Scarborough Conservation Volunteers

Come join the Best

Where have they gone ?

Where have all the insects gone? Can you remember the days that had your car windscreen covered in bugs,it’s not so long ago. I was coming from whitby the other evening and there in the road late at night were a few moths, not many but a few .It was then the reality hit home i could not remember seeing clouds of bugs in any recent year . I am no bug professor but I know when my flies  are down.I have heard a few explanations for this usually that cars are more aerodynamic so the bugs don’t stick but trucks and bussed have the aerodynamics of a pile of bricks. So where have they gone ? it’s not just the humble bee that pollinate our crops and flowers, we also need the billions of insects we once had. I dont know if its the agricultural sprays we use, mono crops, the removal of hedges, pollution or the loss of our wild flower meadows that has caused this to happen but we need to stop this decline as a matter of National importance and security because if our crops,flowers and trees are not pollinated we as a nation are stuffed.  Can you imagine the kind of county we would have   If we cannot feed ourselves ,the birds gone, few trees or flowers,  fish stocks decimated .I can and the thought terrifies me  


Good morning campers and tree huggers. For the last two weeks the ConVols have been working on the annual task of Himalayan balsam removal.

Hymilayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera)  is listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act in England and Wales therefore, it is also an offence to plant or otherwise cause to grow these species in the wild.

H.B is Britains largest annual plant growing to over  two and half meters and introduced  to the UK in 1839. Travelling both up and down stream H.B quickly dominates the riverbanks forcing other less aggressive species out,this in turn dramatically reduces the biodiversity of the river banks.

New Volunteers are often reluctant to work on this task as what they are seeing is a bonny relative of the Busy Lizzie plant and it is an attractive plant, thats why it was brought here all those years ago but it has to go. Anyone that has witnessed the way that H.B. colonise our river banks,will in a short time realise  that H.B. poses a major threat to our river and beck sides, with what can be catastrophic results to the indigenous flora/fauna.

If you would like to know more about this subject the net is full of info.R.H.S

Rhododendron   Rhododendron ponticum (L.)pulling  is a very similar task to H.B. a stunningly beautiful plant grown all over the world, that has to go. Although it possesses attractive flowers R. ponticum has few attributes that offset the negative impact it can have on an invaded site.  It has been shown to reduce the numbers of earthworms, birds and plants and regenerative capacity of a site, leading to a reduction in the biodiversity of the area. Physical access to a site can be reduced by the density and size of mature bushes, and management costs then rise as the bushes need to be treated prior to other activities being carried out. Established bushes then act as a seed source for further invasions in adjacent areas, eradicating ground cover plants and interfering with the process of natural regeneration of trees.

The ConVols have contracted with the Woodland trust to continue with Rhododendron pulling in Raincliffe Woods and over the coming year we hope to make some dramatic improvement in the amount of this unwanted plant.


My name is Paul Thompson and I work for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. 

I am beginning to recruit for next year’s cohort of my project, ‘Tomorrow’s Natural Leaders’.  We really struggled to recruit last year in Ryedale (where there are 6 vacancies) so I wondered if you could please pass this opportunity on to any conservation volunteers, friends or relatives to help raise awareness of this amazing opportunity for young people (age 16 – 24) looking to start a career in the conservation / countryside management sector.


Placements will run from September 2017 – August 2018 and the deadline for applications is 30th June.  Detailed information about the vocational placements including how to apply can be found on our website here:


Participants receive a bursary of £250 per month, a training budget of £470 and a placement completion bonus of £500 cash.


I have attached a flyer for use in newsletters or social media, plus an article featuring interviews with some of this year’s participants.


We will be hosting two practical “taster sessions” in June for anyone who would like to find out more and have a chance to ask myself and the current trainees any questions on the following dates:


·         Saturday 17th June

·         Wednesday 21st June


These will be held at one of our local nature reserves or farms and further detailed information will be sent through later this month.


Let me know if you have any questions and feel free to forward this email and my contact details on.


