Call for New Volunteers

Following a visit and advice from Avon Wildlife Trust we have now started to mow the grassland in the fields.  We therefore have lots of work to be done and would like to welcome new volunteers to join our enthusiastic workforce.

Mowing of most areas will probably be carried out just once in each year.  By removing the cuttings (to sites around the fields) we will reduce the fertility of the ground.  Experience shows that as the grass becomes less dominant over time, wildflowers will find it easier to become established and to thrive.  We will be leaving other areas un-mown, so improving the overall bio-diversity of the site.  This is all part of establishing and enhancing Our Wild Hilltop Paradise!

The good news is that although the work will be labour intensive you don’t need to bring a scythe!  We have purchased a petrol-powered scythe mower as shown here.  This is simple and light to operate.  Training will of course be given.  We will form teams to mix the work of mowing with the more physical work of raking and moving of the cuttings using rakes and barrows that we will provide – great and sociable exercise!

Currently we envisage working during periods of dry weather on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays over the next 8-12 weeks.  We plan to set up a rota of two-hour shifts (typically 10.00-12.00 and 12.00-14.00 but other times (including some evenings e.g. 19.00 to 20.30) may be possible to suit volunteers’ availability.

All you need to do if you or any family or friends are interested in getting involved, please contact us at lyncombehillfields@gmail.com as soon as possible, letting us know what times suit you best.

After not being able to recruit for a few months, we’re really looking forward to welcoming new volunteers.

Massive Thanks to Many People

We would like to extend our thanks and appreciation for other donations recently received from:

  • Bath in Bloom: funding for rakes and wheelbarrows
  • The Conservation Volunteers (TCV): 950 saplings, with guards and canes
  • ‘More Trees for B&NES’: 66 saplings
  • Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd: 1.5 tonnes of larger stone, for the paths
  • Joe Thomas Tree Care: wood chippings
  • Dan Burgess, Simon and Annabelle Petter and Dan Lugsden: various saplings
  • Clive Pugh: some timber
  • Jo and Mike Ross: a mature silver birch.

The combination of Bathscape’s grant (see below) and these other generous donations has greatly reduced the need for the funding that had been promised by our sponsoring Residents’ Associations (Widcombe Association, Greenway Lane Social Committee, Bear Flat Association, Greenway!, and the Alexandra Park Friends), for this first year of FLHF.

What we have accomplished in such a short time has only been possible because of our amazing volunteers, particularly the Maintenance Team which many of you will have seen working in the fields.  Following COVID-guidelines a small number, socially distanced, gather on Wednesdays and Sundays to carry out tasks such as gravelling the paths, planting saplings, digging up brambles, lugging stones in wheelbarrows up steep inclines and mowing the grass!  This team has now completed more than 900 volunteer hours since October 2020.

First mowing since October 2019 – Photo: Chris Kinchin-Smith

Funding by Bathscape

We are very pleased to announce the award of three substantial grants from Bathscape to the Friends of Lyncombe Hill Fields (FLHF).  Bathscape www.bathscape.co.uk is a partnership between Bath & NE Somerset Council and various other bodies whose shared ambition is “to address threats faced by the beautiful natural landscape surrounding Bath, and to better recognise its value to the health and wellbeing of all people in the city”.

We have been in discussion with Dan Merrett, Bathscape’s Manager, from early in the development of our plans for FLHF.  The grants will pay for:

  • The materials for the bird boxes and bat boxes which have been assembled and installed in trees around the site;
  • Materials for six simple benches, located at viewpoints in the Fields and also in the Copse;
  • A lockable glazed information board, located near the Greenway Lane gate;
  • Maps of the Fields now positioned close to each of the three entry gates;
  • 18 tonnes of stone for improvement of the designated public footpaths (most of which has already been laid);
  • A scythe mower and its secure storage.

FLHF is extremely pleased to be awarded these grants, noting also the input and support from Bath & NE Somerset Council who are providing matched funding for some of Bathscape’s projects.  Bathscape’s principal source of funds is the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Dan Merrett said “a key factor in the award of this grant has been the convergence between Bathscape’s and FLHF’s vision and objectives, and the commitment evident in the fantastic work undertaken by FLHF’s volunteer workforce in the last four months since the launch of FLHF”.

The Tiny Forest

  • Site preparation
  • Marking out
  • Planting
  • 580 Saplings Planted

After several weeks of intensive work to clear and prepare the site, the first rows of saplings were planted on 25th January and the final rows were planted just two weeks later, on 7th February.

Tiny Forests are dense, fast-growing native woodlands, planted in areas no larger than a tennis court.  Due to the high density the trees grow very quickly and soon shade out the area, enhancing bio-diversity beneath.  Our mixed planting consists of Alder, Beech, Birch (Silver and Downy), Cherry (Bird and Wild), Crab Apple, Dog Rose, Dogwood, Field Maple, Goat and Grey Willow, Hawthorn, Hazel, Hornbeam, Oak and Rowan.  Our Tiny Forest is located in the North Field close to the public footpath that goes up to Alexandra Park.  The site has been chosen as it is shaded and damp, is not good grassland/meadow and will not obscure the view when fully grown.  This is another of our contributions to climate change and bio-diversity!  

If you would like further information on Tiny Forests, please see: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/13/fast-growing-mini-forests-spring-up-in-europe-to-aid-climate