Blog Archive (12) Posts Made in November 2022

Willow Wreath Workshop

Monday, November 28th 2022

A highlight of the Foxglove calendar is an annual wreath making workshop. Using natural, sustainable materials grown on the reserve, beautiful festive decorations were created.

Marilynne gave step by step instructions on how to construct a frame from Grey Willow stems.

It didn't take long for everyone to get the hang of the technique and the mindful task of weaving in more stems began!

The next step involved building up a layer of foliage. The branches used were pruned from a large Grand Fir and the air in the classroom was soon filled with it's strong citrus scent.

Each wreath requires around 20 cut stems so for a class of 16 people a huge amount of willow had to be harvested in advance. This was kindly done by the team from Northdale who managed to complete the mammoth job in one day. No surprise with a world class swimmer in the group; well done on earning an incredible number of gold medals!

Thank you too to Marilynne for giving up her Saturday to teach us all this wonderful craft. Same time next year everyone?

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Battling Back

Monday, November 28th 2022

A team from the Personnel Recovery Centre in Catterick lent a hand last week. The group helped to tidy up an area where diseased Ash trees have been felled.

It wasn't the best day in terms of weather however that didn't deter the volunteers from getting stuck in and they made a good start on a very big and important task. This work will continue as the land is prepared for the planting of trees as part of the Queen's Green Canopy.

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The Elf Trail Returns!

Monday, November 28th 2022

From now until January there is a free, fun event to take part in at the reserve. Walk around the Red Route (Easy Access Trail) to look for clues and find out what Edward the Elf has been up to. This is a free, s'elf' guided event! Nothing is needed as the answers are on the back of the clues.

No need to book just turn up and be ready for some belly laughs as you answer the questions on your way round! Try and spot Edward himself hiding in the trees and post a picture of him on our Facebook page, or even better a s'elfie'! 

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Festive Crafts

Wednesday, November 23rd 2022

A small group from Carers Plus Yorkshire visited Foxglove today and had a go at making some Willow Wreaths. The results were very impressive and everyone took away a beautifully decorated willow frame.

The wreaths were made from natural materials grown at the reserve.

The next Willow Wreath workshop is now fully booked but keep an eye on the website for more winter events. Our thanks to the students from the Personalised Learning Centre in Northallerton who harvested the willow whips for today's event. 

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Bat Survey

Wednesday, November 23rd 2022

On Saturday a survey of the 54 bat boxes on the reserve was carried out. Stacey and Jenny gave up their day to visit each box and record their findings. A special endoscope was used to view inside some of the high ones. 

This Pipistrelle was found roosting in a box close to the Field Centre. A special license is required to carry out this work and next year the plan is to carry out a survey in the summer when more bats are likely to be using the artificial boxes.

Many thanks to Stacey and Jenny for monitoring the Foxglove bats. If you adopt a bat box you will receive an update shortly!

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Latest Greenworks

Wednesday, November 23rd 2022

Recent visitors will have noticed a lot of major forestry activity at the reserve. A big effort is underway to make safe the many Ash trees growing close to paths that have Ash Dieback. Where possible Tree Surgeons are removing large dangerous limbs and leaving as much standing wood as they can for the wildlife. In this photograph Sean from Yorkshire Tree Specialists is removing the top from an old Ash tree close to the perimeter fence. 

At the Outdoor Classroom, a whole stand of diseased Ash has been clear felled. The timber has been removed and over the next few weeks staff and volunteers will prepare the area for planting up with a new woodland. This area is currently out of bounds to visitors; apologies for any inconvenience.

A selection of native trees have been kindly donated by the Woodland Trust and once planted they will form part of the nationwide Queen's Green Canopy.

As a nationwide initiative created to mark the Platinum Jubilee, the QGC was due to conclude in December – the end of the Jubilee year. However, as the official tree planting season in the United Kingdom is from October to March, the initiative will now be extended to include the full tree planting season, beginning in October 2022 and concluding in March 2023.

The Queen’s Green Canopy is proud to be creating a living legacy with over a million trees planted in Her Majesty’s name across the nation during the first planting season, October 2021 to March 2022. The extension of the QGC initiative will build on this legacy and serve as a lasting tribute to Her Majesty’s extraordinary service to her country and her people.

The small saplings (a mix of Oak, Willow, Rowan and Field Maple) have been put into a temporary tree nursery while the area is prepared.

If you would like to get involved with the creation of this woodland then why not come along to one of our winter worky days, details are on the website.

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Fabulous Fungi

Thursday, November 17th 2022

Fungi have been particularly abundant at Foxglove this year with over 95 different species recorded in October alone.

The Buttercap mushroom is a common and variable woodland species. It particularly likes the decomposing needles of coniferous plantations. 

The Powderpuff Bracket is also found in conifer plantations. It fruits on the stumps and logs of rotting conifer trees and often resembles a powdery cushion.

The Wood Cauliflower fungus is a new species for the reserve. It mainly grows at the base of coniferous trees and can grow to a weight of several kilograms. 

Meadow Coral is a common fungus of unimproved grasslands and has been found near the Stone Circle on the reserve. It is brittle and coral-like in short grass but may also grow tall and sparsely-branched in longer vegetation. 

Another new species for the reserve was the Pink Waxcap. Also known as the 'Ballerina', it has a waxy rose-pink cap, pink gills and a pinky-white stalk. It is thought to be more common in the UK than anywhere else in the world. 

The Trooping Funnel is often seen in large numbers, either in arcs or complete fairy rings. It is one of the few large fungi that can survive mild frosts and can sometimes be seen standing through to late Decemeber.

Thank you to Chris Meek for the amazing photos and to everyone involved in finding and identifying all of these fabulous fungi!

