Friends of Dalby Forest

Volunteering in the Great Yorkshire Forest


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Good to be back

This morning finally saw us return to the forest for a work task at the Enchanted Wood – the first task since February. The wind was gusting strongly first thing, so much so the rustling beech trees made it hard to hear my toolbox talk! We litter-picked, pruned, admired the fungi, built up some boggy paths with wood chip and rebuilt a section of wall with a stile.

It was definitely lovely to see some familiar faces after so long.

What has changed since the last time we met is that, for the foreseeable future, we will only have 6 people on our work tasks, tools are allocated for the duration of the task, not shared, and of course some tasks will not be possible if we are to maintain social distance – all of which make for interesting logistics for ranger and task leader.

It was something of a trial run this morning, but lovely to be back.

We’re not in a position to accept new volunteers just yet. I’d like to give all our existing volunteers a chance to return first but this is the first step towards opening up tasks again.

Like what we do? Please support our group – all our fundraising activities to keep us going have been severely affected by the pandemic. You can donate to the Friends of Dalby Forest via Paypal Giving or you can buy us a “coffee” (actually bird seed for the week!) http://ko-fi.com/dalbyfriends Thank you!


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Volunteering update

The Friends of Dalby Forest have not started back at volunteering work tasks in the forest yet (although we are planning to soon). Due to covid19 restrictions, when we do, we will be operating under much stricter conditions which includes only having a maximum of 6 people on a task (and this count includes children). There are a lot more guidelines that we need to work under than we were used to – and unfortunately even though we are outside, the guidance will not allow for larger groups at present.

Our existing volunteers will get a chance to return first when tasks resume and we hope to be able to open up to new volunteers as soon as possible after that. Although everything is subject to change if additional local restrictions are put in place! Thanks for your understanding.


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Thank You Phil!

Phil at the Forest Garden, September 2014

Long time member Phil Johnson has decided it is time to hang up his gloves, saw and shovel and step away from active Friends of Dalby Forest work tasks. Phil was a founding member of the Friends of Dalby Forest back in the early 2000s, so it’s a particularly poignant end to an era.

Phil (in the hat) as seen on our banner in the Visitor Centre

You might remember Phil and his trademark beard from one of his many guises – wheelbarrow supremo, Dalby poster boy, Green Santa, super Wizard and bat-maker!

Phil with Jane Payne, at an FoDF Bank Holiday stall at Adderstone, August 2015

Phil did a lot of the art work and posters for many Friends’ events and activities, and his little card bats are always really popular at our Halloween craft table (rest assured we will continue to make them when we do finally get back to forest life!). Although many elements of how we operate have changed during Phil’s time, as we continue now, we do so only on the solid foundations that Phil helped to build.

A compilation of Phil’s artistic work over the years

So thank you Phil, for everything you’ve done, from all of us. Enjoy your retirement!

Phil at the Forest Garden, January 2019 (photo by Michael Hill)
Everyone listens to Phil! October 2015
Wizard Phil with Judith (current chair), October 2015
Phil at the Dry Stone Wall Maze, July 2015
Phil at Adderstone, November 2014
Phil as Dalby’s Green Santa

*And don’t forget to give Phil a wave next time you see him as he enjoys his “extra” time on the beach working with the donkeys at Scarborough.


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(Not) the 2020 Duck Dash

It should have been our main fundraiser, the Dalby duck dash this weekend. One of our young volunteers, who always helps out at the finish line, is a budding animator, and has made this instead!

FoDF is not a charity that spends much but we still have some running costs & spending like year-round bird seed supply for the Staindale feeding station, & adding/replacing feeders (pesky squirrels!). We raised £300 at the duck dash in 2019 (our best ever) so the lack of dashing ducks will be felt.

If you appreciate what we do, & if you can, please consider making a donation https://www.paypal.com/gb/fundraiser/charity/3197360
Hope to see you at the 2021 duck dash in Dalby!

Listen to our interview on BBC Radio York! https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08mqklt

Our fundraising duck dash in 2019


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Not back in Dalby just yet

Although you may have seen that Dalby Forest is open to visitors again (albeit with some differences to manage social distancing. with the play equipment and play areas, GoApe, visitor centre information desk, café and bike hire all remaining closed for now), I am sure you are wondering when we will be able to get back to our work tasks. However there are still no plans to resume volunteering as yet.

FoDF take our steer on this from Forestry England and its volunteer coordinators. We will resume activities as soon as it is deemed we can do so safely but we are not able to restart just yet. I am sure we will have quite a lot to do once we are able. Forest garden buttercups spring to mind!

Unfortunately suspension of activities also includes our one and only fundraiser of the year, our duck dash.


So if you appreciate what we do, & are able, you can make a donation here https://paypal.com/gb/fundraiser/charity/3197360 or support us with the cost of a coffee https://ko-fi.com/dalbyfriends


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New year, new hair cut (for the willow)!

Thank you to all our old and indeed new volunteers who turned out to our work task in what can only be described as damp conditions!

We gave the willow structures in the park their annual haircut. Of course the sun came out within minutes of us finishing. But we had a welcome hot drink in the cafe.

Our next task will be in February. Let us know if you’d like to join us.


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Baptism by mud for some new volunteers!

We welcomed 3 new volunteers on our work task today, two of whom are joining to add to their volunteering portfolio for their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award, and making 3 DoE volunteers with FoDF in total.

Alongside checking initialled stones and mending pallets, we mostly got very muddy by clearing the finished sections of large and small stones. Well done everyone!


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Halloween Happenings

Thank you to small merry band who turned up to get wet in the forest today! We cleared and prepped the trails and performance areas and the “tunnel of terror” for this year’s Fear in the Forest.

You can book your tickets here https://www.forestryengland.uk/dalby-fore…/…/fear-the-forest

We will be back in the forest next Sunday to help with the Centenary planting to which all are welcome. https://www.forestryengland.uk/…/ev…/centenary-tree-planting

The tunnel of terror (under construction!)


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Stepping out at Staindale

Our September work task was in the sun at Staindale and we also welcomed new volunteer Lucy. For the first hour, we cut back and cleared the bird feeding area and erected a new sightings white board. We then crossed to the other side of the lake to block up a path that was eroding the dam and cleared the almost hidden steps to encourage their use. The steps appear to have been railway sleepers and we were intrigued to know where they came from!

Pics courtesy of Rob, our treasurer, who came along later on a bike ride and Judith F, although most of us had gone by the time we remembered to say cheese!


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Pictures of our Duck Dask August 2019

The rain and thunder thankfully held off for our duck dash on Sunday. Thanks to everyone who turned up, bought a ticket, played the tombola and joined us for some quacking good fun. We raised over £300 for the Friends, every single penny of which goes back into our work within the forest. Lovely pictures courtesy of Colin Dadswell.