Saturday, 29 December 2018

The Ladykillers

With the railway tracks behind and below, Cath considers throwing Philip over.

This week we were above the Tunnel ends in Marsden, literally. Planting in a field and garden.

We were: myself, Ben, Philip, Dave, Steve, Stephen O., Hap, John, Peter, Cath and Geoff.

Cake was a light jam sponge, a relief after Christmas richness.

Being above the railway tunnel entrances made me think of the film the Ladykillers, and with the look Cath appears to be giving Philip it should probably read Lady killer.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Christmas must be something more

A volunteer getting beamed up to the Enterprise?

A number of selfless and intrepid souls braved the rain today for the last planting session before Christmas.

They were: Mel, Philip, Jess, Lee, Ben, Sue, Dave, Geoff, Adrian, Stephen, Simon, John, Cath, Hap and Peter. John had been and collected the Sticky cranberry gingerbread from Ann's, and Dianne provided food back at the Sair.

These people earned their Christmas. Lighweights like myself and Tanya just turned up at the pub.

As I understand it they planted the 22 scraps from the last session plus 90 more oak, 30 Scots pine and 30 Holly. Finishing Wholestone for this season.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Double trouble

Trees as far as the eye can see, along the track.

This week we were back at Wessenden attempting to finish the 500 trees for United Bank of Carbon/Safestyle.

We were: Susan and her twin Jenny(!), Philip, Dave, Geoff, Hap, John, Simon, other Simon (me), Steve, Stephen, Jess, Harriet, Ben and Adrian.

We planted 126 Oak, 45 Scots Pine, 30 Holly and 30 Aspen. Which by my calculations leaves 30 Scots pine and 15 Aspen still to do. A Thursday group project?

Weather was cold and dry, cake was Bakewell.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Does It Rain

So in view of the weather we decided to go to the highest most exposed site we know of, and face the music. Or in this case the wind and rain. It didn't rain all morning, just enough.

We were: myself, Dave, Simon, Geoff, Philip, Tanya, John, Adrian, Hap, Steve, Stephen O., Ben, and Lee.
We were joined by a number of Friends of the Earth people, who seemed to enjoy themselves despite the weather.

We planted 233 trees - 30 Holly, 30 Scots Pine, and 173 Oak.

A point of information, we do not usually plant into Heather, but this is a Forestry Commission Woodland Grant Scheme site, and this is what they instructed us to do.

We were spoilt for cake with Hap contributing a very nice bakewell tart that he had made.

Song courtesy of Tanya's mum this week.

Saturday, 1 December 2018


A brief respite from the rain. Look at that sky.
First day of planting of the season, and it rained. As it tends to. Still, we were: myself, Simon B., Jess, Tanya, Dianne, John, Stephen, Steve, Hap, Adrian, Geoff, Dave, Philip, Ben, Susan and Peter.

We planted 190 trees, Aspen, Holly, Oak and Scots Pine - not sure of the quantities as some of what we brought got taken back to base.

We were trialling our new mesh guards for Scots Pine, see below.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Everything must go

Dave and Adrian

Back to Scammonden for more guard removal, everything must go, as the title says.  Misty at the start but sun came out later. All the guards were coming off, though the ones that had been on Ash trees were left on site because we weren't sure whether it was appropriate to move them elsewhere because of the dread Ash dieback.

We were: myself, Philip, Dave, Tanya, Geoff, Steve, Stephen, Ben, Adam, Dianne plus 2 dogs, Harriet and Floyd the dog, Jess, Lee, Mel, John and Adrian. Cake was apple flapjack.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

You don't miss your water

Today we were up at Scammonden reservoir, which was empty! We were collecting stakes and guards for re-use, again. We were: myself, Dave, Philip, John, Steve, Stephen, Hap, Geoff, Ben, Dianne and Lizzie the dog, and Adam and sons and dog. Cake was ginger.

After, myself, Ben and Dave delivered 240 deer stakes and guards to the Standedge site.

On Friday the weekday crew delivered 440 deer stakes and guards to the Mount road site.

Wholestone already has its deer stakes and guards.

We are quite well set up for the Season ahead.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

The weight

Floyd and Harriet

Back to Wholestone Moor to do more reclaiming and prep for planting.

