Archive for August, 2013

Green Flag Award for Northwich Woodlands

Green Flag Awards are made by the ‘Keep Britain Tidy Campaign’ under a scheme supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government. The whole of Northwich Woodlands has been judged on eight criteria including categories such as ‘a welcoming space’, ‘healthy,safe and secure’, ‘ clean and well maintained’, ‘conservation and heritage’ and ‘involvement with the community’.

We are delighted that the Woodlands has been judged to be worthy enough to be given the Award for the first time.

On 8th August 2013, Cllr Stuart Parker met with Ranger Dave James and volunteers to celebrate the achievement.

Cllr Stuart Parker with Dave James, Alan Redley, Joanne Redley and Blue

Cllr Stuart Parker with Dave James, Alan Redley, Joanne Redley and Blue

Cllr Parker and Dave James with some of the volunteers who help look after the Park

Cllr Parker and Dave James with some of the volunteers who help look after the Park


jim cutting back4th. Jim and I went up to Dairy House Meadows to do cutting back. It was sunny and very warm. We hacked back the brambles and trimmed some overhanging branches until the heat and hay fever became too much.

10th. It was almost too warm to do anything. Sandra volunteered for us to cut back along Forge Brook through Big Wood. The two of us set out beside the mere to take advantage of the shade. We hacked back a few stray brambles along the way, but there were more beside the brook where it was still shaded and pleasant. After about an hour, though, we were glad of a sit on a felled tree trunk conveniently left by the path. We joined the main path through the wood and went on through to the Scrape. There were lots of dragonflies and damselflies over the water. We returned to the yard via the bridle path, where there were still more brambles to deal with.
elna scrubbing

11th. Chris found Elna and me some cleaning jobs to do, picnic tables and notice boards, before we did the butterfly transect. In terms of numbers we had our best recording this year. It was very warm again and that suits the meadow browns and gatekeepers.

17th.Weather conditions weren’t ideal, but the charcoal burner needed emptying. Demand for charcoal was likely to be high with the continuing sunny weather. Jim, Sandra and I filled 14 bags. The overnight burn seems to be the most successful as we had no browns. Elna, Sandra and I looked for our next job to be in the shade. Chris had received reports of a bees nest in Hopyards Wood and we set off to find the exact location. We found a wasps’ nest that badgers had begun to investigate in their search for grubs. We reported back to Chris, who supplied us with warning notices, posts and hammer. We retraced our steps and then we had difficulty driving the posts into the dry, hard, stony ground, but we managed to leave sufficient warning of the risk.

IMG_140618th. It gets hotter! Elna and I opted for a bit of litter-picking, but we didn’t have to go far to find the rubbish. The Mere Hide provided our first finds. Bread wrappers were the most common items near the Boathouse with some carefully tucked between the nettles after the ducks had been fed. We’d even been left an unopened bottle of Italian rose on a picnic table in the midst of assorted empties scattered on the ground. We saw a few butterflies and it was soon warm enough to start the transect. We recorded our best figures for the last three years, including 80 meadow browns.

24th. It was still very warm. I was on my own to do the butterfly transect. The Scrape Meadow provided most of the butterflies. Jim and I went across to the Coward Reedbed to investigate reports of a fire. We could smell it before we could see any signs of smoke. We passed the newly erected den, expertly constructed with huge logs. We weren’t prepared for the size of the logs still smouldering in the woods. We were unable to move the hot timbers safely. It seemed best to leave it alone and report back to Chris.IMG_1407

25th. The main task involved most of the volunteers in loading the charcoal burner. Chris was chain sawing logs; volunteers operated the log-splitter or wielded axes. Mark got the job of going into the kiln to lay the kindling. Slowly the split logs filled the charcoal burner and it was ready for another burn.IMG_1431

31st. It was raining. Dave wanted Sandra and me to help him with the Holiday Pond Dipping Activity. Fifteen children and accompanying adults set off for the Ice Pond. The rain didn’t seem to bother the children, who were excited at the sight of smooth newts, efts, water boatmen, water fleas and dragonfly and midge larvae. The group in the afternoon was smaller, probably put off by the weather forecast. It rained even harder, but still the children didn’t complain; they were engrossed in their catches. Sandra and I were dripping wet and filthy, especially where we’d been on our knees, but it was a most rewarding activity.