Monday, 29 December 2014

Snow show

Stephen, Vashti, Steve.
'Twas the day after Boxing day, and the snow lay round about. Mainly on the ungritted roads, so that hardly anyone could get to Marsden. Vashti, Steve and I had walked up, Stephen intrepidly drove. We managed to plant a further 31 Oaks, which wasn't bad going given the conditions. Leftover mince pies were shared.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Yule logging

Hap, Steve, Jess, Mandy, Harvey, Geoff, Dave and Dianne.
Today we had our now traditional pre-Christmas woodland management session. Weather was a bit grizzly and damp. But we soldiered on. We were: myself, Guy, Mandy, Dave, Geoff, Ben, Dianne and Lizzie the Dog, Duncan and Harvey the Dog, Jess, Steve, Hap, Philip and Stephen.

Guy and Mandy provided hearty chilli stew for break time. This was accompanied by Dave's Aldi knock off Bailey's, and Geoff's purportedly more sophisticated blackcurrant liqueur. And home made oat biscuits. Plus cheese and crackers. And a roaring camp fire.

Before and after we made pigs of ourselves Philip and Steven were doing their chainsaw work, and the rest of us were felling smaller trees and logging. We were thinning out some woodland that was planted by us 15 years ago. Removing some nurse species and shorter lived trees such as Larch, Birch and Alder, to allow more light to the Oaks.

Oh, and we also carried a further 150 deer stakes and 200 deer guards on site.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Few plant the first of many

Trevor, Geoff and Duncan, amongst the frost and fog.
Here we were back at Butterley, a little depleted in numbers due to the proximity of Christmas. We were: Trevor, Peter W., Duncan and Harvey the dog, Dianne and Lizzie the dog, Geoff, Dave, Philip and myself. We planted 120 Oaks, courtesy of the Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Cake was big chunks of Bakewell tart.

As an aide memoire: we have 100 hare guards and stakes, 220 deer stakes, 100 deer guards, 40 cell grown Goat Willow, 50 bare root Goat Willow, 50 bare root Downy Birch, 50 bare root Hawthorn, and 130 bare root Oak. There are, I think 60 odd trees left at the nursery too for this site. Total still to plant 380. Two Saturday's work?

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Deep Gate

Hap, Geoff, Jess and Dianne resplendent in CVTS branded casual wear.
Peter is still irked that the hats sold out before he got one.
This Saturday we were planting along a local bridleway called, Deep Gate. There is older CVTS planting at both the bottom and top ends. So we were attempting to link this woodland with a new "wildlife corridor". We planted 210 trees, in several small clumps along the edges of the bridleway, taking care not to impede the progress of folks on their giant pets (horses). We were: myself, Philip, Jess, Dianne and Lizzie the dog, Cath, Jolly, Trevor, Peter W., Brian, Peter T., Hap, Geoff, Ben and Steve. Dave went off solo to Butterley. Cake was Apple and Walnut. And the sun shone for at least some of the time.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Butterley once more

Vashti and Jess, and some Birch.
This morning we were back at Butterley. Planting another 205 Woodland Trust/Co-Op/ Cuckoo's nest trees.

We were: myself, Cath, Philip, Dave, Jess, Vashti, Ben, Dianne and Lizzie the dog, Duncan and Harvey the dog, Geoff, Steve, Stephen, Peter W., and Hap.

Cake was monumental slabs of home made millionaires shortbread. Wow, was said a lot. Even the greedy sorts could only manage single pieces.

Left on site are 40 Willow, 100 Hare stakes and guards, and, I think, 70 deer guards and 150 deer stakes.

Stephen and Peter, and misty Marsden.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Per ardua ad Butterley

Geoff strikes a blow for treedom
This week we returned once again to the fringes of Butterley Reservoir. Trees were provided by the Woodland Trust, stakes and guards by the Cuckoo's Nest and the Co-op. There are lots of plans for Butterley this year, with Yorkshire Water themselves getting involved in some planting. Above us, higher up on the moorland we could hear the National Trust up to something, motorised, probably planting heather.

