Clearing North Newbald Beck

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve of North Newbald Becksies is fed by several clear chalk springs. The wild flowers here in the summer are spectacular. Today I’ve been working with a volunteer group to clear the main beck which runs from the reserve down through the village of North Newbald. On the upper stretches, overhanging tree branches needed cutting back and brambles were covering the stream. Through the village, much of it was choked with watercress and some areas were full of willowherb, which we dragged out with a crome (or long draw fork).

The beck across the village green, before…

…and after clearing

The water soon runs clear again

Once the vegetation has been cleared, the water flows more quickly and that helps to keep it clear. We left the cleared material on the bank, so that any trapped wildlife has a chance to return to the water. It will be collected up in a few days.

I’ve seen water voles on the reserve in previous years, but was surprised to see two today, right in the middle of the village! We also flushed out several bank voles and a water shrew. By the end of the day I had wet feet and was covered in mud – very satisfying!

Water vole heading for cover
Water vole in the reserve (2013)


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