Appleton Mill Farm

I’d been watching the weather forecast, expecting today’s work day to be called off, but it went ahead anyway. It was snowing when Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s field officer picked me up this morning for our day at Appleton Mill, near Pickering. He’d had a report that the Hebridean sheep at Jeffry Bog nature reserve were being worried by a dog. It was on our way, so we called in there first to check on them. The sheep were settled when we arrived and all seemed to be OK. We moved them onto another field, where the grazing was better for them.

Thankfully, the sheep were OK

We reached Appleton Mill farm, at about 10:30, to find a good turnout of volunteers busy planting trees to fill gaps in a hedge. The farm is the Trust’s base for the sheep and cattle that carry out conservation grazing on many of the reserves. It’s a working farm, but managed in the most wildlife friendly way. The fields are planted up with wild flower mixes that not only provide excellent cattle fodder, but are good for invertebrates too. Our job for the day was to fill in gaps in the hedges, with a mixture of native tree species.

Volunteers at work

We had our coffee break in a blizzard, sheltered behind a dry-stone wall, taking our cue from the sheep. After the coffee break, we moved on to another field and then to a third one after lunch. There were sleet and snow showers throughout the day, but with periods of bright sunshine in between.

Coffee break behind a wall

Trees with bamboo stakes and plastic tree guards


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