Kind regards,



Paul Thompson
Environmental Youth Project Leader

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Tel: 01751 417503



Join the Best

Easter is here, spring has sprung,the daffs are out and the sun is shinning. I have been looking back at this winters ConVol tasks and without doubt we have a lot to be proud of. Over the winter months the volunteers have continued to work in Raincliffe Meadow, thinning the trees in the arboretum plantation, ready for next winters planting, the wild daffodils we planted have given a beautiful show, and the thousands of wild flowers the volunteers planted are starting to come through. The Bird hide is once again usable after its arson attack ,feeders have been made and a large amount of brash cut back to allow the wild flowers to come through, The volunteers have had sculptures made for the meadows west gate and chippings put down to dry up the ground . These things on there own would be a wonderful achievement for the ConVols but we did not stop there. We are continuing the development of our Wetland aria,encouraging public use of the meadow and the memorial garden. If you are interested in creating a memorial space for your loved ones, the volunteers charge £250 for a semi mature native tree and plaque with words of your choice. Please contact us we are happy to help, at £250 this is a competitive alternative to paying over £1000 for a bench.

Anyone that looks up to Scarborough Castle will see a huge difference this summer!! You can see the walls. Over the last few years self seeded sycamore trees have grown up around the Castle, obscuring a once stunning view, English Heritage asked the ConVols if we could help restore the iconic view and I think that we have been extremely successful. The trees are no longer damaging the fabric of the Castle walls and we have helped secure the castle grounds, making the walls more difficult to climb and damage the stone work has been reduced.

Is that it ? If it was we would be justifiably chuffed at our achievements but Scarborough Conservation Volunteers are made of good stuff. One of the ConVols long term aims is to provide training for its volunteers particularly in the ancient skills of Dry Stone walling and hedge laying. Money was raised and eight of our volunteers travelled over to the Yorkshire Dales, over a few weekends to learn the wonderful skill of hedge laying, luckily each time we visited the sun shone and it kept dry for us, so successful were the Volunteers that we were invited back to take part in a regional competition, off we went again to the Dales and totally out of the blue two of our group won best in class. I must admit to looking forward to organising more training for the volunteers both at home and shock horror other counties.

Scarborough Conservation Volunteers have a long and successful relationship with Scarborough Borough Council. We clear old paths, mend fences, thin trees from overgrown plantations, create wild flower meadows…… One job the council asks to be done is the repair of the board walk around Throxenby Mere and along Forge Valley these tasks are very long term and require a lot of man/women hours over the year. Throxenby Mere Board Walk is regularity in need of repair because of the damp conditions. While The one in Forge Valley is longer it is dryer and needs less maintenance it still needs regular TLC . Digging drainage channels and clearing the brash.

If you would like to join the Best most fun voluntary group in town maybe take some training contact Ron Baxter on 07884968383 ,or visit our FB site

Ron Baxter


Help needed with Scarborough Castle

Good morning nature lovers!
Scarborough Conservation Volunteers (ConVols), are pleased to announce that the first stage in removing the self-seeded sycamore trees, around Scarborough Castle, has been completed. This has been a fantastic job for the volunteers to tackle and I think I speak for everyone when I say the volunteers absolutely loved the task. Our work on the castle walls is not yet finished, so the ConVols will be back next year to continue the tree removal.
English Heritage, who own the site, has asked the Scarborough ConVols to collaborate in the creation of a “meadow” inside the castle grounds. We plan to start with a small area of approximately one acre to start this project. Initially the ConVols, in association with English Heritage Volunteers, will cut the grass and remove the clippings. We do this in order to give the wildflowers a chance to thrive against the more vigorous grasses.
Scarborough Castle is an internationally recognised symbol of the town of Scarborough with both the castle and the grounds visited by thousands of tourists every year. English Heritage and the ConVols see the creation of a flower meadow within the castle grounds as an important part of the castle’s development by giving our visitors a beautiful wildflower display and also giving a much needed boost to the associated wildflower habitats.
Unfortunately the ConVols do not have a suitable ‘sit-on mower’, that would go through the castle gates and work on rough ground. If anyone reading this post has such a machine and would be willing to lend it to the ConVols for one day, or would come along and volunteer themselves and machine to do this task it would be greatly appreciated. Please contact Ron Baxter if you could help.
Anyone interested in joining the ConVols and helping us on this and other projects, please contact Ron Baxter by email at / phone 07884968383 or .contact The Manager English Heritage
Next week’s task has been changed to the Raincliffe meadow, we will be working on the bird hide,some tree thinning and planting a small habitat hedge.If you are interested just come along and join us on the Meadow or if you need transport at Scarborough Rail St. at 9.30 am

