Category Archives: Newsletters

Review of the past year – WHAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED!

January 2022 Update – Although Covid had an impact on activity on the Field a significant amount of work was carried out and noticeable progress achieved over the past year by our enthusiastic volunteers and our main partners, Lancaster City Council………..

Wild Flower Meadows

Two new wild flower meadows have been planted with around 6000 plug plants. This was an incredible effort from our eager volunteers, police cadets and the City Council workforce over two sunny days in October. These meadows will need management to ensure that they evolve into a fantastic wild life resource with the bonus of looking amazing. Our volunteer scything team will have a key role in their management.

Drainage

All Field users know how waterlogged the Field becomes in wet weather. Initially, there were proposals to drain the main pathway from the Memorial Garden to the main Kentmere Road access. Other sections of the Field were also considered. A professional survey has now been completed which confirms significant practical and potential issues with these ideas – apart from the considerable costs.

We are now focusing on the area around the main access path from Kentmere Road adjacent to the small stream. This is the wettest part of the Field which makes this access very difficult. When plans have been drawn up we will hold a public meeting to explain the proposals.

Remembrance Day

The Rev Carol Backhouse from Christ Church led this annual event which took place at our Memorial Stone.  Classes from four local schools attended and children gave readings and placed handmade wreaths. 

 Time Capsule

LRGS have produced a time capsule which they will bury early in 2022 under our most recently installed third bench.

Memorial Garden & Access

The two beds in front of the Memorial Stone were planted with wild flower seeds in spring 2021. An early drought delayed germination but eventually they bloomed. We will continue to plant bulbs and flowers each spring.

We are looking at improving access, especially for wheelchair users and pushchairs etc. The County Council have now confirmed that ‘dropped kerbs’ will be installed adjacent to the Memorial Garden/ bus stop area to improve access to crossing Derwent Road. 

Town/Village Green Approval

After several years of trying to register for Town/Village Green status, there has recently been some progress. A successful application would provide even more protection for the Field.

Mowing

The City Council mowing team will now regularly mow the play area, the main pathways and areas around the Memorial Garden and the two notice boards.

Jean Argles Wood

The majority of the newly planted trees are thriving. However, work is needed to help the saplings grow i.e. hand clearing the thick vegetation around them and selective pruning.

These trees will be used as part of Lancaster City Council’s volunteer ‘Tree Warden’ scheme. The first session on the field will be on Fri 11th Feb @1 – 3pm.  Further details to follow.

Willow

The main willow copse has been thinned to stop it encroaching onto the saplings, the main field, pathways and the orchard. Cut wood has been used to form animal refuges.  Many thanks to hard work from our own volunteers and those from the police cadets. Other willows have also been coppiced, again to stop them spreading especially into the new wild flower meadows.

Orchard

Work is needed to prune the orchard trees and keep the undergrowth shorter.  Maintenance will involve regular scything and possibly planting more fruit trees in the future.

Annual Meeting

We were unable to hold an annual meeting in 2021. We aim to have one in spring 2022 – probably at the newly refurbished Gregson.  This will be advertised this in advance.

First Aiders

When we hold an event on the field, we need to have access to first aid help. Currently, several local doctors have volunteered to be available. If there are any trained and qualified first aiders that could help could you please let us know.

Donations

We do not have any regular income and rely on grants and the occasional donation. If you would like to make a donation please contact us by e mail.

Communications

We use 5 different methods of communicating with the public.

Paul Wiggins (Chair – Friends of Miss Whalley’s Field)

Jan 2022

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Summer News

Slow starters 

After a Spring which was too cold, then too dry, then rather hot, and finally a bit wet, the flowers in the Memorial Garden have dared to poke their heads above the surface. Let’s hope life will get a bit easier for them now and they will get well established.

Thanks to Margaret for tending to these.

Hard to believe, but true! 

Someone dumped a double mattress in the stream near the bottom of the field. Apart from being unsightly, this could have caused flooding. Fortunately it was spotted by some of our members and the Council came and removed it, but it really shouldn’t be necessary!

All users of the Field, especially those who visit every day, are asked to keep their eyes open and to report anything that needs dealing with. If the Field looks cared-for, we hope the risk of fly tipping will reduce!

 Miss Whalley’s Prairie?

The grass has been growing very vigorously, so keep an eye on your small dogs…..and children!

Fortunately another of our supporters has volunteered to learn to handle a scythe, so we shall have two trained members able to mow some areas of the Field in the old-fashioned way when the time comes. This is a vital skill especially with our plans for a Wild Flower meadow likely to be realised soon, so why not become a scyther? We need more volunteers. You won’t be asked to do too much! Simply contact the Friends on the link provided on the Home page.

A grandly titled ‘Mowing Regime’ has been agreed with the Council to ensure the right bits of the Field are mown and the right bits are left unmown! Basically only the main paths and the play area will be mown, leaving the established wild flower areas untouched. 

Where has the Swamp gone?

No-one is deceived by the disappearance of boggy ground on the Field. We all know that it will reappear as soon as the Autumn rains set in – probably in August!  Discussions are therefore going on with the City Council, United Utilities and potential grant providers to improve the drainage in some areas of the field which are particularly prone to water-logging. When some ideas emerge for what to do, there will be a consultation. This is our most expensive project to date  so we need to get it as ‘right’ as possible.

Volunteering Opportunities

Finally, keep an eye open for lots of volunteering opportunities before too long. There’s a huge wild flower meadow to be planted; the new wood with hundreds of young trees to be cared for and there’s even an AGM to be attended. Watch this space!  

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Spring Update 2021

What’s been going on?

Spring is a time for new beginnings but first it’s good to remember what has happened in the past few months (apart from the small matter of Covid!):

  • The access track along Derwent Road has been improved.  We shall probably never know why it wasn’t put in years ago, but it’s there now, and it seems to be heavily used.
  • The Memorial Garden has been completed and a variety of mainly wild flower seeds have been planted. Anyone who lives near the Derwent Road end of the field may have seen volunteers carrying watering cans to keep the seeds watered during the very dry weather in April. Now why didn’t we get United Utilities to install mains water at the Memorial Garden while they were at it?!
  • The third bench has been installed. Note that the bench supplied was not quite the dimensions expected; hence the concrete shuttering, which will be removed soon. One of our local school is planning to bury a time capsule under the bench in due course.

All these projects have been instigated by The Friends Committee but carried out by United Utilities and Sapphire Utility Solutions at no cost to us. We are very grateful to these companies for their support and look forward to working together in the future. 

Unsung Heroes – our anonymous Canine Cleansers!

The Field provides a valuable space for exercising dogs, which have grown in number during Covid. The great majority of local dog owners are very good at cleaning up after their pets and we say a big Thank-you to them. There are also a few who not only clean up after their own pets but also clear up after other dogs. We are truly grateful to these unsung heroes for their work, and urge all local people to do their bit to keep the Field clean and safe for our children.

What’s Planned?

  • Bulbs will be added to the Memorial Garden later in 2021
  • A wild flower meadow has been agreed with Natural England and Lancaster City Council. Giant plant plugs sown with wild flower seeds are currently being grown for transplanting in the Autumn. We intend to organise a volunteer day to help with this project later in the year, assuming Covid restrictions permit.
  • An application has been made for a grant to contribute towards drainage of the worst boggy bits which restrict the use of some areas of the Field 
  • The 2 notice boards are to be revamped. They seem to suffer from severe bleaching in the sun so we shall experiment with ways of keeping the notices easy to read and up to date. 
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