Wildfest Through the Looking Glass

Moses Gate, Wildfest Garden tidy up, 30th August 2020

Below is an extract from a document found in a bottle hidden in a rabbit hole near Crompton Lodge, its meaning is still not known.

“I’m late, I’m late,” said Rick
“Curiouser and curiouser,” said Lynn, looking at her watch

In Wonderland the five did wait,
For the King to show, he was late.
“The time has come,” the old newt said,
And took a seat, “To speak of many tasks.”
Of strimmers, paths, and shifting brash,
And strawberry beds and masks.

The King of Spades saw his domain,
Was overgrown and wild,
“Off with their heads,” He boldly cried,
And hedge tops fell and piled.
The Ladies Royal, together worked,
To rake up the pieces, a job not shirked.

And dead hedge with fresh brash grew,
The rest became compost new.
The strawberry beds were carefully weeded,
Of wild plants that had slyly seeded.
And Cheshire Cat did with a grin,
Photograph everything.

All was done, they packed away,
The tools they used throughout the day.
The hide was locked with keys a-new,
They had done what they could do.
So, to the pub, the time not yet tea,
To find a bottle that said “Drink Me.”

“A very happy Un-Wildfest, to You”, said Eve.

Wildfest didn’t happen in 2020 thanks to lockdown, but if you want to learn more about what Wildfest could have been, and less about bad poetry, have a read of ‘Wildfest, I think I love you.’

Photos: Colin Mather

Wildfest, I Think I Love You

In 2019 Bolton Conservation Volunteers, or BCV to our friends, organised Wildfest, a celebration of nature, wildlife and the work BCV has done over the years. Assisted by the Darcy Lever Gravel Pits Action Group, aka GPAG, the day was a ridiculous success and even had coverage in the Bolton News. Sitting in The Sweet Green Tavern after the day was done we decided that we would do it again and next time it would be even bigger. Planning started almost immediately with ideas on how to improve things and who else we could approach to be involved, as it turned out other groups were already lining up to be part of Wildfest 2019. So, we set the date 25th August 2019 bank holiday weekend, the place Moses Gate Country Park, and set the wild thing moving.

After weeks of rain we were blessed with the hottest August bank holiday on record and more stalls than you can shake a withy at. We had: Jane and Katrina at our welcome tent keeping the visitors moving through; Louise Bentley flying along with swift conservation; the Bolton-Bury Canal Society locked on with the public about their work; Paul and David from the RSPB scoping out the bird hide; Jayne Stott running rings around the dog training; Mike and the GPAG team made a splash with the pond dipping sessions and moth ID; Rick and Colin knocking together hurdles assisted by Barb and Trevor from Bolton Green Umbrella; Jo, Jaxon, Clayton and Floyd the ferret making dens in the woods; Sheena, Gill and Abigail creating flower filled willow crowns; and Caroline and Lynn making popcorn, pancakes and veggie hotdogs. And finally Tom did a great job filling in when people needed a break.

The free event was officially opened by long time BCV supporter Kath Martin, helped by son Phillip. The day’s format followed last year’s with visitors being provided with a map of the site. At each station they visited they got a sticker to put on the map and when the map was full they could claim free food at the food station.Throughout the day we had lots of positive comments from the public, how much they enjoyed it, how much the kids loved it, and what a fantastic job everyone was was doing, comments for which we are very grateful. Raising awareness about Bolton’s natural environment and the groups that care for it is what we aimed for and what we achieved.

Sitting in the Sweet Green Tavern afterwards, exhausted and worn out by the day, we had an idea: lets do it again next year… but bigger. Sadly 2020 brought Covid-19 which put an end to those plans… maybe 2021 will be different.