Jan 20 2020

Smithills Volunteer Update 20th Jan 2020

Dear all

Hope you have all had a good week. A few updates from the Estate for you:



Our Site Manager, Mark Gordon, has left the team. Mark had been part of the team since the Woodland Trust first bought the Estate, so although he did not directly manage any of the volunteer groups, many of you will know him. I know you will all wish him well for the future – if anyone wanted to send him a message I will be happy to forward those on.

Charlotte will be starting her maternity leave at the end of next month. We advertised a maternity cover post in December and are interviewing for that this week.


Amazing result

I think some volunteers are still to send in their hours, but at the moment the total volunteer hours contributed for 2019 is just over 5,500! We clocked up a total of 4,400 in 2019– that’s a 25% increase! We will be celebrating this at the next volunteer group meeting.


Community task days

Following on from the interest we had in our community tree planting days back in November, we have had lots of requests from groups about continuing to be involved with our work. We have decided to run monthly community task days, on the second Thursday of each month, which any interested community group can attend. The tasks will vary, depending on the time of year. The Wardens are helping us to put together a list of tasks linked to our Estate management plan, and some of the Wardens will also be leading the days. The first community task day will be on 12th March. If you know any community groups who might be interested, we can add them to an email list to let them know what the tasks will be and how to get involved.


Wildlife group

The wildlife group went on a monitoring walk last Saturday, and got some excellent photos of lichen! Also noted was a woodcock calling near Burnt Edge. The woodcock has a distinctive call, which you can hear for yourself here – https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/woodcock/


Bev also got some photos of birds feeding in the larch trees, including goldfinch, siskin and coal tit.

Two images of lichen (Rob Ball)


Photography group

 The photography group met this week and are continuing to investigate the idea of an exhibition in Bolton; this isn’t confirmed but we will keep you informed on progress. The group continue to post photos to our Flickr page – if you don’t have a Flickr account, here are a few of the latest photos:


L-R: Images taken on the Estate by Dave Wilkinson, Bev Tabor, Tony Greenwood, Karen Oldfield and Alan Booth


If you’re on Instagram Charlotte is continuing to add these and other photos to the Smithills Instagram account (wtsmithillsestate).


History Group

 The History Group have a visit to Bolton Archives planned for next month, as well as their oral history workshop at the end of this month.


Community Walks

 We had our first dementia friendly walk of 2020 this week. On the walk we collected twigs, leaves and ferns and over a cuppa after the walk we used these items to create tree boggarts with clay. One of our regular attenders sent us these photos from December and January’s walks. We will be continuing these walks through 2020, on the first Thursday of each month.


IMPORTANT – change to date of next volunteer group meeting

The next all-volunteer group meeting was due to be on 11 February. This has been moved to 18 February. At this meeting we will be holding our very own volunteer awards, marking the achievements the volunteer group made during 2019.

Vicky Entwistle – Smithills Engaging Communities Officer


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