Mar 16 2020

Smithills Update 13th March 2020

Hello all

Starting this week’s update with some information on current guidance around coronavirus and how this affects volunteering:

Government guidance

The government has asked that anyone with the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • New, continuous cough

stays at home for 7 days. If this affects you, please follow the guidance and don’t attend the Hall or other volunteering events / meetings.


Woodland Trust activities and events

Re the current sutuation, we are monitoring guidance and at present, we have taken the decision to postpone the scheduled volunteer meetings next week of the History Group and the Photography Group.

The planned session with Myerscough College students has also been cancelled, as has the Dunham Massey volunteer get together planned for Monday (organised by Claire Green).

Some activities are continuing (outdoor activities), with amended risk assessments in place including the government guidance on staying home if symptomatic, and handwashing. These are:

  • Wildlife group monitoring walk – tomorrow
  • Wardens, patrolling – Monday
  • Photography group walk – Saturday 21st


However, I want to emphasise that if anyone feels they would rather not attend something they were due to attend, we completely understand! Just let us know.

I know that some of you meet up to walk on the Estate outside of these activities, either to go wildlife spotting, or to practice photography – if that’s outside of WT-arranged activities it won’t be covered by our review / risk assessment (and therefore is your own decision)… but of course, please stick to government guidance as this changes.

Now for some other topics…


Estate news

Our new Assistant Site Manager, Johnny Walker, joins the team on 30 March. He will be working with the Wardens mainly but I’m sure many of you will meet him either at the Hall or on the Estate.

Fly tipping continues… thank you to everyone who has been reporting this to me, Roberta or Tracey.

The donation machine for the car park is due to arrive next week. This is NOT a car park charge – the car park remains free! Lots of visitors ask us if they can donate to the Trust, and they will be able to do so via contactless card using the machine.


Wildlife group

The Wildlife group met on Tuesday, and had an update from Stuart on planned training opportunities and monitoring sessions.

Richard graced us with a bag of poo (ID unclear, some sort of vole); Jim brought a slightly less pongy gift of some books to add to the library I’ve started at the Hall (including this if anyone is looking for something to read).


The group are also hoping to take part in the City Nature Challenge, and are planning a session showing people how to use the iNaturalist app to record findings on a City Nature Challenge walk. Anyone can take part, and contribute to Lancashire’s total records. The date of this will be 10 April (Good Friday); as soon as there is a link for booking I will share it. The Challenge weekend itself is 24 to 27 April and you can do your walk anywhere!


Some lovely photos as always from the group:

L-R Kestrel, David Butterfield; cloud rainbow, Richard Cooke; frog chorus, Bev Tabor; solitary frog, Tony Greenwood


Other sighting include herds of fallow deer, lapwings, buzzard, reed bunting, song thrush, skylark, and a short eared owl… plus a pair of ducks on the pond at Walker Fold car park!



The Wardens have been on various tasks, including removing some old fencing from the Forest School compartment and carrying out patrols. Alex and Pete also ran our first Community Task Day on Thursday, to which we welcomed three local groups – Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s MyPlace project, Johnson Fold Men in Sheds, and the Sabden Growers group (also from Johnson Fold). Together they tackled some of the rhododendron in the Forest School compartment. We are really chuffed to be able to offer community groups activities like this and are hoping it will be popular!


Education volunteers


The Myerscough students also did some rhododendron removal, in one of the compartments on Smithills Dean Road:


Smithills in the media!

Last Friday, we recorded the Smithills edition of the Woodland Trust podcast, ‘Woodland Walks’. You can listen to previous episodes by searching for Woodland Walks on Apple Podcasts or Google Play – there have been five so far (on Heartwood Forest, Loch Arkaig, Trees on Farms, Ben Sheildaig and Urban Trees), and ours will soon join the list! We spent the afternoon walking with presenter Adam Shaw on the Estate and talking about our work at Smithills. Alex and Pete joined us and spoke about volunteering – they stole the show and we can’t wait to hear the finished thing!

On Monday, Granada filmed a piece with Russ about ways in which individuals can help battle climate change. They told us that it should be shown on Granada Reports on Monday (though these things are always changeable). Keep your eyes peeled!


Vicky Entwistle, Engaging Communities Officer, Smithills

No Comments

Post a Comment