Category Archives: Newsletters

Looking Back……and Forward

If you are reading this, then Congratulations – you have made it into 2024!

For The Friends of Miss Whalley’s Field it’s time to take stock of what we achieved in the past year, and what we plan to achieve in this new year….. assuming the rain eventually stops falling!

Main achievements 2023

  • New fruit trees planted and dense brambles/nettles cleared. Thanks to the hardy volunteers who took this on.
  • The existing apple orchard was pruned and re-invigorated.
  • 2 flower meadows were mown and many more wild flower plug plants added by volunteers.
  • At very short notice our volunteers repaired the damage caused by “joy riders” and a wooden Planter was installed at the bottom of the Field to deter future ‘visits’ by vehicles.
  • We reached the final stage of The Kings Award. Unfortunately  we did not win the final vote, but very well done to those who worked on our application for this prestigious national award. A phenomenal achievement to get so far in this event.
  • As usual a Remembrance day ceremony was held with Christchurch. Four local schools attended plus members of the public, our MP, County Councillor and local Councillor.
  • We replanted the Memorial garden.
  • Our work days were always very well attended, showing that people really do care about the Field.

Most importantly, the Field was used by more and more local people, enjoying all the work we have done over the past few years. 

Outline Plans for 2024

  • We shall work with the City Council to get a GIS map of the Field (This is a Geographic Information System map, which makes it much easier to plan future work.)
  •  Thanks to the persistence of our Committee we are well underway with plans to construct a new stone bench adjacent to the memorial garden. We are looking into the possibility of two more time capsules for this bench and we also plan to move the top notice board.
  • We hope to plant more fruit trees.
  • Jean Argles wood will need tending as it continues to establish itself. Hopefully it is mopping up some of the excess rainfall!
  • We shall also need to coppice the main willow area and cut back other willows. They take over too easily.
  • There are plans to instal a couple of bat boxes if the experts think it could encourage more bats (which have always lived in the area).
  • We shall maintain the Memorial garden and planter and of course plan for Remembrance Day 2024.
  • If the bonfire night event is reinstated by the Gregson we may well be called on to assist.
  • We shall mow the wild flower meadows on their 3 year cycle, to maximise benefit to the flowers. We shall also look at whether more planting would be a good idea.
  • As ever we shall continue to work with the Gregson, Christchurch and other groups for the common good.

There’s plenty going on for everyone and we look forward to all working together again in the coming year!

I leave you with a picture of our leader, Chairman Paul, inspiring his troops towards the promised land………………but the moles seem to have got there first!! 

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Chair’s annual report

Our Chairman has produced his Report on the activities of the Friends in the past year.

You will be pleased to hear that he has confined himself to 2 sides of paper (with big print!) so if you want to be reminded of what we have achieved, and what we hope to achieve in the next year, Read On……..

Friends of Miss Whalley’s Field Chairman’s Annual Report May 2023

Successes

  • Partnerships are strong especially with the Gregson, local community, politicians and Lancaster City Council
  • A new access path from Kentmere Road was opened by Caroline Jackson
  • 3 wild flower ‘meadows’ are now planted- approx. 8000 plants, many grown from seed by our members Richard and Catherine – an astonishing effort. 
  • New fruit trees have been planted, with a member again taking the lead.
  • Kings Award for volunteers – good progress has been made on our application.
  • Jean Argles wood – 750 native trees planted and doing well following our pruning efforts.

Issues

  • Flooding near the main path– the City Council are to resolve
  • Vehicle driven on the Field causing significant damage – repaired by our volunteers
  • Notice board damaged – repaired by our Committee
  • Graffiti on the benches – removed by the City Council
  • ‘Attack dogs’ destroying trees – dog warden etc. informed

How to deal with anti-social behaviour and vandalism?

  • Please pick up your litter/dog mess etc. and politely challenge anyone failing to do so.
  • Publicise and shame – web site, Facebook etc.
  • Put any damage right ASAP – we have funds to repair/replace damage.

2023 Focus

  • Town green status – work with County Council to progress this application.
  • Promote greater use of the Field as an outdoor resource by the Gregson; the “Gregson Garden” 
  • Renovate and replant the Memorial garden and bench  
  • Willow –  cut back excessive growth; coppice to encourage new (light) growth, reduce shading and allow a new orchard to be planted. Use the wood to build animal refuge areas.
  • New orchard – replace the millennium orchard, which is in poor shape
  • Install bat/bird boxes – raise funds if required
  • Pebble art – like in Williamson Park. Maybe the Gregson/others can play a key role in this project.
  • Web cam of wild life – check legalities and logistics as this may be too complicated.
  • Drone survey – check licensing requirements etc.

