Friends of Dalby Forest

Volunteering in the Great Yorkshire Forest


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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!


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A bench with a view (again)

Our last work task was in October, but a keen if rusty band of volunteers turned out to a work task in Dalby this morning. Armed with saws and loppers, we were reinstating the views from the benches that line the path from Crosscliff to Jerry Noddle. Hot, sweaty work!

It was lovely to be back in the forest. There remains a limit in working party numbers (so new volunteers won’t be able to start with us just yet) but fingers crossed 🤞 it won’t be too long.

Jerry Noddle – Before
Jerry Noddle – After
Our first album cover!
Ranger Simon with 5 of the work party at Jerry Noddle. Photo by Judith W – once again avoiding the camera (just the way I like it!)


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‘Seedhenge’ at Staindale

If you are visiting Staindale this Easter, then you will spot the new feeders and bespoke frame which have been installed at the bird feeding area – we are lovingly calling it Seedhenge!

Working to a vague idea from us, the frame was designed and then beautifully crafted by Nigel Watson from Wood With Heart just down the hill in Ebberston.

The Friends are not yet back to volunteering as we are awaiting new guidance from Forestry England, so the frame was installed by rangers earlier this week, with the fittings and feeders added today in a family bubble.

We hope birds like it as much as we do.


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An inevitable pause

Our return was short-lived.

It will probably come as no surprise that volunteering will once again be suspended until the new restrictions are lifted.  

So there will be no FoDF task this Sunday as planned and until further notice. Given that we were unlikely to be able to do our usual Christmas activities anyway, it is safe to say that we will not be restarting tasks until at least January 2021, and more likely even later than that.

Dalby Forest remains open for outdoor recreation and exercise. Just remember to plan ahead and follow the latest Government guidance for travel, outdoor spaces and meeting people from outside your household.

Stay safe!

Judith


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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!