We were: Dave, Geoff, Hap, Steve, Stephen, Jess, Lee, Ben, myself, Paul, Harriet and Floyd the dog, Cristina and Cath.

Big deal of the morning was carrying stuff on and off site. It was a long walk back to the cars, and Ben set an impossible standard by carrying two bundles of stakes at a time.

Planting will be in three compartments. Furthest compartment has 112 stakes and deer guards. Centre one has 215 deer guards and 246 stakes. Nearest compartment has 90 guards and 100 stakes.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Concrete dub

Geoff fresh from being dub dj, and Jess.
Today we were at Wholestone Moor, looking down on the M62, and wishing the wind would die down a bit. We were removing guards from previous planting, to re-use at this site.

We were: Geoff, Ben, Dave, Sue, Jess, Dianne and Lizzie the dog, Cath, Jason, Mel, myself, Hap and Adrian.

2 cakes, jam sponge from the President, and luxurious fruit cake from Jason, plus emergency jaffa cakes from Dianne, and grapes from Hap.

We left approx 300 guards and 200 stakes at the first collection point. And roughly half that number a tthe second, furthest, point. With a bit more scrounging around we will have enough to do this season's planting up there with reclaims. We will need to take 60 shrub guards up for the holly, and 60 of the new mesh pine guards.

Me pointing at pointy sticks.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Forever young

Here we were back at Pasture Wood above Marsden. Collecting more plastic and sticks. Special day today it was Jess's birthday, with birthday cake both on site and back at the pub. We were: Dave, myself, Jess, Lee, Harriet, Cristina, Dianne, Adam, Steve, Hap, Tanya and Geoff.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

A forest

Hap on the throne

Site meeting of the woodland management group today at Hemplow. This comprised: Hap, Stephen, Ben, Sue, Philip and Duncan (I believe). A cunning (woodland management) plan will result.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Your sweetness is my weakness

Biscuit and Colne Valley.

Today we were at Pasture Wood, high above Marsden. Discussing capitalisation and what constitutes legitimate artistic endeavour. While removing stakes and plastic tubes. We were: Geoff, Dave, Hap, Steve, Jess, Dianne and Lizzie the dog, Ben, Tanya and myself.

Cake was homemade ginger biscuits. And they were very nice.

Geoff, Dave, and Steve

Thursday, 18 October 2018

End game

Today David, Hap and Cath removed another 3 bags worth of guards from Butterley. The end of the older smaller guards?

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Crawling back to shrew

This week we were crawling around in the undergrowth at Scammonden, retrieving plastic tubes and discovering wildlife. Hap found a shrew! Poor little blighter was terrified. And the shrew was pretty scared too. Boom, boom.

We were: myself, Dave, Geoff, Harriet, Jess and Lizzie the dog, Lee, Mel, Steve, Cath, Ben and Hap.

Cake was bakewell tart.

Thursday, 11 October 2018


Such is the fame or notoriety of the Colne Valley Tree Society that there was a gathering 50 environmental professionals today, who came to feast their eyes upon our mighty works, and despair.

They actually came to look at and discuss clough woodland planting schemes in general, and with reference to the large Wessenden project that will happen next year.

I was there to represent the Society and the way our local work has  (some might say) inspired the larger project. I spoke for a few minutes through the portable PA that had been brought along. I was somewhat underprepared, as I had no idea there would be 50 people there. Most folks were either from the Woodland Trust or the Forestry Commission, but there were also representatives of Natural England, Yorkshire Water and the National Trust - and other groups.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Brown mushrooms

Not what we usually gather
We were back at Naze top gathering more plastic, and mushrooms. We were: Sue, Ben, Dianne and Lizzie the dog, Jess, Dave, Geoff, Steve, myself, Cath and Hap. Cake was crunchy cocunut topped sponge with cherries - devoured.

Foreground, what we usually gather - plastic.

Saturday, 29 September 2018


Jess gets arty with her phone.

A week collecting old plastic tree guards from Naze Top above Butterley. Leaving the new woodland nice and tidy.  We were: Stephen, Mel, Steve, myself, Dave, Jess, Lee, Dianne and Lizzie the dog, and Ben. Cake was a very fine lemon drizzle.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Woman power

Tanya, Dianne and Harriet. Resting.