We were; myself, Geoff, Dave, Philip, Jess, Lizzie the dog, Dianne, Steve, Ben, Trevor, Peter T., and Hap. We spent the first hour lugging materials onto site. Though we did get some welcome help from the groundsman at Marsden Golf Club, who ferried the heavy stuff some of the way in his Kawasaki Mule buggy. We want one.

So far we have taken up 360 deer stakes and guards, and 100 hare stakes and guards.

In the second hour we managed to plant 85 trees. 125 trees were left on site healed in.

Cake was ginger.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Foggy, but no Compo or Clegg

This morning we were in a field at the bottom of Crimble Clough, Slaithwaite, planting 105 Hawthorn, 30 Hazel and 20 Rowan as a shelter belt. And 20 Sessile Oak and 10 Rowan in 4 small clumps at the other end of the field.

We were: Philip, Dave, Vashti, Cath, Trevor, Peter W., Peter T., Steve, Geoff, Geoff's friend (name not taken, our apologies), Dianne, Jess, and Ben. Simon was off poorly. Landowners Hannah and Alex are also in the photo.

Cake was Apple flapjack, capably distributed by Steve in Simon's absence. Geoff's friend also brought tasty biscuits.

Duncan's absence was noted again - we miss Harvey the dog! Apparently  he is injured. We wish him a speedy recovery. Harvey that is.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

A damp start but a good day's work

So this morning we were in a field on the edge of Marsden, planting 300 trees and hedge plants. We were: myself, Dianne, Cath, Vashti, Philip, Geoff, Ben, Steve, Peter, and Hap. We were joined by the landowner, Jolly, and his friends, Ross, Matt and Matt. Ann brought us cake at 11am. Unfortunately that was also more or less the time that the rain really set in, and we ended the morning quite damp and muddy. This morning also saw the debut of my new super trowel - actually a cold-war era Hungarian army entrenching tool. £12.99 off Ebay, and worth every penny.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Woodland management at Guy Edge


Today we were at Guy Edge, Linthwaite. A very early CVTS planting site, from the 1960s. The land is owned by Kirklees and we have an official management plan drawn up in collaboration with their Forestry Officer. Today we were mainly clearing brambles and low hanging branches from footpaths. At some point we will return and fell a proportion of the numerous Corsican Pine on site. We were: myself, Philip, Dianne and Lizzie the dog, Hap and Steve. Guy popped along briefly to advise. Cake was chocolate brownies. A good morning's work, and good weather too.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Planting prep in Autumn sunshine

A lovely Autumn morning. We were myself, Jess, Dianne and Lizzie the dog, Ben, Geoff and Dave. We took 100 Hare guards and stakes, and 60 Deer guards and stakes up to Butterley Clough. I spent some time pruning the trees near the golf course second stile, since we will be carrying a lot more gear through there in the coming months. Seemed a good idea to make way. Stakes and guards are safely stashed on site ready for when new trees arrive. Lemon drizzle cake at break time (which was a bit late, as I lost track of time). Towards the end we helped Dave with his wildflower Meadow experiment. Which involves clearing a patch of Bracken and it's attendant root system, ready to be sown with seed in the Spring. Spoke to Bobby in the Sair and our pre-season meeting is now listed on their calendar.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Bramble on!

An enormously sweaty morning attempting to loosen the stranglehold of brambles on our young trees at Fieldhouse. We were: myself, Steve, Geoff, Philip, Dave, Hap, Duncan and Harvey the Dog. Guy and Mandy were working at the nursery. Cake was an improvised currant, cherry, choc-chip affair. There were a mysteriously large number of carrier bags in amongst the trees. Abandoned by blackberriers?

