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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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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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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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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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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Lizards, April showers and some new volunteers at the Maze

Our worktask this morning was at the maze. It was colder than we were expecting and we even had some hailstones and rain showers every so often. We mended pallets, shifted stones and weeded the inner circle, and even found a little lizard – who did not move very much having been fooled into thinking that the earlier sun meant it was warm!

Thanks to everyone who came including two new volunteers Sue and Vanessa.


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Brushing up on our skills

We had a work task organised for Sunday 21st January but with the Ellerburn trail still under snow and more forecast at Sunday lunchtime, the decision was taken to cancel the task. However we had in any case arranged the first of our Manual handling training courses and so 8 of us attended that in the morning instead, along with some members of Singletraction. We brushed up on the good lifting and carrying techniques we should all be employing given that we can’t totally avoid lifting or moving things (or wheel-barrowing, or shovelling, or pushing, or pulling, or bending and reaching) as a forest volunteer!

All FoDF active volunteers will have to do the course eventually so watch this space for further training days.

 

Lifting and shifting at the maze – but in warmer times!