Baildon Moor

Cutting Bracken - August 2008
Cutting Bracken - Aug 2008

We have concentrated on an area that had underlying moorland plants - heathers, sheep sorrel, heath bedstraw, bilberry and crowberry.

The control measures have involved cutting the bracken three times a year.

The results have been very encouraging and we continue to expand the areas we are managing.


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Conservation Work

Baildon Moor, Bracken removal.

Baildon Moor Car Park - if you go past Baildon Co-op and over the cattle grid, take the first left onto Bingley Road and the car park is on the right some way along the road. Google Maps does show it if you look up Baildon Moor.

We will be doing our last session for the year of bracken removal on Baildon Moor using traditional tools such as sickles and scythes. 

Despite the lifting of restrictions, the YMCA are sticking with people bringing  their own drinks, snacks and packed lunch until cases ease.

If you need to borrow boots just let us know the size you need.

Our Aviva crowd funder has enabled us to provide Covid safe taxis and if you let us know beforehand we can book them for you. We can also pay transport costs.

We are now able to provide transport for up to four people besides the driver in the minibus at present, so do let us know if you may want this option. We would meet at Culture Fusion or pick up on the way. 

Please get in touch if you would like to join us.

Bracken cutting, Baildon Moor

Baildon Moor

Our final visit for this year.

This year’s third and final visit to control bracken.  Volunteers, scythed, slashed and sickled their way through areas that had regenerated since last year.  The heather and bilberry are establishing well where the bracken has been consistently cut back.

Bracken cutting, Baildon Moor

Baildon Moor, car park on top of the moor

More bracken cutting - please wear long trousers and sleeves.

On this second of three annual visits to the moor we cleared a substantial quantity of bracken.  The moor is looking more diverse each year in the areas in which we've been working.

Bracken cutting, Baildon Moor

Baildon Moor

Our first visit of the year bracken cutting on Baildon Moor using traditionals tools, scythes,sickles etc to preserve and increase plant diversity.

We were joined today on the moor by staff skilled in the use of traditional tools such as scythes and sickles.  They were very much appreciated for their hard work and we made good progress.

Baildon Moor - Bracken cutting

park on the top car park

Our domain!: when we started working on the moor this hillside was covered in brackenAn area of moorland we've improvedA lovely day for our last visit to cut bracken this summer.

Undoubtedly we have not covered the same amount of ground now we no longer have an auto-scythe, but we have still made a good impression, adding to many of the existing piles of composting bracken. We use a mixture of scythes, slashers and sickles, with some of the sparser areas being pulled by hand.  I walked down to where we had started off in 2002 – we have cut an impressive patch, creating space for heather, bilberry and crowberry.

I didn’t achieve my ambition of glancing upon a short-eared owl silently quartering the hillside (it’s been years since I have seen one), but we disturb quite a few red grouse and could see buzzards over Rombalds Moor.

Baildon Moor - Bracken cutting

park on the top car park

Proper Baildon Moor weatherProper Baildon Moor weatherA rainy day today, but still successful progress in cutting areas of bracken and raking the arisings into the piles. 

I filled a couple of carrier bags of semi-composted bracken to mulch the blueberries that I bought at Apple Day last year. One day it would be nice to make more of the bracken we have harvested but the logistics and effort wouldn’t be insignificant.


Baildon Moor - Bracken cutting

park at top car park

27th July 201827th July 2018This was our first of three visits to Baildon Moor to return to the area we have been bracken cutting for many years. We were going areas that had been cut previously; cutting with scythes and sickles and then raking the cuttings into piles.  The aim is to reduce the dominance of the bracken which covers vast tracts of the moor, and give the opportunity for heather, bilberry and crowberry to flower and fruit. 

Baildon Moor, bracken control

Another hand-powered effort at controlling areas of bracken growth. We worked along the lower slopes, using the scythes and slashers in the denser stands and sickles were the bracken is sparser amongst the other moorland vegetation. The piles of fronds mark our progress across the hillside and it was good to see where we worked last month that there was only a little regrowth. 

It’s hard work, so it was good to be distracted at times by frogs, a toad, red admiral butterflies and swifts. No sign of the grouse; they have taken cover. 


Baildon Moor, bracken control

21 July 2017: Knot Grass Moth caterpillarKnot Grass Moth caterpillarA day of weather today, wet most of the morning but getting better in the afternoon.

We were restricted to hand tools today, but despite the lack of an auto-scythe we made a significant impact on the larger stands of dense bracken. The heaps of cutting marked our progress. 

Our day was brightened by an Elephant Hawkmoth and an attractive caterpillar Knot Grass Moth caterpillar. We had a walk to look at the area we originally worked in and are still pleased with the success in reducing the bracken and allowing the colonisation of heather, bilberry and crowberry. The trees are a notable part of the hillside and we are thinking that it might be a good for the heather to reduce the number slightly. 


Baildon Moor – Bracken Cutting

This was our final visit to Baildon Moor for this year. We cleared a great deal of bracken; cutting, raking and piling it up to expose the ground for the bedstraw and grasses which are the first to colonise. Most of the areas we worked in had been cut previously so there was already a covering of vegetation. We were creating conditions for the heather, bilberry and crowberry to grow. 

It would be nice to spend more time there as progress is good but we are aware there are areas that we cut last year that didn’t get attention this year. This is still a task we very much enjoy and aim to be back in 2017. We are still pondering the role of the trees in the areas we have cleared. 

Pictures from toady can be seen in the gallery.