Saturday, 27 November 2010

A Walk up to March Haigh

The Kirklees Youth Offenders carried out a patrol of part of the moors for their task this week. The walk took us up to March Haigh reservoir and back down via Eastergate Bridge. There was very little snow out up on the moors, but it was still very cold. However, the bright sunshine did have a bit of warmth in it.

There were plenty of animal tracks to be spotted where there was snow.

Icicles on a rock at March Haigh reservoir.

Looking up to Buckstones from the reservoir.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Surveying the Gully Blocking

The survey team has suddenly gone from being a regular group of 4 volunteers to about 12 volunteer each week. Amazing! This means that so much more of the work that has taken place around the estate can be monitored for progress.

As There are now so many people the group now splits up to tackle different areas. One of the groups have recently been studying the effects that the gully blocking has had. Gully blocking is done to prevent water from draining off the moors, and taking some of the peat with it. We want to keep the water on the moors to prevent the peat from drying out and encouraging more plants to grow and keep the peat stable.

The gullies are blocked up with dams with the idea that water will build up behind the dams, with plants then growing in these areas which were previously bare.
This photo clearly shows the line of the gully with the water in it and being held back by the dams which are made with heather bales.

Seed Planting at Highfields

A group of adults from Gateway to Care in Huddersfield have been helping out with our moorland conservation from their centre at Highfields. They have been busy sowing heather and cottongrass seeds which they will look after and nurture over the winter, and then we can hopefully have a great day out next year planting them onto the moors.

The group have done nearly 500 pots so far and are hoping to do more. Fantastic! It could be a long day out on the moors planting them all!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Moorland Treasure Hunting

A group of teenagers from Oldham on a project called MEND came along to go for stomp over the moors. The project helps to encourage young people to do more exercise and eat more healthily. We were going out for a session of geo-caching - using a GPS to hunt for boxes hidden in various places. The first box of 'treasure' was up rather a steep long hill, but that didn't put people off from running up to try to be the first to find the box.

Despite some people getting wet feet and rather muddy, the enthusiasm never dwindled and there was always the rush to be the first to find the boxes. The walk took us up onto the edges of the moors with fabulous views over the rest of the estate and down the valley, into some woods and finally back along the canal.

I'm sure there would have been a few snores in the minibus on the way back to Oldham from some exhausted people!

All Greased Up

The last session that the Kirklees Youth Offenders came for ended up getting rather messy!

One of our activites for the day was making bird feeders - by the end everyone was covered in grease and there were seeds everywhere.

We even had a fat and seed star sculpted, wonderfully exhibited here. In the end it did get broken up and made into more manageable sized fat balls.

All the bird feeders we made will be for sale at our stall at the Christmas Lights turn on in Marsden, on Saturday 4th December. Come and buy one to give our feathery friends some extra tasty treats to keep them going over the winter.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Volunteer Moorland Excursion

A large group of the Marsden Moor Estate volunteers were taken on a magical tour of the estate last weekend. It was a good chance for people to have a bit of a social excursion and see other volunteers that they don't perhaps see very often. It was also a chance for people that don't regularly get out onto the moors, or for new volunteers that don't know as much about what work we are doing, to get out and have a look.
The trip went up to Buckstones at the north end of the estate, looking at the gully blocking and heather spreading and to the south of the estate at White Moss to look at the flag laying and the gully blocking with heather bales. Only 2 people were lost down a cleverly hidden hole, but they were rescued.
Although it was a bit chilly, it was a good day out.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Fencing in the Wind and Rain

The work party this week were out doing some fence repairs. The Tuesday group were up on Birk Moss, looking down over the Wessenden Valley, repairing the fence plots up there.

The fences were put up several years ago to keep sheep off parts of the moor to allow the vegetation to re-grow and prevent the sheep from causing too much erosion.

Some of the fences have been damaged, some of it caused by the snow last winter, and there are now places where sheep can get into the plots.

With the volunteers out in force, some of the plots have now been mended and should now be sheep proof. With the weather turning for the worse after lunch, everyone arrived back at the office looking and feeling very wet!