Firwood First

Firwood Fold 4th April – 8th August 2021

Updated and largely completely re-written 14/08/21, most recent task is at the end, sorry if your scrolling finger gets a bit sore.

Our first post-lockdown task of 2021 was in the same place as the last task before the first lockdown of 2020, Firwood Fold. At this point We were still limiting our numbers on task and keeping everything clean and safe, but in the coming months things would change. But for now, after months of nothing but Zoom meetings and virtual conservation we’d unboxed our voluntreers and put them back in the real world: wellies, mud, dirt, and aching limbs, happy days were here again.

Sam Crompton's birth place.
Sam Crompton’s birth place.

Sunday April 4th 2021 – Egging us On
Our first post-lockdown task of 2021 was in the same place as the last task before the first lockdown of 2020, Firwood Fold. At this point We were still limiting our numbers on task and keeping everything clean and safe, but in the coming months things would change. But for now, after months of nothing but Zoom meetings and virtual conservation we’d unboxed our volunteers and put them back in the real world: wellies, mud, dirt, and aching limbs, happy days were here again.

Hedges are great, they create wildlife corridors for all kinds of creatures to travel along, and also habitat for nesting birds. It’s estimated that a million miles of hedgerow has been lost since the 1950s, today’s little stretch might not fill that gap but a journey of a million miles begins with a single step, so we’re happy to keep on stepping up for as long as it takes.

The Bunk
The Bunk

Sunday April 11th 2021 – Leets and Feets
Back again and our job today was to cut back vegetation and trees from the path and to clear willow from the leet. Leets are also known as sluices, spillways, flumes but all are the same thing, a water channel generally used to provide water for industry. As we are in Sam Crompton’s birth place it would fit the historical theme and may have been something that inspired the 6 year old Mr. Crompton to invent a better way of working, who knows. Speaking of better ways of working, today we had two socially distanced groups, BCV and Friends of Firwood, working on different parts of the site getting twice the work done without compromising safety. We’re so good.

Himalayan Balsam
Himalayan Balsam

Sunday 8th August 2021 – Final Firwood
On our final visit to Firwood Fold for 2021 we had a mix of jobs to do. The first thing was to bash the balsam. Last year we gave the balsam a good thrashing, the result was largely successful and this year’s crop was a lot smaller and not as dense, but it was still in evidence. So, armed with nothing but gloved hands, and the odd weed whacker, we dismembered every balsam stem we could find from seedlings to triffid sized monsters. As we’re destroying the balsam before it seeds we should have less, if any, regrowth next year.

The second part of the task on this grey wet day was finishing off the path work. This involved cutting back vegetation and overhanging branches to make the path passable. Many thanks to Barb and Trevor, and the Friends of Firwood Fold for having us back, we love Firwood and hope to be back next year for more. Until then enjoy one of Bolton’s best kept secrets.