This was my second visit to Baildon Moor with BEES, and what a difference in the weather. Last time I suffered terribly from acute hay fever in the hot, dry and dusty conditions. Today was nearly the polar opposite, which may have deterred a few but was welcomed by me!
Anyway, it was more of the usual work for this site, clearing dead bracken and piling it up, along with cutting down new growth, all with the aim of increasing the biodiversity on the moor.
In the afternoon I tried my hand at using the scythe. After some tutoring from Nick and a couple of hours practice I think that I had started to get the measure of it; it's not as easy as it looks at first glance. It was great to be learning a new skill.
This job is never ending, with the group replacing the traditional means of moorland management (i.e. agricultual practices which are no longer carried out). The volunteers' work over the years is certainly having a positive effect, however, and the difference between the managed and the unmanaged areas is striking.
I was on the road coming towards Baildon from Ilkley in the summer and the impact that BEES volunteers have made is quite striking - half the hillside was green with braken but the area brown with grass flowers was substantial and impressive.