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Parkwood Revisited

Philip amongst the White Willow
This morning we took a trip up to Parkwood in Golcar. Planted over 3 seasons from 2012 onwards there are trees at various stages of growth across the field. We were very pleased with progress. Willow and Alder are doing well in the wet parts of the field, and Downy Birch was growing well in the dryer centre. Deer guards have been well worth the money, as planting done with canes and spirals has suffered from deer browsing. We retrieved 36 stakes and a similar number of guards for re-use this Winter. We were, myself, Steve, Philip and Ben. Cake was apple flapjack.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Weeding and wood chippings

Under Dave's supervision we spent the morning at the nursery, weeding the large bed in front of the shipping container, and then distributing wood chippings that were being donated by a tree surgery crew who were working just up the road. We were myself, Dave, Philip, Steve, Ben, Remy and Guy. After all that, and quite a few extra work by Dave it looks quite smart. Cake was chocolate.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Wholestone Moor

This morning Duncan, Harvey the dog, Brian and Peter went up to Wholestone Moor to carry on guarding vulnerable oaks. Unfortunately Brian was knocked over by a boisterous dog (not Harvey) and had to retreat wounded, with Peter's help. Duncan stayed on and guarded 25 trees.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Midges, midges, midges

This morning we were at Marsden Golf Course Hemplow Wood. We began by beating down some bracken on the side of Butterley Clough, rescuing some young trees from a shadowy doom. Then moved up into Marsden Golf Course phase 1 to do some formative pruning. For the entire morning there were clouds of Midges attempting to consume us. We consumed home made ginger cake. We were, myself, Geoff, Jess, Steve, Guy and Remy.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Our rapid-response Ragwort team respond!

"Where be that Ragwort?"
Philip went to Fieldhouse to remove Ragwort plants. We planted Fieldhouse some years ago, and have diligently removed Ragwort - which is a horse-unfriendly yellow weed - for the last two years. A huge number of plants were removed last year, and very few remained to be removed this year. Harvey the dog was also there it would seem, alone?

Saturday, 21 June 2014

A motley crew bash the bracken

Jess, Ben, Geoff, Hap, Simon, and Dave.
A rather warm Saturday morning, out on a hillside overlooking Meltham Mills. We were knocking back the Bracken which grows up and stops the sunlight reaching our precious little Oaks. A job well worth doing, but very sweaty, and quite a lot of flies/midges (hence the headwear). We were myself, Geoff, Dave, Ben, Jess, Hap and Philip. Duncan and Harvey the dog did try to find us, but failed. Cake was crunchy topped coconut cake.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Wholestone moor: guarding in the mist

The weather was promised as awful, but considering we were in thick mist or cloud, and experienced fairly heavy rain at noon, we had a good time. We were myself, Dianne, Jess, Cath, Duncan and Harvey the Dog, Ben, Geoff and Philip. We were putting deer guards onto Oaks that had failed to thrive from planting several years ago. A worthy cause. We were also removing guards from trees that had thrived. Home made oat and chocolate biscuits were the snack, plus some slightly out of date Minstrels!
Small Oak, new big tube.

Some Oak leaves looked suspiciously nibbled, but this likely looking culprit may not have been to blame, despite being called the Oak Eggar caterpillar/moth. Apparently it eats Heather and Bilberry.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Nursery work

We trimmed the perimeter hedge, weeded around the fruit trees and bushes and generally tidied up. It was damp. Jess brought 2 varieties of biscuits. We were Jess, Dave, Steve and Philip. We repaired to the Sair promptly.


Sunday, 18 May 2014

Field House and High Wood

Dave, and path before
Path after
Gorgeous morning, too nice to stay indoors. So myself, Philip, Geoff, Dave, Steve, Remy, Duncan, and Harvey the Dog met at Fieldhouse.

Philip, Geoff and Dave worked to clear the stone flagged path that runs up the centre of the site. Myself, Remy and Steve removed plastic guards and some vicious brambles from Hazel planted 7 or 8 years ago. Duncan and Harvey took the guards off some Larch.

