out and about

Last Saturday we had a stall at FoodFest, the fringe event for Bolton Food & Drink Festival. FoodFest was organised by Bolton Station Community Development Partnership, and had a focus on community projects in Bolton. Bev, Phil and Pam went along, with some home made spiced cookies (in the shape of leaves!) and lemon drizzle cake.

On Sunday, Charlotte went along to the Johnson Fold Community Day to let residents know about upcoming events and activities at Smithills – a gloriously sunny day for the event, and a few good connections made with local community groups on Johnson Fold estate.

Today, Alex is at Rivington Music Festival, an event which began last year in response to the Winter Hill fire – it was a really popular and well-run event, and we’re pleased to be there again this year! I believe 2,000 tickets were sold, and I’m sure it’ll be a really good day.

Also today, Phil C and Doug are at WiltonFest, a climbing festival organised by Bolton Mountaineering Club, and the biggest such festival in the UK. BMC have chosen us as their charity of choice this year and are fundraising for us at the event, which is fantastic. As you know, the club use Brownstones Quarry, and we have been working with them to come up with ways to work together to look after the important habitats there.




L: Smithills meets the Mayor (again!) Cllr Fairclough has become a regular visitor to our stalls at local events – here she is with Bev at the Food & Drink fringe festival. R: Katie from HuddleUp café sent us this pic of Pete and Alex at the café on Bank Holiday Monday.


Charlotte hits the airwaves!


Charlotte was on Bolton FM yesterday to talk about upcoming events at Smithills – you can listen again here: – choose Friday’s show, Charlotte was on between 3.30 and 4.30pm.

Charlotte with Brad B Wood, who presents the Friday drivetime show.


Fantastic Fridays

Anne and Liz helped out at the last Fantastic Friday of the summer holidays yesterday. We created a ‘tree trail’ in the grounds of Smithills Hall, with nine species for children to find and identify. The museum have been really pleased with how these sessions have gone – thank you to Anne, Liz and Clive for their ideas and support over the summer!


Health Walks

Alex is about to be assessed by the Get Active team at Bolton Council (no pressure, Alex!) following the health walk leader training he undertook… this week he joined me to create this month’s dementia-friendly route which will be used for his assessment. After that, he will be able to create and lead health walks on the Estate, which will be shorter, lower level walks aimed at encouraging those recovering from illness or looking to improve their fitness to get out and about walking.


Lady Mabel’s Wood

Our very own Sheila and Rob B are now also the Practical Group Leaders for Lady Mabel’s Wood in Wigan! Brilliant stuff! They will be fab at setting up and developing a team of volunteers to help care for this wood – their first practical day is in October.



There was no Monday group this week as it was Bank Holiday, but Alex and Pete were here on Tuesday to do a patrol, put up some signage where we have closed off a footpath, and also to help us keep the car parks clear of litter. They also came in on Thursday and completed the (quite frankly terrifying) task of getting some order in the Woodland Trust storeroom which has, over the months, become slightly chaotic. It is now the very definition of organisation! Charlotte, Tracey and I, who have been trying to create some sort of order in there, are very grateful for their assistance!


Wildlife group – leaky dams monitoring day

Rob B organised a monitoring day at the leaky dams, with the intention of seeing which species they could find in the newly created boggy habitat there. Members of the group had already reported seeing several bird species visiting the site, such as bittern, which was great news. The survey day resulted in some exciting finds – firstly that newts are already living in the ponds created by the dams, and secondly, Stuart spotted a keeled skimmer (a type of dragonfly) which was not only a first for Smithills Estate, but a first anywhere in Greater Manchester! A brilliant find, and one which shows that the creation of the dams is not only helping with flood management, but also increasing biodiversity on the Estate.

A great day by all accounts! L-R the keeled skimmer, photo credit Stuart Fraser; one of the ponds created by the dams, with Mike guarding! Photo credit David Butterfield; One of the newts found by Rob B, photo credit Bev Tabor; Bev demonstrating that spending the day in a boggy habitat isn’t all bad- photo credit David Butterfield; elephant hawk moth caterpillar, photo credit Stuart Fraser


Heathland survey


As part of his college placement, for which he is using Smithills Estate as a base, Rob B carried out a heathland survey this week at Brownstones Quarry, accompanied by Richard, David B, Denis and Mike. The main finds were spider species and various grasses, mosses and lichens, but we did find a species of moth which is on the DEFRA Biodiversity Action Plan – a Heath Rustic – which is great.

The heath rustic moth, photo credit Richard Cooke, and the deploying of Rob’s amazing handmade foldable quadrat being deployed at Brownstones


Netflix filming next week

Next Wednesday there will be filming taking place at Walker Fold car park and in the woods – this will last all day. There will be fewer parking spaces available in the car park as a result, and limited access along the tramway and into the wood.


Ice lolly 5k series

The last event of the Ice Lolly 5k series took place last Wednesday – thanks are due to Time2Run for hosting such a popular and well-run series of races through August. A percentage of revenue taken by Time2Run comes back to the Estate, which is great – and, of course, visitors to the races get the chance to see the Estate and the work we are doing there!


Attendance figures for the year so far

We have had over 1600 attendees at an event or training session to the end of July… this exceeds the total for the whole of 2018 (which was 1400). Thank you to everyone who has helped us to run our events and activities!


Upcoming events and activities

4 September – Wildlife Group – there is a Bat ID training event at Barrow Bridge, 6.45pm, led by Stuart.

5 September – Dementia-friendly walks – 11am and 2pm.

7 September – Public event – all welcome – Mindfulness walks starting from Walker Fold car park and heading into the woods. Free. 12pm and 2pm. Book your place here

14 September – City of Sanctuary are holding a Welcome Walk, which we are leading. This will be at 1.30pm from Barrow Bridge. City of Sanctuary work with refugees and asylum seekers, so there will be a number of attendees with English as a second language – there will be interpreters present.

17 September – Wildlife Group meeting – 7pm Smithills Hall

 19 September – Public event – all welcome – Autumn photography walk led by Heather B. A chance to have a go at photography – suitable for beginners, bring your camera or your smartphone! Free. Book here –

22 September – next volunteer task day. Keep the date, details of task TBC when Andy returns to work next week.

1 October – Walk and Talk – 11am Barrow Bridge.

1 October – next volunteers’ meeting, 6.30pm Smithills Hall.


Vicky Entwistl, Engaging Communities Officer – Smithills


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