Once again we were gender balanced, this could bring a whole new vibe to the group if it continues. We were: Tanya, Dianne, Jess, Harriet, Dave, Philip, Stephen and myself.

We finished cutting and clearing at Throstle, it was a long and tough morning but we got it done.

Cake was cherry rock buns.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

He-man: and the Masters of the Universe

Well it was either He-man, or So Macho.

The fun never stops. We were back at Throstle wrestling with the Blackthorn roots. Myself, Dave, Tanya and Hap. Cake was Co-Op doughnuts.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

I am woman - Chain of fools

Me and Harriet compete for best dressed volunteer.

A first for CVTS, we had gender parity today, in terms of numbers. We were: Dianne, Jess, Harriet and Tanya, plus Dave, myself, Steve and Lee.

The location of this historic event was Throstle. Where we were removing Blackthorn roots and cutting back Willow. Got a good bit done but yet still more to do.

After deciding on a woman theme there were a lot of tune suggestions. So a 70's feminist anthem, and a tune for Aretha.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Look what you made me do.

It didn't see Dave coming.

A heroic/foolhardy one man effort from Dave this week to grub out Blackthorn roots at Throstle. Probably better to share the pain with some equally misguided friends?

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Back in black(thorn)

Hap looking momentarily disconsulate. John and Adrian not quite at that point, yet.

This week we were back at Throstle Green. We need to cut back some undergrowth, hopefully for the final time. And we started on the worst bit, a thicket of blackthorn. It was not easy or pleasant, in fact it was hellish, but we got it done. We were: myself, Hap, John, Adrian, Stephen, Steve and Dave. Geoff decided to stay a the nursery. Cake was an excellent flapjack with fresh raspberry filling.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Fun for all the family

This week week we were up the far side of Scammonden, knocking back Himalayan balsam, and collecting old guards off grown trees. Lots of families and dog walkers kept passing us as they used the major path that Yorkshire Water have built around the reservoir, only one lot stopped and asked what we were doing. The weather was kind, breezy, but dry. Cake was homemade jam sponge. We were: myself, Adrian, John, Ben and Geoff. We must have collected 100+ guards, and a lot of cable ties.

I know I have shoehorned this tune title in somewhat, but was listening to it in the car that morning. I imagine the Academic Hamiltons were a bit like this.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Everything's gone green

Me, rumbling in the jungle.

Back up to Butterley for the final bashing of the bracken. We were: myself, Adrian, Geoff, Dave, Philip, Ben, John, Hap and Stephen.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Winter Hill

Back we were, back up Wessenden, knocking back more Bracken. Near the end now, but encountering some of the first go head high primeval stuff.

We were: myself, Philip, Geoff, Dave, John, Hap, Peter and Stephen.

On talking about the moor fires, this track by A certain ratio came up.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Sign of the times

Today we were working beside the Pennine Way sign up Wessenden, bashing more bracken. We were also removing stakes and guards from the unusual number of failures of trees planted. We suspect this was because the trees planted here were stock that had been held over from a previous season. It still wasn't catastrophic though, with less than 10% failing. And we did retrieve over 100 stakes and guards that can be re-used.

We were: myself, Philip, Stephen, Peter, Hap, Ben and John. Oat biscuits and freshly picked strawberries at break time.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

It ain't easy

More bracken destruction, takes a while on this scale. But vital if the trees are to thrive.

This time we were: myself, Philip, Geoff, Hap, John, Steve and Peter.

Hap, lavishing tlc on the little trees.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

I forgot to remember to forget

Another bracken bashing session. To my recollection we were: myself, Philip, Adrian, John, Hap, Steve and Dave. But I neglected the blog for 7 days and can't remember!

Saturday, 9 June 2018

By a waterfall

Geoff and Steve, by a waterfall.

We were up near the far end of the Wessenden Valley, bashing bracken to allow light to the wannabe trees. We were: myself, Lee, Jess, Diane and Lizzie the dog, Steve, Dick, Ben, Geoff and Dave.

Cake was bakewell tart.

It was warm, but lots of good work got done.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Little green bag

Adrian, me, Lee, Jess, Dave and Steve. With our tightly packed green bags.
Today we were back at Butterley, removing guards from grown trees and bagging them up for taking to the tip. We are nothing if not tidy.

