BCV News Snippets

June 2021

2015: Fan Pit Cottage pond building.
2015: Fan Pit Cottage pond building.

Fan Pit Cottages
We had an email from Anne at Fan Pit Cottages, I’ve shortened it slightly but the full version has been sent to Rick.

Just wanted to update you about my little project to attract more wildlife to our area. You might remember laying a hedge and clearing some of the land adjacent to our house at Fan Pit cottages. We were fighting a battle with Japanese Knotweed, which we have almost won!

In 2015 you created a pond for us, which has been very successful, attracting newts and toads almost immediately. Unfortunately this year a pair of mallards have decided to trash it, ripping weed out and feeding on the occupants of the pond, so I have covered it. I would love to create more ponds! We have planted a variety of trees, wild cherry and Rowan, with a few others. Sadly some of our mature trees have been affected by ash die back, so I did quite a lot of research to find trees that were suited to our clay soil and resistant to diseases.

We have a lot of marsh orchids this year and I am slowly adding more wild plants that survive the conditions. We still have hares living near the big pond, at the bottom of the field and deer have been spotted there too. Please pass on our good wishes to Rick and all the volunteers who remember coming to us. I can’t thank you enough for all your help and wish you could come again. Kindest Regards, Anne.

The Old Normal?
Good news, from July BCV will be returning to it original format of having tasks every two weeks. In addition there will be no need to book ahead for a place on task, just turn up on the day. Tasks will be starting a 10:00am until further notice and the meeting point for each task will be noted on task calendar. Transportation is still an issue though, any one needing transport to the site should contact Tom well before the task date so that arrangements can be made. Although it’s a big step towards business as usual, we still need to take care and maintain appropriate safety measures in the interests of protecting our volunteers.

May 2021


Return of the Hipster
Good news, Rick has had his hip operation and is recovering. He dropped in on our Moses Gate reedbed task to say hello, after a chat he carried on to Rock Hall to see how things were going over there with our second team. More details of the task will appear in a post shortly. Hopefully Rick will be back out on task as his usual self soon.


Going Bananas
BCV has joined forces with Banana Enterprises to help restore the grounds of Moses Gate Country Park as part of their Rock Hall restoration project. We have a number of tasks planned throughout the year so keep an eye on the task calendar.

Get Well Soon
Best wishes to Lynn from everyone, we all hope you recover soon and can join us on task when you’re better.


April 2021

We have Returned
Well we’re back at work again with our recent tasks at Firwood, but there have been a few other activities that you might not know about.

Blackleach Hibernaculum
We’ve finally got a digger in to finish the ponds and the hibernaculum. See the Blackleach Hibernaculum post for more info.

John Franklin
The Wildlife trust has created a memorial woodland to John at Seven Acres. See the John Franklin post for words and pictures.

Hip Dude
Rick is scheduled for a second hip replacement (sorry no pictures) in a few weeks, but tasks will continue with guest task leaders taking up the whip. Best wishes to Rick from everyone.


John Franklin

December 17th 2020

No year should end with sad news but this year continues to take more than it gives.

Our friend John Franklin has passed away due to covid complications.

John wasn’t just a volunteer, he was a shoulder anyone could lean on. You didn’t even need to ask, he’d just be there ready to listen to any problem you had. He’d encourage and support, and not judge. You couldn’t know John and not like him, John found many friends in BCV.

He volunteered not only with BCV but also The Wildlife Trust, and the Trust’s Men in Sheds group, a group that helps isolated men find a place and a purpose in the community. John’s ability to connect with people helped these lost individuals open up and find themselves, he probably saved many men from lives of misery and despair with just a few simple words.

John was someone whose friendship and humanity should be aspired to by everyone. His loss is a tragedy for his family, friends, the community and all who knew him. Love and condolences to John’s family, we are all thinking of you.

John’s funeral was on 7th January, at 12:00 noon at the west chapel, Overdale Cemetery. Only a limited number of people was allowed to attend, 10 family and 9 from the volunteer groups John was part of.

The family has asked for donations to be made to the British Lung Foundation in John’s memory, if that is something you would like to do.

11/04/21 – Planting John’s Orchard
As a mark of remembrance the Wildlife Trust decided to dedicate part of Seven Acres Country Park to John Franklin. The site was one of one’s favourite parts of the Country Park and he would often visit it with his wife, Evelyn.

Eighty trees, including hornbeam and birch, and various fruit trees, were planted across 2 days by members of John’s family and members of the various groups John was a part of, including BCV. There are also plans to install a bench at a later date. Photos have been added below along with photos of John working with BCV.

Many thanks to everyone who has left comments below.

Halloween Hall of Horrors


‘Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on.

-Hamlet-


For the last few years BCV has held Halloween themed tasks to celebrate the season of the witch, but with this year’s real global horror story limiting our undead lives, our ghoul fest has had to be chopped down in size. So, to remind us all how zombies danced and werewolves howled here’s a few creepy pics from previous years. Here’s to raising spirits.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Parker

Congratulations to BCV Chairman, co-ordinator, newt wrangler, and hedge jedi, Rick Parker on reaching the age of 70 on 9th September. Richard Parker, not to be confused with the the tiger of the same name in The Life of Pi, although just as impressive, was born at a young age and immediately started to grow to an outlandish height. After graduating with a useful qualification he found work at the NHS where it wasn’t much use to him at all. But, he also joined the fledgling Bolton Conservation Volunteers and in 1986 took over the operation and whipped a disparate team of misfits into a credible force for conservation.

Rick, took BCV to new heights of success winning multiple awards along the way such as, BMBC’s The Golden Elephant Award, Bolton News Green Hero Award (twice), The Cabinet Office’s Points of Light Award, to name a few, and more free meals than anyone has ever seen.

Rick is an acknowledge expert on amphibians and dragonflies and not only has given lectures to the great and learned he has also appeared in full colour on the radio, written stuff for books, and on occasion has hob nobbed with royalty.. or so he says. Rick’s conservation expertise and ability to talk to anyone non-stop has been key to his success at what he does.

Since ‘retiring’ from the depths of the the hospital he has carved out a career as a freelance hedge jedi, and was the first National Hedgelaying Society Accredited hedge layer in Greater Manchester. He also spends time teaching Bolton’s younglings the way of the newt at various schools around the borough… AND continues to co-ordinate BCV activities. That’s 70 years well spent.

Rick’s Rickisms are legendary and we pull his leg and dig his ribs, but BCV is BCV because of Rick and we wouldn’t have Rick any other way. Happy 70th Birthday from everyone, Rick, may the sun always shine on your pond.

Welcome to the New Website

The BCV website has changed. Our previous site ran for 14 years but over time became harder and harder to maintain, so now we have something new. Unlike the old site this one is fully compatible across all devices, regular visitors will also notice some other changes. At the moment there are no photo galleries and many of the other pages are also missing, hopefully this will change over the coming months as we decide what to keep and what to compost. In the meantime task photos will appear on the Norman Newt’s blog along with write ups of each task and also other news items as they arise. There is also no contact form although contact details are listed on the sidebar, and finally the task page doesn’t have many tasks on it, this is due to the covid-19 pandemic, tasks are still being planned. Please see the Joining Tasks page and/or contact Rick for more info. This is also the last outing of Norman the Newt as our new logo is now in use. Norman will return for special occasions though.
As things are a bit bare I’ll be including some retrospective stories as I get better acquainted with the editing tools.