The Latest News, Photos and Movies from the BCV

Photo Galleries

Select the gallery (Task, Walks, Competitions or Wildlife) from the News menu on the left, wait several seconds for the grid to populate (longer if you have a slow connection), and single click the photo you want to view. Use the arrow keys at the top of the lightbox or left/right arrows on your keyboard to see the next/previous photo. Click the 'X' to exit. To scroll through the captions use the scroll bar at the side of the text box.

Norman the Newt's News

Minutes : Read Colette's minutes of our December 2017 indoor meeting - click HERE

March This Month's Old News :  Hedge Laying Competition 2011- click HERE

Updated 18/03/18 - Competitions Gallery, BCV Movies, News 4/3/18 March - Wildlife Gallery

NEW 18th March - Hedge to Hedge

Following on from the success of last months Hollins Vale Hedge Laying Competition our own Dr John Leather Memorial Hedge Laying Competition returned for its 15th bout.
This year the competition, held in memory of Dr John Leather, was held at Anglezarke Reservoir. The winners of the silver bill hook were Ben Barratt and Jeff Griffiths, second place went to Neil Birtles and Paul Thompson. Photos can be found on the Competition Gallery. Well done teams.

12th February- Jane's World

BCV's Social Officer and the Wildlife Trusts Most Inspirational Volunteer Jane Arkwright is wearing another hat this week to go with her trademark pink one. Inspired by a new piece of research into what makes people happy (the report concluded that being outside was the answer), the Trust asked Jane to be the subject of an interview for BBC Breakfast. In the report Jane explains what volunteering in the great outdoors means to her and how it benefits wellbeing. The report was broadcast on Tuesday, but if you missed it follow the link HERE. Most excellent.

To learn more about the research project visit

 UPDATED 31st January - Over Hedge and Across the Vale

This year we have not one but two hedge laying competitions. The official BCV competition, held in memory of the late Dr John Leather, the BCV's hedging guru will be held at Anglezarke on 11th March, but we have another fledgling about to leave the nest.

Our last two competitions were held at Hollins Vale LNR, Bury and hosted by The Hollins Vale Conservation Group and Bury Council, with sponsorship from Park Royal Stone. They were so impressed by what hedge laying has to offer that they asked BCV to help them set up their own competition, that competition is now ready to roll on 18th February 2018 and all are welcome to compete.

The idea of our original comp was to keep John Leather's memory alive by spreading the word of hedge laying to other groups, I'm sure Dr. John would be very pleased with this his legacy.

UPDATE - The competition was a total success and was well attended by both the Bury group and BCV, with our own Andrew Brownlow being one of the members of the winning team.

19th January - Keeping it in the Family
BCV has had another pat on the back, this time from the Mayor of Bolton, Councillor Robert Hayes. At a ceremony at the Middlebrook Stadium BCV were presented with a certificate for its Community Empowerment Work. To save you squinting at the photo the cert says "The certificate is awarded to Bolton Conservation Volunteers in recognition of their contribution which is making a difference to the Bolton Family."
Well done Caroline for doing all the background work that got us involved in this important project.

12th January - Edith
Some sad news, Edith Elebert, who edited the BCV newsletter many years ago has passed away. Both Edith and her husband Dennis (who passed away in 2016) were helped BCV enormously in its early years . BCV offers its condolences to the Elebert family.

1st January 2018 - Ringing in the Past

To celebrate the new year I've added a new gallery to the News and Photos pages. Ever wondered what BCV was like before the internet, before Lottery funding and when Rick had a moustache? Well now is your chance to see what we all looked like when the world was young and social media was made of paper. There's also a blast from the past above with an article from our 1996 newsletter. This is a new monthly feature, which I hope people will read. Happy New Year and enjoy.

10th October - Inspired

BCV's own Jane Arkwright has been recognised for her volunteer work at the Wildlife Trust's 2017 Volunteer Conference. At the event she was presented with the award for Most Inspirational Volunteer and a bag of goodies. The award recognises Jane's contribution to the Trust's work (too many to mention) and her positive attitude to volunteering.

As well as volunteering with the Trust Jane is BCV's Social Secretary and a first aider, she also volunteers for the Woodland Trust and the Rivington Heritage Trust as well as mentoring young adults. Two thumbs up and congratulations from BCV.

31st August - Obituary: Len Saunders

Len Saunders, a well-known practical conservationist, has died aged 65, following a senseless and unprovoked attack on him near his home in St Helens Town Centre. Len was a kind, gentle and caring man, a good listener rather than conversationalist, and had a wealth of local knowledge. Nothing was too much trouble for him. When it came to practical work, he was part-man, part-machine. He had a phenomenal workrate that belied his slight stature. He was a key member of the former Groundwork Conservation Volunteers and Wigan CVs, often leading tasks, but had worked with groups from across the North West, including Bolton and Chorley, and was an accomplished hedge-layer and waller: for many years he laid hedges and walled professionally, and would go in his Land-Rover as far north as the Lake District. He also demonstrated charcoal-burning at countryside events.

 I have memories of planting trees adjacent to the Liverpool-Manchester Railway at Bold with Len and Steve Freeman of Operation Groundwork (St Helens) somewhere around 1990. We had two hundred saplings to plant. It was a baking hot, autumn day and the ground seemed to be nothing more than compacted coal waste. Our spades bounced from the surface, so we had to hack at the spoil with the spade edge rather than dig. It was gruelling work. We managed to complete the task, but Len accounted for more trees than Steve and me together. Len didn't groan, gasp or complain, nor did he stop to talk. He cocked back his trademark trilby to wipe his forehead every now and then, but kept going until every last tree was firmly planted.

In his later years he turned a hand to acting, rejoicing in the stage name of Len Banana, and turned a hand to poetry; I had the unexpected pleasure of hearing him read his own humorous verse to an audience only a few weeks before his untimely death. He also became heavily involved in a project establishing a small, specialist cinema, Lucem House, in his home town.
Len was a man of many talents who be missed in conservation and theatre circles alike.

Written by Francis Williams