Cake was a classic Jam Sponge, and they were big pieces.

Steve removes tree guard.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Duncan's delight

Duncan's car full of deer stakes and guards.

Duncan (and presumably Harvey the dog) were hard at work yesterday retrieving valuable deer stakes and guards from Parkwood. Excellent work! We promise we will take up the baton and start Summer work soon.

Philip and I spent the morning visiting two landowners, and hope that will result in two mornings of planting in the coming Season. 400 trees apiece would be about right. One is a bridleway near old Ground, which could do with tree lining, the other is a field below Pasture Wood in Marsden.

Dave was also out and about, but I can't remember where he said he was.

And lastly, another cartoon...

Thursday, 17 April 2014


This comic strip (and four others) were created by Dave Beeston in 2002. The origin of "mattock rouge" is that particular volunteers develop affections for digging with particular mattocks, which are then personalised with a dab of paint or other adornment. We have had mattock rouge, mattock bleu and mattock orange. Plus others which are identified by minor differences imperceptible to the uninitiated. Somehow the rough charms of mattock rouge got thoroughly imaginated into a fully fledged super-hero. Dave as very carefully (and only slightly) changed the names of all individuals and places featured in the comics.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

The last, last, day of the planting season.

We thought it was all over, it is now. We made one last foray, up to Pasture Wood above Marsden to plant 200 Sessile Oak. We were: myself, Geoff, Cath, Steve, Dave, Stephen, Peter W., Guy, Mandy, Duncan and Harvey the dog, and Ian Butterfield from Forest of Bradford. At break we finished off the last of the 50th Anniversary fruit cake.

We will now have  few weeks rest, before announcing our schedule of Summer work days.
New merchandise, patches. £2 each.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Our 50th Anniversary event.

Founder Dr Derek Phillips speaking
Just a few words to say that on Saturday 5th April at Broad Oak Bowling Club we had our 50th Anniversary event. It was very well attended, with over 100 guests. Geoff premiered his film "Tree People" and there were speeches from Philip, David Ridgway, and found Dr. Derek Phillips. Guest included Sir John Harman and Jason McCartney MP. A great time was had by all.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Scammonden and Marsden

Now this is the sort of creativity the Society needs!
So, we were aiming for this to be the last day of the planting season, as our stocks of trees were coming into bud, and we want to be leave next Saturday free for 50th Anniversary preparations.

Philip led a crew to Scammonden. We were: Philip, myself, Remy, Hap, Stephen, Peter T, Steve, and Cath. We planted 70 or so remaining Oaks from the Green Building Store project - and 60 Downy Birch plus 30 Hawthorn leftovers from last week's Woodland Trust planting at Parkwood.

Brian led his team to Marsden Golf course, comprising; Vashti, Duncan, Ben, Dianne, and Trevor. They had 100 bare rooted Oak to squeeze in between existing planting.

Cake was ginger.

Guy was toiling away a the Nursery, trying to move hardcore and save our windblown polytunnel.

The cartoon is an RSVP from an ex-member, and when we see them on the 5th we may well commission some more. Brilliant!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Lindley Owls and Butterley Twite

So once again we were in two groups. Philip led the team to Butterley. They were: Philip, Hap, Ben, Neil, Vashti, and Peter T. They almost finished the Where Birds go to die planting, leaving about 40 left to do.

I took a team up to Parkwood Golcar. We were: myself, Brian, Geoff, Jess, Duncan and Harvey the Dog and Stephen. We were joined by Yolande and Sue from Lindley Infants school, and they brought with them two Guides, Hope and Sunner, and selection of parents and children from the school. Together we planted exactly 300 trees. Weather was a bit mixed, mostly good all morning, but with rain sodden ground, and one outbreak of cold sleet. The Butterley crew were less lucky with the weather and arrived back at the pub quite damp.

