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.