We were: myself, Geoff, Adrian, Steve, Lee, Jess, Dave and Hap.

Cake was flapjack. Weather was good.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Changing of the guard

Hap hard at it.

This morning we were literally changing the guard(s). We were at the WW1 memorial planting, re-purposing some deer guards to better protect the Scots Pine, which had been nibbled by sheep.
We took long guards off trees that were already established, cut them to 3/4 length, and put them on the Scots Pine. We also collected a whole bunch of stakes and guards for re-use on other sites. short ones were returned to the nursery by Dave, long ones left on site, for the time being.

We were: myself, Dave, Hap and Stephen. We had Co-Op mini jam doughnuts at break.

Great (and properly appropriate) tune this week.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Take me to the river

Philip bottom right, in Carr Clough, previous planting shows top left.

Today there was a work party, and a research party.

Philip and I sat and looked at maps of all the sites planned so far, then walked up the length of Carr Clough, to work out whether and where we could plant there. Of course it looked very lovely, and viable, in the sunshine.

Dave, Hap, Stephen, Geoff and Ben were back down at the Butterley Reservoir end of things, removing stakes and guards from old planting there.

Ben, Hap, Dave and Stephen, with their bags of swag.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Today we were at Marsden golf course removing more old guards. We were: myself, Dave, Hap, Geoff and Ben. Cake was chocolate. Weather was passable. Dave and Hap then took lots of old guards to the tip, and retreived some more archery bosses from Meltham.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Dave worked on the stinking morass AKA attempt to create drainage out of old tree guards,while Adrian,Susan and Geoff did sterling work carrying old guards across the links to the road side. About 16 bagful's removed. 

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Clean up woman

This Saturday our tidying up activities were below Marsden golf course. Planted in 2003, there were still lots of tree guards strapped round the bottom of grown trees. So myself, Dave, Peter, Jess, Geoff, Steve, and Adrian applied ourselves to the task. Some of the old guards were used to try and stabilise a sodden path. Cake was ginger, it rained some though not all of the time. And we found a lot of golf balls, which, in a random act of kindness we gave to some golfers.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Friday's blues

Dave, justifiably proud of all his rubbish.

Today Dave, Stephen and Hap spend a 2nd Friday finishing of the spring cleaning at Lower Green Owlers.

A total of 19 bags of guards were collected (most will be reused) and diligently carried of site, by hand, which was no mean feat bearing in mind the Indian elephants we hired for the job should couldn't cope !!

Not the most successful site ever, but still deserving of a tidy up.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Can't stop

So, really was the last day of the Season today, next weekend being Easter 'n all.

This morning we were on last go round, and spread across the valley trying to finish various bits and bobs.

Steve, Peter, Adrian, Diane, Ben and new boy Dick were at Butterley. Some dispute over how many trees taken but it was quite a few- 160 maybe- and despite a heroically late clock-off, they returned with around 20. All infilling, there was no need to go into the triangle bit. Diane took some photos. Steve says he seemed to end up in charge by default and nearly cracked under the responsibility. There were accusations that he was making a covert attempt to take over from myself & Philip.

I was in Ing Head in Marsden on my own, planting 5 Holly, 15 Bird Cherry and 12 Crab apple. At one point I was harrassed by some sheep + farmer and sheep dog. No wonder some of the trees in that field are struggling.

Philip and Stephen O. were at Fieldhouse planting 30 Crab Apple, some will be visible (on a clear day) from the Sair.

Dave, Stephen K. and John were chainsawing a logging back at the Nursery.

So we traditionally take a break of a week or three now. But people just love this stuff so much there may well still be little groups doing this and that now and then.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Six pack

Myself and the President were away in that London this weekend, and weather was not good so there were just six hardy souls. Philip says they planted 90 trees at the Butterley Hill Top slope. The full pack of six comprised: Philip, Geoff, Cath, Stephen, Dave and Steve.

A Reed Bunting was spotted!

Saturday, 10 March 2018

The Fog

Steve,Stephen, Peter and John

As we stagger towards the end of the planting season we were again in two teams.

Myself, Steve, Stephen, Peter and John were at White Hall Barn planting 60 Hazel and 15 Willow.

Philip, Dave, Adrian, Sue, Ben, Jess and Geoff were at Butterley planting 75 Birch 25 Oak, and 50 Rowan.

