The nature group has been busy again. Last week we helped the JRHT gardening team tidy up the two LAPs on Lotherington, including weeding, pruning and planting. You may have noticed some long narrow trenches circling the perimeter of the beck field. We worked with the gardening team to lift the turf so we could sow a meadow mix of wildflower seeds. As long as the birds don’t snack on the seeds, they should start germinating in the next few weeks and we’ll see some wildflowers. For more information about the group and what we do, please contact Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org Everyone is welcome to join us.
Come and join us on our next group of work sessions with the JRHT gardening team. Everyone is welcome. This is the programme ~
- 9.00 am until noon Monday 29 March ~ help to rejuvenate our LAPs (local areas of play).
- 9.00 am until noon Wednesday 31 March ~ lots of planting!
- 9.00 am until noon Thursday 1 April ~ mulching, formative pruning, removing any remaining rabbitguards.
Meet outside the energy centre, but if you come along later phone me to find out where we are – my phone number will be displayed in a window of the energy centre. Drop in for as long as you can – you don’t have to stay for the whole session, you don’t have to be there at the start, and you don’t have to stay till the end. Come to as many sessions as you want. Come along just to say “hallo”! Adam and the gardening team will be there to guide and help us. Bring a selection of whatever ordinary garden tools you can manage (space, fork, hand trowel and fork, secateurs) although the gardening team will have some spare equipment, and a kneeler may be useful. Please wear gloves, and be aware of social distancing. For more information contact Wendy at email@example.com
The nature group has been busy! With the help of the JRHT gardening team, we’ve been putting up bird nesting boxes, bat roosting boxes and building habitat piles for all sorts of insects. If you want to get involved in any of our future ventures, contact Wendy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve also removed over 1200 rabbit guards, those pesky plastic tubes which protect young hedging from hungry rabbits, but need to come off as the plants grow.
Have you noticed 20 green tubes with stakes on beck field? They contain Ulmus Ademez (elm) saplings. They have been supplied by JRHT, and the nature group helped the gardening team to plant them on Friday 26 February 2021. These are disease resistant elm trees, and are particularly important to the white-letter hairstreak butterfly which breeds in elm trees and has been badly affected by the loss of elm trees to Dutch elm disease. For information about the nature group, please contact Wendy by emailing email@example.com
This post was edited to correct the date: it was February, not March.
This coming week we have the opportunity to help birds, bats and insects, and to plant some trees! This is the programme ~
- 9.00 am til noon Wednesday 24 February- bird, bat and log pile installation. You can join in that morning, or take away a box to put up at your leisure.
- 9.00 am til noon Thursday 25 February- mass removal of expired plant protection products around all phases and formative pruning. This can also be carried on afterwards independently at our leisure.
- 9.00 am til noon Friday 26 February- tree planting, 20 Elm, 3 large cherry, 3 plum.
Meet at the energy centre. Tools such as secateurs, spade, small trug or bucket, gloves and wellies will help, but the gardening team will have spare tools.
Adam and the gardening team will be there to help and give guidance on all aspects of this work – the best trees to put up boxes; the best places to build habitat piles; how and where to plant the trees (mainly on the beck field). So even if you can’t spare the time to get on with it that day, please come along to pick up a box and find the best locations. You don’t have to stay for the whole session – just drop in and give what time you can spare. And of course, we’ll all have to be aware of social distancing. For more information contact Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re having a virtual meeting on Wednesday 3 March at 6.30 pm. This will be informal, and we’ll be chatting over ideas of how we can help make Derwenthorpe a better place for nature – now and in the future when circumstances allow. If you would like to join in, or want more information, then please contact Wendy at email@example.com
News from the Nature Group
It’s not our doing, but we thought you’d like to know what’s happening with the hedge in Meadlands Mews, and why. Dan Booth, JRHT Parks and Landscapes Manager, has told us that the hedge is being laid as it…
“…had become overgrown and not particularly healthy with lots of dead wood. Laying the hedge helps to restore the form of the hedge and encourages new growth from the base to thicken it up lower down. Overgrown hedges tend to be very thin at the base making them an ineffective boundary and also less useful as a habitat for small mammals and invertebrates.
In addition to the benefits to nature, the laying of this particular hedge also improves the outlook of the residents on Meadlands Mews who were keen to get the hedge back under control and in a more aesthetically pleasing state.
Once the laying is completed new hedge plants will be added to fill in any gaps and new trees will be planted at 10m (approx.) intervals along the hedge line to break up the view across the adjacent field and add valuable habitat and height in the wider landscape.
The restored hedge will eventually be maintained on a three year cycle to maximise the benefits to wildlife. During the laying work our contractor, Don, found that this hedge had in fact been laid in the past so this is not the first time it has been laid and will probably not be the last.”
It’s beginning to look really good! For information about the nature group or our communal green spaces, please contact Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve got news about two new paths, and about maintenance of the public green space.
