Friends of Dalby Forest

Volunteering in the Great Yorkshire Forest


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Cooling off under the trees

Today’s worktask was thankfully in the cool under the trees at the Enchanted Wood at Dalby Forest. The Enchanted Wood is a natural play area that we help to look after that is specifically for the under 5s. We replenished materials in the barefoot walk, repaired parts of the stone wall & remade the nature art area. The woodland tiny folk have also moved in! Can you find all their doors on your next visit?

Cooling off under the trees at the Barefoot walk
Nature art area
Little door. There are 5 in total. Can you find them all?


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Jerry Noddle’s Turtle Dove Puddle

We spotted this tweet by Andy Malley last week so we know that some turtle doves have already returned to Dalby. And so it was with some renewed vigour – the beautiful sunny morning also helped – that we made a start on another turtle dove pool, this time at Jerry Noddle. See our previous post as to why we’re doing this!

We’d no bowser this time so will return to fill the pool next week – as it certainly looks like it’s not going to rain any time soon. We make the pools deep enough that ought to mean they should not need to be refilled but it’s an exposed spot so it’s possible we might need to tend to this one a little more than others. This one will now forever be known as Jerry’s Puddle at Jerry Noddle!


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Making Drinking Pools for Turtle Doves

It was a beautiful sunny morning in the forest as we embarked on our work task and latest project – Drinking Pools for Turtle Doves. Mattocks and spades were the tools of choice (it was quite stony!) as we made the first of a series of drinking pools.

The Turtle Dove is one of our most threatened breeding birds, and it has suffered a very serious decline in the UK. There are various pressures on them such as unsustainable shooting on their migration route, habitat loss in their wintering grounds but also a lack of breeding success here.

Once they return to the UK (usually from late April), Turtle Doves rely on water – much more than other farmland birds. This is because their chicks are fed a ‘crop milk’ of water and seed, so it’s important that they have access to summer-long clean water sources with walk-in access. FoDF will be making a series of drinking pools to support the population that we know returns to nest every year in Dalby.

We banked up unused spoil alongside one side of the pool and sowed it with wildflower seeds which should encourage some butterflies later in the summer.

Thanks to everyone who came along today! A brilliant effort!

A special shout out should go to all the bird watchers who took part in this year’s ‘Michael Clegg bird race’ which raised the funds to allow us to get the tools and materials for the pools and get the project off the ground.

If you would like to support our bird projects, then you can donate to our GoFundMe . https://www.gofundme.com/f/Support-the-Birds-of-Dalby-Forest


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March 2022 worktask and AGM

Thank you to everyone who came to today’s work task and stayed to attend our in person AGM afterwards (thanks to the cafe who provided tea and coffee and amazing lemon cake!).

We continued to tidy up the forest garden, tackled the small willow structures in the park and did a bit of cutting back and reinstate the view from David’s seat on the Yellow trail which had become quite overgrown.

David was one of the original FoDF committee members when the Friends were first formed and the bench was placed here in his memory when he died in 2012. Take a moment next time you are passing and enjoy the view once more!

The view from David’s seat. March 2022.
David’s seat


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Frosty start to 2022

It was a cold and frosty Dalby morning for our first work task of the year. In previous years, we’ve often had to split the willow task across two days, but we had a brilliant turnout of volunteers so we managed to give all the structures a haircut and get them under some sort of control!

We cut back most things by hand but were rather jealous of ranger Holly’s mechanised loppers! We also said goodbye to Simon, our go-to ranger for everything these last few years, as he moves roles within Forestry England. We’re sorry to see Simon leave, but he can definitely come back anytime if he brings more of those cakes for breaktime!


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Christmas 2021 work task

No helping with the Christmas tree sales or festive crafts for us this year, but it did mean we had our first December work task ever! This year we spent it at the maze which was new to a few people including Andrew who is joining us as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award.

It was very muddy (as usual) but we had mince pies at break time and managed to prep more areas and clear paths as the last circle starts to take shape.

Merry Christmas!

Mark plus a happy band of muddy volunteers at the maze


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Planting hope

Some of our volunteers helped to marshal at the Dalby Dash this year, so we were smaller in number than usual so just 6 of us were in the Forest Garden this month. We tried to tackle more of the creeping buttercup, but also cleared the area that’s been under cover for a couple of seasons. We prepped the area and have sown some wildflower seed with the hope for some woodland colour in the spring. It was warm and it almost felt spring-like in the sun but those seeds will need a bit of frost before they get going. We look forward to seeing how this area develops over the course of the next few months.


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Barefoot walk (pt 2) with a spot of forest bathing

Thanks to all the volunteers who turned out early on a sunny morning for a task at the Enchanted Wood, we have finished off the barefoot walk we started last month. We added two new sections of gravel and pine cones (apparently not quite as torturous as it looks!).

We also rebuilt a section of wall, installed a bench and laid out a platform for a spot of forest bathing, ably demonstrated here by Martin! We also welcomed new volunteers Ruth and Andy.


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A new barefoot walk

Thanks to all the volunteers who turned out to our work task this morning where we have started a barefoot sensory walk in the Enchanted Wood at Adderstone.

There are now sections with bark, sand, straw, large pebbles, connected with stepping logs and stones. We will be adding new sections for small stones, a mud area, and maybe even pine cones at a future work task.

Alongside the path, we also installed some cute metal bird sculptures. Hope you like the new additions!


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Orchids everywhere

A small group turned out to the bird feeding area at Staindale this morning to lay some woodchip to surface the area and give better access to be able to fill up the feeders. We have more plans for this area so keep your eyes peeled. The new feeder frame looked to be weathering in well.

We then we did some clearing along the paths around the lake. The orchids were everywhere!