Cake was Eccles, and a wierd mist rolled in off the reservoir late in the morning.

The Fog

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Footprints in the snow

Another split day.

Some of us were playing in the snow at Upper Clough, planting 50 Oak, 50 Rowan and 50 Birch. We were: myself, Philip, Jess, Lee, Hap, Cath, Dave, Tanya and Stephen.

Others stayed at the nursery and cut and split logs. They were: Geoff, Ben, Adrian and Sue. They also found time to make art with found objects? This one is apparently entitled "Hungry owl".

Later it was our Winter meal out, organised by Jess. Good food, a lot of fun, and quite a few drinks. 

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Twin freaks

Bit of a rock and roll selfie there.

Today we were split in two again.

Jess, Philip, Dianne and Lizzie the dog, Hap, Geoff and Ben were at Bolster Moor. They planted 150 trees -  50 Alder, 25 Downy Birch, 25 Goat Willow, 25 Hawthorn and 25 Rowan.

Myself, Tanya, Stephen and Dave were at Hill Top Marsden. We planted 150 trees - 75 Hawthorn and 75 Hazel.

Stephen and myself, and the shelter belt.

Cake was chocolate, and the weather was dry and bright, and cold. A nice break from the last few weeks of relentless rain and greyness.

And hats off to a West Yorkshire band, the Orielles.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

3 is the magic number

Today's blog entry courtesy of Hap.

Stephen is very proud of his piles.

Today was a rare "
Thursday irrregular's session for this year. However we were a model of efficiency: Dave prepared the logs, Stephen chopped them up and Hap did a moon walk...and all this while you lot were probably enjoying a nice lie in !!!

Saturday, 17 February 2018

You've got my number (why don't you use it?)

Everyone wishing there'd be a dry Saturday.

This week we were at Bolster Moor, planting 50 Hazel, 50 Sweet Chestnut, 50 Goat Willow, 25 Beech, 25 Oak, 100 Blackthorn and 25 Dog Rose.

We were: myself, Stephen O., Stephen K., Steve, Tanya, Dianne, Jess, Lee, Dave, Philip, Hap, Peter, Ben, Adrian and Sue.

After that we had our formal mid-season meeting in one of the side rooms at the pub. Where we were forced to face the coming of the 2018 General Data Protection Regulations.

Fantastically ironic tune this week. 

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Little angel with a dirty face

My dirty face, and some cold wet folk eating cake.

This week we were back at the head of the valley, planting 25 Silver Birch, 75 Hazel, 50 Hawthorn, 50 Sessile Oak, and 60 exotic Willows.

We were: myself, Dave, Geoff, Philip and friend John, Cath, Steve, Stephen, Adrian, Peter and Audrey.

Cake was by Audrey and was lovely.

Weather was decidedly unlovely.

Nice bit of lap steel on the tune.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Industrial estate

Dave and Philip in a perilous position.

This morning we were divided. Some folks stayed at the nursery to saw and split logs, and the rest of us were in a rather un-glamorous spot down the hill behind some industrial sheds. Retrieving some very nice wood that had been felled when the sheds got newly roofed and guttered. We also rescued some great cherry that had been felled  nearby where someone had cut down trees to improve the view from their conservatory. The cherry trees were on council land, so that would be criminal damage. And a criminal waste of good wood, having left it on the ground.

We were: Philip, Dave, Steve, Lee, Jess, Dianne, Cath, Peter, John, Hap, Geoff, Adrian, Sue, Duncan, Tanya and myself.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Lucifer over Lancashire

Hap (with bucket) Philip, Peter and a bit of Geoff (I think).

I don't know why, but Hap holding that bucket is hilarious. He just found it in the field. And we were all very, very wet at the end of a windy and wet morning. Lancashire sent us this evil weather from the West. So that and the sad demise of bandleader Mark Smith explains this week's song title.

We were: Hap and his bucket, myself, Philip, Peter, Geoff, Dave, Tanya, Stephen, Ben, and our host, Audrey.

We were right up the head of the valley, hence our exposure to the worst weather Lancashire could provide.

Cake was provided by Audrey, and it was lovely.

We planted 100 Common Alder, 50 Aspen, 50 Downy Birch and 30 Goat Willow.