Archive for July, 2012


Grass vetchling

4th Dave and I met the WEA group at Anderton Car Park for a guided walk. We started with a look at the spectacular moths caught in the trap overnight, before transporting everyone down Marbury Lane. We were surprised at the variety of wildflower species, especially the vetches, as we walked up the central bund towards the New Warrington Road. Dave let us into Ashton’s Flash and we were soon admiring flowers enjoying the alkaline conditions: mouse-eared hawkweed, fragrant orchids, marsh orchids, fairy flax, common centaury, yellow wort, marsh helleborines and sainfoin. On the way back along the central bund I was thrilled to spot a tiny grass vetchling. We’d caught a brief shower, but it hadn’t dampened the enthusiasm.
After a late lunch Elna and I did the Butterfly Transect. We were rewarded with a dozen meadow browns on the Scrape Meadow, nothing else, just meadow browns.

12th I struggled to get a bonfire going to burn the pile of ragwort that was building up. I found some cardboard and made another more successful attempt before Chris arrived with a trailer load of ragwort. Other volunteers passed derisory remarks about the feeble plume of smoke that I had achieved. We left it for an hour, returning to find it burning well. Jim and I gradually added lime tree trimmings and built up enough heat to allow us to lay on the ragwort. There was a lot of smoke, but it seemed to be cooking well.

18th It began to rain soon after we started at Marbury. There was a group going out on a ragwort clearance task and there was already a huge pile on the burning site. There was also a load of old fence posts that had been removed from Ashton’s Flash. The rain didn’t amount to much and the sun appeared, so with a bit of a breeze we had ideal conditions for a bonfire. The only problem was the very wet piles awaiting the burn. The paper, cardboard and kindling quickly burst into flames. The heat from the burning fence posts enabled us to add the ragwort, but then there was lots of smoke. Elna joined in the fun after her Health Walk. Just when we thought we were getting to the end another trailer load arrived.

19th Pouring rain greeted us, but it hadn’t quite extinguished our bonfire. With a bit of coaxing and some gentle wafting of a stiff sheet of card we brought it back to life. More of the poisonous weed disappeared in smoke.

25th It was warm and sunny, but mercifully less humid than the last few days. There was one last field of flowering ragwort and the rangers were keen to clear it before there were seeds floating over the surrounding meadows. There must have been at least ten of us on Dairy House Meadows with sickles, lazy dogs, forks and bin sacks. There was some relief from the tedious back breaking toil in the form of friendly banter and sightings of wildlife, including a tiny froglet, ringlet and small skipper butterflies. There were also a few cinnabar moth caterpillars, which feed on the ragwort. We took a trailer load of the weed back to the burning site at Marbury. Jim and I decided to start the bonfire after lunch and bit by bit the ragwort was reduced to fine ash. Another load arrived at teatime and the field is now free of yellow, except for meadow buttercups. There are still enough leaves left for the caterpillars.

26th There was little left of yesterday’s bonfire and certainly no glowing embers, so Jim and I started again. As soon as we had sufficient heat, on went the ragwort to produce lots of smoke. I had to have a shower before a hairdressing appointment, leaving Jim to carry on.

Teddy Bears’ Picnic, Friday 24th August

Teddy Bears’ Picnic at
Marbury Country Park.

Enjoy fun and woodland games in the park and join in a Family Treasure Hunt to find the hidden bears.

Meet 1.00pm at the Rangers’ Cabin.

For more information contact Joanne Redley 01606 44728

Visitors Enjoy Picnic in the Park

Good weather and great entertainment from the Weavils and members of Northwich Folk Club helped 140 visitors enjoy FoAM’s Picnic in the Park on Saturday 21st July.



Northwich Folk Club

Northwich Folk Club

Enjoying the Evening

Our thanks to the Weavils and Northwich Folk Club for providing the entertainment. Thanks also to the volunteers and Rangers Dave James and Amanda Pritchard, whose help made the event possible.