Mr Moriarty looking a bit muddy

Parkwood before
Parkwood after

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Scammonden and Butterley

CVTS and Green Building Store at break time
Two teams played today. First of all Philip took Brian, Peter W, Peter T, Trevor, Duncan, Stephen and Ben to Scammonden to meet folk from the Green Building Store. The Green Building Store were sponsoring the planting, and joined in too. They planted around 170 out of the 250 sponsored trees.

The B team was myself, Geoff, Dave, Remy, Hap, Steve and Andrew. We began planting the final 400 at Butterley, and managed 180 of them. We were somewhat beleaguered by the mad wind that blew all morning.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Meltham Kop

Steve, Cath, and Ben (photo by Duncan)

Today, courtesy of the Woodland Trust and Ikea, we began planting 420 more trees on Meltham Kop. The trees were the Woodland Trust's "wildlife pack" designed to enhance food and shelter for a variety of birds and small mammals. We were: myself, Philip, Jess, Dianne (and Lizzie the dog), Cath, Geoff, Trevor, Brian, Vashti, Steve, Hap, Ben, Duncan (and Harvey the dog), Neil, Julia, and Ramsay. We were using recycled stakes and guards, collected by the Senior Section. Nice and bright morning, but damn windy.

Lizzie the dog and Jess

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Reclaim and re-use

Brian, Trevor and Peter
A rare photo feature for the Senior Section today. Brian, Trevor, Peter and Dianne were at Marsden Golf course removing stakes and guards. With the help of the young un Jess were were able to bluetooth the photo off Dianne's blackberry onto my phone.

Guy and Philip, and many many deer guards.
The rest of us were at Scammonden removing deer stakes and guards for re-use at Parkwood. We were: myself, Vashti, Hap, Peter T, Steve, Philip, Guy, Neil, Andrew, Duncan and Harvey the Dog, Jess, Geoff and Remy. Cake was a kind of almond free cherry bakewell.

Other notable events of the morning. Hap kindly donated several prizes for the raffle to be held at the 50th, and we met Roger and Richard in the Sair, and they have very generously sponsored our room booking at the Broad Oak Bowling Club.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Back to Butterley

This morning we were back at Butterley Reservoir above Marsden, preparing to plant 400 trees that are coming to us from the Woodland Trust. We took 80 stakes and guards up with us, and then dug as many screefs as we could in the Molinia grass above "Where birds go to die". The Molinia grass is that golden (dry) looking windswept stuff, and there is no shortage of it. We were: myself, Geoff, Philip, Dave, Dan, Dianne, Peter, Trevor, Vashti, Steve, Hap and Remy. Cake was ginger, with lumps of stem ginger in it. Hopefully the trees will arrive at the National Trust Office this week, and we will be planting next Saturday.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Wholestone Moor, once moor

Ben and Geoff looking damp, but undiminished.
Continual heavy rain, wind and cold made it a gruelling morning for the three of us - me, Ben and Peter. But we got on with the task and planted, staked and guarded 50 quick-growing and hardy Italian alder trees to help with the slow growth of the trees planted on the site a few years ago. We enjoyed a brief break in the driving rain to eat some lovely cake (we could not identify it specifically but the general feeling was that it was a classic, almost like Plato's 'perfect cake'). Peter had to leave not long after the break leaving me and Ben to finish off. Two and a half hours or so later and the damp had well and truly seeped through but the work was done and the warmth of the Sair fire and a pint was very welcome.


PS Simon, Guy and Philip were at the nursery, bagging logs and talking to a reporter from the Huddersfield Examiner. Many more people turned up for the mid-season meeting at 1pm in the Sair.

PPS Duncan and Harvey were at Merrydale, doing formative pruning?