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Yorkshire North East Highways Community

Wednesday, November 16th 2022

There was a lot of 'high vis' at the reserve today as staff from the National Highways Community were welcomed to spend a day carrying out conservation work!

Attendees included staff from Jacobs, Kier, Costain, Winvic, Concrete Repairs Ltd, Jointline and Mway Comms. After a 'brew and biscuits' and an introduction they set to work in the coppice block using hand tools to cut the Willow to ground level. Although it looks drastic, it will all grow back next year and wildflowers will benefit from the extra light reaching the ground.

Working in pairs, the team cut a large amount in no time at all.

Yesterday there was heavy rain all day and the same is forecast for tomorrow so luck was on their side with most of the day remaining dry.

Brash was piled up and will be turned into woodchip at a later date (volunteering tomorrow has been cancelled due to the torrential rain that is forecast). After a curry lunch the team enjoyed a guided walk to see other habitat management. Our sincere thanks to everyone who gave up their day to make a difference at the reserve. We look forward to your return in the summer next year to see the results of your hard work.



#National Highways

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Cauliflower Fungus and Pink Waxcap

Friday, November 11th 2022

Whilst working in the woodland on the 'Saturday Worky Day' last weekend, another new species was discovered. It is called Wood Cauliflower (Sparassis crispa) and does look just like a cauliflower!

It was identified on Wednesday by the species volunteer group who also found another 3 new species of fungi including this somewhat nibbled Pink Waxcap.

It was hoped to discover 30 new species this year to celebrate the 30th anniversary (one for each year) however, the total of new species for 2022 is already well over 80. Can we find 100 before the end of December? Please share photographs of your sightings on Facebook, you never know it could be something new!

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Habitat Management

Friday, November 11th 2022

Willow coppicing is carried out each year on an area of the Willow Carr at Foxglove. Coppicing is a traditional woodland management technique whereby you cut a tree (typically Willow, Hazel, Birch or Alder) at the base from which new shoots will grow. A wood that is managed in this way is called a copse and is split into different areas called coupes which are cut on rotation. This leads to a mosaic of different aged trees and benefits a wide variety of wildlife. 

Rather than burn the cut stems, it has been turned into woodchips which is a more environmentally friendly way of dealing with the brash. The woodchips can then be put to good use around the reserve to top up footpaths and mulch newly planted trees.

This work is ongoing and will be one of the main winter tasks for staff and volunteers.

So far, winter work has concentrated along the red route which is the easy access trail. The ponds here are used for pond dipping in the summer months and had become overgrown with reeds. Gerry and Peter made the most of the unusually mild weather and set to task removing some of the excess growth by hand. You can definitely see where they have been!

Further along the trail the view has been improved up by removing some of the scrub that was overcrowding Juniper and Oak trees. The result is a wonderful view of the cascading pools from the footbridge at the head of the lake.

Volunteers are the backbone of the reserve and without them this vital conservation work could not take place. Please get in touch with the Reserve Managers if you would like to get involved.

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A Busman’s Holiday!

Friday, November 11th 2022

Yesterday, several Rangers from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) visited the reserve on their team outing. The group cover the North area of the National Park and are well used to being out in all weathers which is just as well as it was unexpectedly rainy!

We look forward to welcoming them back in the future along with some of their apprentices to lend a hand with some practical conservation tasks.

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Chilli Con Carne and Chocolate Cake!

Sunday, November 6th 2022

On the first Saturday of each winter month there is a 'Winter Worky Day' when vital habitat management work is carried out. This is the perfect opportunity for volunteers who cannot take part in the mid-week activities to join in on a weekend.

Yesterday was the first one of the season and the task was to finish the tidying up after Storm Arwen which hit the reserve over a year ago. All associated forestry work was finally finished beforehand leaving a deep layer of branches and debris.

As the summers seem to get hotter and drier this woodland debris is a major concern as it could lead to a wildfire if left on the ground. It was all removed from the woodland involving a lot of dragging! Great for getting the 'steps' in!

Many hands make light work and by the end of the day the task was done. At lunchtime a hot meal was provided to thank the volunteers, this time chilli and rice with garlic bread, served with a smile! There were plenty of cakes and biscuits too! 

Our sincere thanks to everyone who gave up their Saturday to take part, your help is appreciated and special thanks to Jules for washing up at the end! 

The next Saturday volunteer day will be on 3rd December, booking is essential for catering purposes. More information is available on the events page. If you would like to get involved contact the Reserve Managers on 07754 270980 or email

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Help Support Foxglove

Friends of Foxglove

The Friends of Foxglove Covert is for those individuals, families and organisations who would like to support the reserve through an annual membership subscription. Friends receive a regular newsletter and invitations to attend our various activities and social events.

More Details

Upcoming Events

Access to the Reserve: OPEN with limited access

Monday 18th March 2024 |

The reserve is now open, although again with limited access.

Visitors will be able to access the reserve with the use of key fobs provided at the pass office upon entrance to the camp, or will be provided entrance and exit through the access gate by an officer from the camp Guard Room. In this case visitors will need a mobile phone to call the Guard Room when they wish to exit the reserve.

Please be aware that due to these circumstances, entering and leaving the reserve might take a little longer than usual.

Dawn Chorus

Sunday 5th May 2024 | 5:30am-7:30am

A guided walk around the reserve to experience the dawn chorus and celebrate International Dawn Chorus Day.

Walk starts from the Field Centre at 5:30am.

Donation of £5 per person. Free for volunteers and Friends of Foxglove.

Booking essential. Fill in the booking form by clicking the link below. Pay via paypal or in person on the day.


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