Oct 28 2019

Smithills Update 25th October

Hello all

Staff news

As some of you will already know, Andy, our Estate Ranger ,will be leaving us mid-November to move to the Lake District. We will be really sad to see Andy go, he has made a huge contribution to the project in his time here.

I know you will all wish Andy well on his new adventure!


Facts and figures

We’ve been doing some number crunching in the office and we can bring you some facts and figures about 2019…

Looking from January to mid-October:

  • We have run 85 events / activities (including lots of volunteer events)
  • 2125 people have attended an event
  • Volunteers have given 4300 hours to the project

Last year, as a comparison, by this point we had run 31 events with 1142 people attending… so you can see there’s been quite an increase in activity this year. Volunteers have supported all aspects of our community engagement work – from leading guided walks to supporting community walks and family friendly events, to manning stalls for us and stewarding car parks. Thanks all for helping us reach these figures!


Tree planting

Thanks to everyone who has volunteered to help us with our tree planting weeks in November. Dates are Mon 18th – Fri 29th Nov

Mass tree planting – 30th Nov

We will send out more details of the groups visiting on each day over the next few weeks. The timings for the weekday sessions are 10am to 12pm then 1pm to 3pm. For the mass tree planting day on 30th, the day runs from 10am to 3pm.


Events update

Since the last update, Mike and Rob B have led their Wildlife Walk for the public, which was very well received (once again) – great stuff! Rob A, Clive and Doug are leading their walk this Sunday at 2pm.

The autumn art walk took place last week, with Joe’s Watercolours leading a session on capturing autumn colours at Barrow Bridge Mission.

Sunday was our monthly task day, led by Rob B. This month we were checking on the trees planted earlier in the project and replacing any which had died. The majority of this was completed on the day, and our Wardens finished the rest on Monday.

Tomorrow is our lantern making workshop in advance of the lantern parade on Sunday – the actors from Rusticus have been in today checking the route and telling us the outline of the script… this time we are welcoming Ghost Hunter Sheila, Nature Detective Tony, a Barn Owl, a Noctule Bat and a lost Elephant Hawk Moth to Smithills. We are looking forward to this immensely!


Left: watercolours from the Barrow Bridge art walk. Right: Peter, George, Phil, Richard, Pete and Sue at October’s Task Day (photo from Rob Ball)


Upcoming events

Our community walks for November are:

  • 5 November – Walk and Talk
  • 7 November – Dementia Friendly Walks
  • 12 November – Carers’ Walk (Alex leading – Liz S helping)

And our festive events are:

  • Barrow Bridge Christmas Tree Festival – 13, 14, 15 Dec (Shirley helping)
  • Smithills Festive Event – 8 Dec (Keith, Pam, Shirley free)

Wildlife Group

The Wildlife Group met last week with Stuart Fraser chairing. There were reports on the leaky dam monitoring, discussion of records held and how to collate the information we have, ideas on training for surveying next year, and a review of the butterfly walks Jim did over the summer.  The group continue to be out and about, sharing photos and reports of wildlife on the Estate. This week, Bev saw fieldfares on the Estate and sent a wonderful photo to the group:



Estate works

The work on the Mast Road entrance was slightly delayed but is due to start on Monday – there will be no footpath closures but be aware that there will be activity in that area while the new entrance is created.

You may have seen some tree felling in Walker Fold Woods – thinning work continues there, this is to clear dangerous trees, to make way for natural regeneration of broadleaf species, and to create an access route prior to work on the Water Trail next year.

Vicky Entwistle Engaging Communities Officer, Smithills

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