Harvey, heroic wilderness hound.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Finishing up at Wholestone Moor

Jess in her Aldi lady-wellies and Hello Kitty rioter's mask.
Another windy morning, though with less bite to it than last week. We were: myself, Hap, Steve, Peter T, Peter W, Jess, Dianne, Vashti, Cath, Philip, Geoff, Dave, Andrew, Duncan and Harvey the Dog. Cake was the every popular Apple flapjack. We completed planting the 460 Sessile Oak and Italian Alder, with 40 Italian Alder left at the bottom of the hill for Brian and crew to do some remedial planting down there.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

A windy day on Wholestone Moor

Hap and Stephen
This morning we began planting another 500 Sessile Oak and Italian Alder on Wholestone Moor, supplementing, or "beating-up" the slow growth on that site. We were: myself, Peter, Trevor, Duncan and Harvey the dog, Hap, Cath, Vashti, Remy, Dave, Andrew, Stephen, Philip, Steve, Ben and Geoff. Guy was also there early on to give project guidance. The weather was bright and clear, and you could see the cooling towers of Drax which is about 30 miles away, but there was a fierce cold wind, and it did get a bit sleety at the end. Cake was the ever popular lemon drizzle. We did wonder about the whereabouts of Mr Moriarty.

Friday, 31 January 2014

How to identify Ash dieback

Saturday, 25 January 2014

The noble few soldier on at Butterley

Jess, Remy and Vashti
We were somewhat diminished today, but basically all the best people were there! Myself, Vashti, Remy, Stephen, Cath and Jess. Duncan and Harvey were working, but we think they headed off to Scammonden in the end. The weather was kind to us, only turning squally as we left the pub later on. We finished off planting at Butterley, which means this year we have so far planted 870 trees up there. Cake was chocolate chip sponge. Remy had 2 pieces.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Where birds go to die - Butterley

Guy (in Zombie apocalypse snood), Stephen, Ben,Vashti, Peter, Remy, Steve(just visible behind) Andrew
Another morning at Butterley. At the spot the that we like to call "Where birds go to die". We were: myself, Guy, Vashti, Andrew, Ben, Stephen, Peter T, Steve and Remy.  We carried on planting the TCV bare-rooted stock, and ended up leaving 75 Oak healed in below Schofields Barn, and around 75 deer guards on site. 50 are in the barn, and some scraps are concealed up where we were planting. Could possibly do with taking another 20 deer stakes up when we go to finish these off. Reclaiming stakes and guards seems to inevitably lead to some stakes breaking, so we have more recycled guards than stakes.

If we get more trees for this site then Guy's suggestion is that we continue planting up behind, and to the right of this spot, in the Molinia grass, joining up with previous planting in the clough.

We encountered the Bradford Ramblers group while we were up there. I did my best to recruit some, but I don't think I was successful.

Spoke to Ron in the Sair and confirmed the mid season meeting for Saturday 15th Feb. And gave him his invite to the 50th anniversary party.

Again we could see the Senior Section off in the distance, Brian, Trevor, Dianne and Peter.

And we had apologies from Philip (bad back), Cath (bad cat), Geoff (bad sleep) and Dave (bad bike).
No word from Jess (so, bad girl).

Monday, 13 January 2014

Foggy Monday morning

For a bit of fresh air and exercise I went up to Scammonden and retrieved 64 deer stakes, and 43 deer tubes.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Bare rooted at Butterley

The folks on the hillside.
One of the tags from our TCV trees.
This week we began planting 450 trees that came to us courtesy of the TCV Big Tree Plant initiative. Unlike our usual supplies these came bare rooted, which caused some consternation. Bare rooted require a slightly different planting technique, and care has to be taken that the tree roots don't dry out. We were: myself, Stephen, Peter T, Geoff, Duncan (and Harvey the dog), Remy, Cath, Vashti, Jess, Andrew, Philip, and Ben. We think we planted around 200 trees, but it is harder to keep count of the bare rooted sort, as they come in big sacks, rather than in handy packs of 15. As a note for next week, we left 95 deer stakes, 120 deer guards, and around 45 hare stakes and guards on site.

Once again we could see the Senior Section on a far hillside, removing guards at Marsden Golf course.