2023 onwards

Maintenance and management

All our good work will fail unless we carry out regular maintenance and management . Our partnership with the City Council is critical to sustaining the effort. Fortunately we have developed a very good relationship with them and they know we have an enthusiastic volunteer “army” to sustain the various initiatives they help us with. All members have a vital role in this.

Lead roles for volunteers

We already have several volunteers who take the lead in particular areas.

Initiatives that do not currently have a lead volunteer include:

  • Establishing and monitoring bird/bat boxes
  • Maintaining a planter to be installed on the new path
  • Carrying out an ecological survey of the Field
  • Helping to control species such as Brambles and Ivy

If you would like to help lead or support one of these initiatives, just get in touch. Contact the Committee fmwfcontact@gmail.com

Increase the social aspect

We have been asked if it would be possible to start organising some events with a more social aspect. This would particularly benefit people new to the area. Ideas include:

  • Going for a tea/coffee/cake (at the Gregson?) following volunteer events
  • Getting together on the Field, perhaps with Children’s games, during the summer months
  • Having a social event e.g. at the Gregson, at Christmas

Do you like the sound of this? Any ideas for other events? Would you be willing to lead? Please contact the Committee  fmwfcontact@gmail.com         

Paul Wiggins – Chair: Friends of Miss Whalley’s Field

 

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AUTUMN UPDATE

AUTUMN UPDATE – RECENT EVENTS and PLANS

2022 was a lovely, sunny summer and it was good to see so many people of all ages enjoying the field.

New Access Path and Drainage Area

We were awarded a grant from the Dulverton Trust to enable us to finance the long-awaited plans to alleviate flooding at the Kentmere Rd entrance and provide an access path. This was opened on 27th July when members of the public came along to join Council Leader Caroline Jackson who ‘cut the ribbon’,  plus Cat Smith and Lizzie Collinge.

New Wildflower Meadow

In late September the Council cleared the new area and in early October around 26 hard working volunteers planted approx. 3000 plug plants! Further planting continued over the next few days plus the addition of more wild flower seeds. A tremendous effort by our volunteer force plus a big thank you to Richard Evans and Catherine Walker who grew and nurtured the 1000’s of the plug plants from seed.

New Fruit Orchard Plans

An area at the bottom of the Field has been cleared by the Council to allow a new fruit orchard to be planted in Winter 2022. This will extend our flora and fauna, providing another valuable habitat for wildlife and the opportunity for locals  to pick free fresh fruit in the future. We will be asking for volunteers to help Ben Ruth, the lead volunteer who researched and instigated this development.

Planting in Existing Apple Orchard

The apple orchard planted in 2000 is in a poor state. The Council have strimmed between the existing trees to help us to access the area and we aim to plant new apples and pear trees that are more suited to the site.

Remembrance Day Nov 11th

The Rev Carol Backhouse of Christchurch has kindly offered to help co-ordinate and lead the service of our Annual Remembrance service at the Memorial Stone on November 11th. School children will obviously have pride of place but members of the public will be welcome to attend. More information will be circulated nearer the time.

Vandalism

Unfortunately there has been three notable issues of vandalism. Graffiti on the benches, the notice board at the bottom of the Field has been broken and a mattress and large plastic items tipped into the stream. The graffiti has been cleaned up but some reappeared. The notice board is being repaired. Large rubbish has been removed. This is disheartening and costs our charity money. However, the bigger picture is that the Field remains relatively free of vandalism and our daily visitors and volunteers continue to clear up rubbish and pick up dog mess on a regular basis – many thanks to you.

Bonfire Night Sat 5th November 

After a break of several years due primarily to Covid the Gregson Festival group laid on this popular event again this year.

Queens/Kings Award

Our FMWF group has been nominated for the Queens award for Voluntary Service. Our nomination has been accepted at the first stage but there are many stages to follow.  Even if we do not succeed any further it is a real recognition of the effort made by our volunteers. We will keep you updated.

Working with Lancaster City Council

None of this wonderful work, new developments and on-going maintenance of the field would be possible without liaison and a big, essential input from staff of Lancaster Council.

To contact our group or be added to our members/volunteer contact list, email:-

fmwfcontact@gmail.com