Smithills Update 10th Jan 2020
Happy New Year! I hope that you have all had a good Christmas and that 2020 is treating you well so far.
January is quiet in terms of events, but there are one or two things to update you about:
January task day
Our Practical Group Leaders will be running the January task day, in which we will be checking up on our newly planted trees – one of the questions we were asked often during our tree planting weeks was ‘how will we know that the trees are doing well?’, and one way we do this is to regularly check on their progress in the months following planting. For the task day, we are inviting the volunteer group to help us to do this.
Following feedback from the volunteers, the task days are now slightly longer (9.30am to 2pm), to allow those of you who want more time to get stuck in to a task to do that. We know that a finishing time of 12.30 suited others, though, so please do leave at the lunch break if that is better for you.
Winter Trees Guided Walk
The first of our public guided walks for 2020 is the Winter Tree ID walk, on 1 Feb. As mentioned previously, this will be led by Greater Manchester Ecology Unit. Info on the walk is here: https://woodlandtrusttickets.cloudvenue.co.uk/smithillswintertreeswalk
The Wildlife Group have a monitoring walk on Saturday from Walker Fold – the first of 2020. On these walks, the group take note of species seen (both plant and animal) and record this info to help us keep a record of species in our various habitats. In 2020, we are putting together a training plan for the Wildlife Group to enable them to help us to regularly monitor specific habitats (including the habitat being created around the new leaky dams).
Of course, the Wildlife group have not been sat indoors over the festive period (they never are!) and have taken some lovely photos of birds on the Estate, including redwing and brambling. Some of these will be featured on our Instagram page (if you have Instagram, we are wtsmithillsestate).
The next meeting of the Wildlife Group is on 21st January at 7pm at the Hall, led by Stuart Fraser.
Some of the History Group are participating in our oral history project, and have a workshop with oral historian Vanessa Cardui on 25th Jan, in which they will learn how to use our brand new recording equipment – following which they can begin to interview people with stories about, or memories of, the Estate over the years. Anyone who wants to share their stories is welcome to get in touch – just email me and I’ll add you to our list!
We have a new Warden – Clive (who lots of you already know), which takes us to nine Wardens for the site. They have been busy checking the culverts across the Estate, patrolling the footpaths and reporting any issues, and helping us to create a plan for Community Task Days (more below). They also now have a room of their own next to the Estate office, a really useful base for their kit and maps etc. We have some upcoming health and safety training, and training on how to use our water level monitoring equipment, for the Wardens, so that they can help us to monitor the effectiveness of the flood management works we have been carrying out on the Estate.
Guided Walks Group
The Guided Walks group are meeting on 4th February. The walks led by our volunteers last year were a very successful part of our programme – and I think we all agree that the knowledge and enthusiasm of the walk leaders meant that all four of our walk routes were well received by attendees. Charlotte will be working on planning the volunteer-led guided walk programme for 2020 with the group at the next meeting.
There are some really fantastic images of landscapes and wildlife coming in from the Photography Group, which Charlotte is collating and looking to use across our social media platforms. In addition, we have our three Event Photographers too – Tony came along to the public tree planting day at the end of November and captured some excellent photos of the day, which we will be using in material to celebrate the mass tree planting.
The next meeting of the Photography Group is on 14 January at 6.30pm at the Hall.
Site works – natural flood management work near Burnt Edge
Please be aware that the permissive path which cuts across the field between Newfields and Burnt Edge Lane will not be accessible from Monday 13 January until the end of the month, to allow for deculverting work as part of our natural flood management project. The footpath along Burnt Edge itself is not affected, but please do not ignore the ‘no entry’ signs as there will be machinery and quite a large trench in that field as the work progresses.
Vicky Entwistle – Engaging Communities Officer, Smithills