Achievements and activities in the first 15 months

It was in November 2020 that FLHF that volunteers first started working 10.00 to 12.00 sessions in the fields Wednesday and Sunday mornings. Since that time more than 3000 volunteer hours have been worked in the fields with a wide age span with children from Widcombe Infants and Junior Schools, Duke of Edinburgh Award students from Beechen Cliff and Hayesfield schools, to those in their 70s and 80s. BMT Global, a Bath based company and Rake Up and Grow who work with adults of differing abilities have also worked in the fields.

The main work has comprised:

Planting:

  • Planting more than 1,700 saplings, of 18 different native varieties;
  • Planting and mulching Tiny Forests 1 and Tiny Forest 2 with 600 and 260 different native varieties of saplings respectively;
  • Hedge planting and strengthening (along Western boundary of the Inner Field alongside the chain link fence of Beechen Cliff School and along the North side of the Copse) with a total of 870 saplings;
  • Hedge laying/Pleaching (along the Jacob’s Ladder fence along the North and East fields);
  • Planting primarily hay rattle, following a donation from The National Trust of seed taken from their own local fields; 
  • Planting 250 cowslip plugs paid for by Bath in Bloom. (Planted by children from Widcombe Infants and Junior Schools in the west, North and Inner fields).

Construction and Maintenance:

  • Spreading 24 tonnes of recycled stone on the principal footpaths;
  • Clearing brambles from the principal areas of grassland, pruning and strimming;
  • Mowing the main grasslands between early June and September, and again between September and early November and removing the cut grass by raking to encourage wild flower growth; 5 fields were mown;
  • Building, erecting and maintaining wild-life friendly structures: A total of 17 bird boxes, 5 “Kent” bat boxes, 1 kestrel box and 1 bug hotel; 
  • Constructing, erecting and maintaining 6 sleeper benches in the North, Inner and Western Fields and The Copse;  
  • Demolishing of the horse shelter;
  • Maps were erected at the West and North entrance to the fields;
  • An information board was erected at the Greenway Lane entrance to the fields. 

Habitat Monitoring:

  • A flora and fauna group has been responsible for mapping the fields via the I-Naturalist App; 
  • We received a report from Avon Wildlife Trust following their detailed floral survey early in the summer 2021 on two sites, one on the North field and one on the South field; 
  • An Ash die back survey identified those trees needing attention;
  • A bird spotting group meets once a month and 36 species have been identified;
  • A group of volunteers monitored the bird boxes.  Most were occupied this spring;
  • An evening walk identifying bats was held.

Education:

  • Students from Beechen Cliff and Hayesfield Schools undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme have been active in volunteering with our field maintenance; 
  • Widcombe Infants and Junior Schools have joined us in planting seeds and bulbs;
  • Volunteers were led by our Flora and Fauna group in identifying flowers and trees in the fields;
  • A hand scything event, organised by the National Trust took place in July 2021 (South Field);
  • Volunteers were trained in hedge laying by one of our own volunteers

External Relations: Media

  • Our website, Facebook page and Instagram account continued to be developed;
  • A monthly bulletin was issued and sent via Mailchimp to 162 subscribers;  
  • Monthly articles in Bath Voice have been featured;
  • Zoom presentations to the Widcombe Association including one entitled “Lyncombe Hill Fields – Delving Deeper into their History, Ownership and Tenant Farmers”; 
  • Bath Radio twice recorded interviews.

Outreach:

As part of increasing our involvement with other groups we continued to develop contacts with the education, corporate and charitable sectors to increase the range of volunteers involved with us.  

  • We took part in the annual RSPB Garden and Park Watch in January 2021 to establish the first recording of the number and different types on birds in the fields;
  • We achieved a rating of ‘Advancing’ in the Bath in Bloom in August 2021, ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ initiative;
  • A 2-hour walking tour of the fields was given as part of the Bath Climate and Bio Diversity Festival in September 2021.