Task Lists

9 01.03.17 Woodland Management Scarborough Castle
10 08.03.17 Woodland Management Scarborough Castle
11 15.03.16 Pond Manangement Hopper Hill Road
12 22.03.17 Woodland Management Raincliffe Meadow
13 29.03.17 Pond Manangement Hopper Hill Road
14 05.04.17 Tree Planting Silpho Horse Sanctuary
15 12.04.17 Tree Planting Silpho Horse Sanctuary
16 19.04.17 Footpath Maintenance Forge Valley
17 26.04.17 Boardwalk Maintenance Forge Valley
18 03.05.17 Boardwalk Maintenance Forge Valley
19 10.05.17 Meadow Work Raincliffe Meadow
20 17.05.17 Fence Repairs Forge Valley
21 24.05.17 Meadow Work Raincliffe Meadow

come a long and join us


01.03.17 Woodland Management Scarborough Castle


08.03.17 Woodland Management Scarborough Castle


15.03.16 Pond Management Hopper Hill Road


22.03.17 Woodland Management Raincliffe Meadow


29.03.17 Pond Management Hopper Hill Road


05.04.17 Tree Planting Silpho Horse Sanctuary


12.04.17 Tree Planting Silpho Horse Sanctuary


19.04.17 Footpath Maintenance Forge Valley


26.04.17 Boardwalk Maintenance Forge Valley


03.05.17 Boardwalk Maintenance Forge Valley


10.05.17 Meadow Work Raincliffe Meadow


17.05.17 Fence Repairs Forge Valley


24.05.17 Meadow Work Raincliffe Meadow


This week

Now then you lot,up and at em. Dont forget we are on the meadow tomorrow,we have an intermittent hedge to plant and a large amount of wood chippings to spread. We will also be doing some thinning and a little practice with the Rip saw. If you would like to join us please do, your more than welcome to come along and join us. If your concerned that you cant commit to coming out each week its cool, come when and if you can. Transport is available to anyone not having it,we pick up at the station at half 9. COME and JOIN in

Millennium Woods

Good morning tree huggers, today I would like to brag a little about the conservation volunteers achievements in millennium wood. Over the last two weeks the ConVols have been working thinning trees in the woodland. This may look to some as a strange way to manage a woodland. Unfortunately when these woodlands were planted around 16 years ago the trees were planted far too close together, this is done to help suppress the undergrowth and allow the tree whips to grow, it also gives wind protection to the trees. However once the woodland starts to mature it soon becomes clear that some trees are doing well while others struggle. It also creates a single canopy throughout the woodland blocking light to the floor. It also discourages wildlife from occupying the woodland simply because it is dark, cold and damp. Let’s face it we would not like to live in those conditions. It is for these reasons woodland is cleared, to allow light through the woodland canopy to encourage undergrowth, to create a canopy of different heights and to allow air into the wood in order to dry it out. The ConVols have over the last few years been slowly thinning this small woodland and over the next few winters we will continue the thinning process and plant new varieties of plants, shrubs and trees. This will create easier access for the birds and a greater variety of nesting/feeding spots. Even now the difference to the ground flora/fauna is astounding, grasses are starting to come through the woodland is drying out and it is no longer a dark damp habitat.

Next week the ConVols will be working on Raindcliffe Meadow planting an intermittent hedge, this is being done not to create a boundary but to allow a greater variety of habitats and to encourage new hedgerow species. The ConVols will monitor the newly planted hedging and in a few years time when the hedge is mature the volunteers intend to lay the hedge down in a variety of regional styles. The volunteers are also expecting a delivery (large) of chippings these will be laid in the main gate to help keep it dry and to provide an easy/welcoming entrance to the meadow. In the next few months the volunteers will continue to develop the small picnic area, providing seats, tables and bird feeding stations. We will continue the thinning process in the Arboretum stand and plan our planting.

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