Saturday, 28 June 2008

Beech Road Festival, Sunday 6th July 2008

The Friends of Chorlton Meadows will have a stall at Beech Road Festival. We have been allocated Pitch No. 14 on Chorlton Green. The festival is due to start at 12:00 noon.
Please feel free to visit our stall and have a chat.

The attached picture is of our stall last year.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Report on Balsam Pulling, Sunday 22nd June 2008

A successful, albeit breezy day in which quite a lot of the pesky balsam got pulled up.

Eleven people attended in total - which was pretty good considering what a decidedly 'unsummery' day it was! Thanks everyone!

As you know Himalayan Balsam is a so-called 'alien' plant (from the Western Himalayas). Last week FoCM member David Hume sent me a link to an interesting paper on alien plants; here it is:

Basically this paper questions the current orthodoxy that alien plants are always bad. It also makes the point that some of our native plants (brambles, ivy etc.) can be equally invasive.

Neverthless, in the place where we worked on Sunday, which is just below the river bank on the edge of Chorlton Ees, the balsam has got a bit out of hand. This and other areas tend to be swamped with it - particularly those with, what I suspect are, nutrient rich, alluvial soils. The Chorlton Ees site shades into one with a rich fern and moss flora. It's a good job that the balsam is an annual, and not a perennial, or we would have lost the mosses and ferns some years ago. It just goes to show that questions related to nature conservation are never simple. I suppose that the key principle is to create a mosaic of habitats and, hence, encourage maximum biodiversity.

Finally, the young man in the picture above is Edward Fairhurst. Edward is a big fan of the Meadows and is working towards his Duke of Edinburgh's Award. We wish him every success with that and hope to see him on some of our future volunteers' days.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Welcome to our blog!

In order to develop the blog we would greatly appreciate your input. So please have a look and leave some comments (polite ones, of course!). At present you should think of it as a work-in-progress, with all suggestions for improvements welcome.

What we are hoping to develop is a comprehensive record and archive of our community's experience of our Meadows - one of Chorlton's greatest assets. I know that many of you are wildlife enthusiasts, and you can rest assured that we intend to cover the biodiversity of the area in considerable depth. But we also know that other members of the group, and the community, may have a different perspective or interest - you may be a jogger, a dog walker, a cyclist, a photographer, a poet, a visual artist, a picnicker etc., etc., etc. - we want to hear about your experiences as well. Here's some topics that could feature in future posts:
  • Programmes of upcoming tasks and events
  • Reports on tasks and events
  • Significant plants, birds or animals that you have noted
  • History of the Meadows
  • Childhood memories of the Meadows
  • People associated with the Meadows
  • What the Meadows means to you
  • Amusing encounters or anecdotes
You may be able to think of others - it's up to you!

At present only a couple of members of the committee have access to the blog at an editorial level, but you can still send articles ("posts") to me at my email address: DaveGBishop@aol.com.

It would be best if you could write your post in a word processing package (Microsoft Word, preferably) and send it to me as an attachment.

There is also a web based photo archive associated with the blog. Clicking on the slideshow on the right will take you there, or you can access it direct here: http://picasaweb.google.com/friendsofchorltonmeadows/

We will shortly set up photo albums to cover all perspectives and interests – flora, fauna, volunteering, landscape, fine art, etc., etc.

The committee still needs to develop some sort of editorial policy - but I don't imagine that it will be too onerous (no gratuitous insults or libellous comments allowed - something like that) - so don't let that put you off!

Anyway, please look at the blog and please, please, please let us know what you think!

Best Regards,
Dave Bishop.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Hardy Farm Community Orchard

Members will remember that last year (2007) we received a BBC Breathing Places grant for improving the Hardy Farm site. So all winter we worked with the BTCV to prune the old fruit trees on the site, open up paths and clear scrub. As a finishing touch we built a short section of dry-stone wall to act as an invertebrate habitat (a 'Bug Hotel').

Then we found that we hadn't spent all the money - so we've got a 6 month extension.

The committee tend to think that we need to be clearing more scrub - but what do you think? We're looking for suggestions. If you've any bright ideas - please let us know by adding your comments to this post.

Balsam Bash Sunday 22nd June

Dear Friends,

Where have you been? I can hear you say!

Well, actually I've been engaged in secret, high level talks in an attempt to bring you the MOST EXCITING SUMMER PROGRAMME EVER!!!

Well, actually, Alex has (sorry Alex!) - I just chaired the committee meeting where we decided what should go in the programme (well, they were talks ... weren't they? ... sort of ... people talked ...)

Anyway, the full programme's not quite ready yet but we do have an event coming up this Sunday (22nd June). We'll be pulling that pesky Himalayan Balsam. For those of you who don't know HB is a very invasive introduced weed that tends to clog up the Nature Reserve and we need to pull out as much as possible before it flowers.

This event will run from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm. Meet in Chorlton Ees car park (that's the car park at the end of the cobbled road off Brookburn Road - not Ivy Green car park on Brookburn Road itself ).

My mobile no. is 07947535691

Best Regards,
Dave Bishop