Many of you have started to adopt communal green spaces, planting and maintaining them. This is great, and JRHT gardening team are very happy to be supported, and also want to support us. But they need to know who’s doing what! So if you’re already doing so, or thinking of looking after a green space near you anytime in the future, please contact Wendy (see below). Also, if you’re considering planting anything that’s perhaps a bit unusual or may need a bit of space, our gardeners are keen to advise and make sure it’s suitable and fits in with everything else around it. So please get in touch any time by emailing Wendy at email@example.com.
New Link Path
The new link path between Stephenson and Seebohm quarters is now in place. It connects the two sections of Derwent Way, from the Western end of St Aelred’s Way. The nature group has been happy to liaise with JRHT through the gardening team, about your safety concerns and their plans to address them. Two stainless steel bollards have already been installed, which will stop vehicle use and alert cyclists and pedestrians that they are crossing the Foss Islands cycle path, a main route.
The area either side has has been cleared, top soil put down, and will be grass seeded. The temporary barriers, whilst not looking very pretty, are to stop people walking, cycling and driving over it, until large boulders are placed in the appropriate places. JRHT are monitoring it, and assure us that they will add further measures if necessary. For more information on this or any other gardening or landscaping issues, contact Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Path of desire
We’ve been working with the gardening team about a path of desire that has been made over the years, across the Foss Islands path from St Aelred’s Way on Seebohm to Derwent Mews on Stephenson quarter towards Metcalfe Lane end. This has now been established, and looks much better than the muddy mess it was! This is a bonus for us: the path above was always planned, but this one is in addition to the planned paths! For more information on this or any other landscaping or gardening issues, contact Wendy at email@example.com
There’s another opportunity to try your hand at scything, on Tuesday 6 October, 10.00 am until noon. This workshop will be run by Jonathan from St Nicks, and spaces are limited to six because of current social distancing regulations. If you’ve scythed before and want to refresh your skills, you’re most welcome to come along as well. If you’re not sure about scything, then come along and help do some raking. There’s plenty of room for us all to work safely. All you need is a pair of gardening-type gloves and sturdy footwear. If you want to give it a whirl and help look after our “sheep field”, please email Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible, so that we can make sure there’s enough equipment for everyone.
Sheep Field: the light green area alongside St Aelred’s Mews here.
Since we put a small item in the most recent LotsOn (late May) we have had 20+ households say they are interested in a group scheme to purchase solar panels, hopefully at a discount. That’s not the end of the story! We hope that many more Derwenthorpe residents will choose to take part – the main benefits being that you catch your own electricity direct from the sun; and by so doing you can help reduce emission of greenhouse gases and therefore our impact on the climate. And we expect that buying in bulk, from a properly accredited installer, will give each of us savings and other benefits as customers.
We approached twelve firms which came up when we followed the link to “Trusted Traders” in this field; plus two which JRHT have worked with on recent solar panel projects locally. The replies vary in level of detail, but there’s plenty of interest in doing the work for us.
We also asked Richard Partington, architect for Derwenthorpe, about any special considerations which might apply here because of our special design features. His reply was very positive:
- at projects in Portsmouth and Nottingham they put panels on east- and west-facing roofs, not just south-facing, and “the efficiencies have greatly exceeded expectation”.
- if you have a sloping ceiling on the top floor the line of insulation follows the ceiling so make sure any penetrations for cables etc. are minimal and executed neatly.
- ask for advice about the best position for the associated kit (inverter, battery, meter, controller etc.) as it makes sense to group these together.
We’ve kept JRHT informed. We have to obtain their consent for solar panels on roofs, and it will be up to each of us to obtain this formally, but they are in favour of this project. We’re hopeful also that they will find space for a compound for the installation firm to use – which should save the firm, and us, time and money.
We have written to five firms with a Request for Information, inviting them to tell us what they can do and asking about:
- price per property for panels
- ditto for batteries
- discounts for larger numbers of houses
- health and safety
- whether they would they want an on-site compound
- contract arrangements with householders.
Other things (apart from cost) for us as residents to think about are:
- where in the house to site the associated bits (inverter etc.)
- whether you want a battery (to store electricity gained in the day, for use at night) – and if so where (heavy, so best on ground floor)
- whether you want to be able to charge a car from solar power, now or in future.
Once we have the firms’ replies we residents will have a discussion about the merits of each, leading to a decision as to which firm to work with. This will probably be a Zoom meeting involving the people who’ve been in touch so far. But we will also be open to comments, expressions of opinion and preferences from people who don’t want to or feel unable to take part in the Zoom thing. If you haven’t already been in touch about solar panels, you’re welcome to do so now (without obligation to commit to having the panels installed): email email@example.com
The next stage after that will be to send round a house-to-house questionnaire, giving a bit of relevant information and asking everyone to say whether they want to be part of the scheme (again without obligation).
Then we’ll go back to the chosen installer and work out arrangements for start on site; how they will deal with each householder; and how they want to organise progress of the work from house to house. Scaffolding will be involved!
Nick Hall, 38 Derwent Mews, YO10 3DN, 16th June 2020
Work in progress last year at one of the houses in Derwenthorpe