Bracken Hall Countryside Centre is now open to the public every Saturday and Sunday from noon until 4pm. There's a great summer programme of walks organised by the Friends of Bracken Hall and a range of activities for schools, groups and individuals is provided. For more information please see the friends of Bracken Hall Website here:
How much have you got going on in your life? Room for a bit more? It's certainly a busy time of year at Bracken Hall Countryside Centre (BHCC) – and there will be lots of new things at the Centre in 2019 – we'll keep you posted.
Recent visitors will have seen that we've been doing some serious pruning in our wildlife garden. The buddleia is now down to 'knee-high' which is the rule of thumb for pruning the butterfly bush. This will promote lots of new growth on which there will be lots of flowers for the butterflies, bees and other pollinators that love our garden. It will also prevent the bush from becoming enormous with lots of bare, wood. We've also cut down some of our coppice trees. Coppicing harvests useful material (in our case, poles for weaving into dead hedges or screens or for such things as bean poles). Some trees respond well to this and the stools (i.e. the stump that is left in the ground) sends out lots of new growth which grows rapidly due to the extensive network of roots.
Another gardening decision is what crops to grow this year. Even if you don't have a garden you can grow the odd potato in a large bucket or sack. To help with this, the Friends of BHCC (FoBHCC) are holding a potato and food growing session on Sunday 17 February (12-4pm). There'll be plenty of advice on hand and a variety of organic potato tubers will be for sale. If you can't get along, some of the tubers will be available on subsequent weekends (unless we sell out!), or you can always check in the back of your cupboard – shooting potatoes should grow well enough.
February is 'Geology and Archaeology' month at BHCC. Activities in the classroom and garden will be themed around this. On Wednesday 6 February, Pennine Prospects are conducting a citizen archaeology survey of Shipley Glen. Please contact Chris Atkinson for details/to book (Chris.Atkinson@pennineprospects.co.uk). The FoBHCC's Wild Wednesday (20 February, 2-4pm) will also include activities linked to the month's theme.
Of course, we're due some bad weather at some point. At the time of writing we've got off lightly with just a dusting of snow. Our intention is to be open every Saturday and Sunday, midday to 4pm (our kettle is always warm!) but terrible weather or forecasts may cause us to close for safety reasons. Our main concern is the safety of our volunteers – snow and ice makes walking and driving hazardous – if we do need to close the Centre we'll announce this on the BTC website and BHCC Facebook page.
Some dates for your diary into March include a local history drop-in session on Sunday March 3 (12-4pm). Mike and Tish Lawson will show old photos of Baildon and Shipley Glen and share stories of bygone days. Alan Cattell will also be around – he'll have copies of his latest book for sale (all about the Victorian heyday of Shipley Glen). If you've a story or photo to share then please do come along. Then on Sunday 17 March, a drop-in session on navigation and map reading skills (including exercises for you to do) will be run by Paul Robinson and Mervyn Flecknoe of Baildon Walkers are Welcome. This runs from 1-4pm. On Friday 15 March, there's a FoBHCC guided walk to Cartwright Hall (full details next month).
As you can see, there is lots going on at BHCC. Pop along, get involved, maybe consider volunteering, and make 2019 the best year yet for the Centre. And if you've got a good idea for an event or would like your organisation to hold an event at BHCC, then please do get in touch (contact Richard on 07933 355 753 or email@example.com). We'd love to hear from you.