The Latest News, Photos and Movies from the BCV

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Norman the Newt's News

MINUTES: Minutes of our October indoor meeting.

DECEMBER: This Month's Old News : Hedge laying 2001 click HERE

UPDATED: 03/12/18: Task Gallery, Walks Gallery 26/09/18: Wildfest 2018 Gallery

NEW - 3rd December - Christmas Loder Land
There have been a sightings of the lesser spotted John Loder across Manchester as he flits from tree to tree searching for a new perch. What is he up to? Click HERE to find out.

15th October - Luna in the Sky With Diamonds

Some sad news, Luna the ferret unexpectedly passed away on Saturday. Luna's first appearance was in May 2017 at the BCV dry stone walling competition, and later that month at the Woodland Trust Bioblitz. Luna replaced the late Ozzy as the group's resident show stealer and will be greatly missed by all who knew her, our condolences go out to Clayton at this sad time.

25th September - Wildfest 2018

Nature loves conservationists and to prove it the sun shone on our first ever Wildfest on Sunday 23rd September 2018 at Moses Gate Country Park. Wildfest was dreamt up by BCV Chairman/Co-ordinator Rick Parker to celebrate Bolton's wildlife and the work that has been done by Bolton Conservation Volunteers, the Gravel Pits Action Group and their volunteers over the years. Work on the event began in June when the idea was first discussed at our indoor meeting at The Sweet Green Tavern, over a few short months, and with Tesco grant funding, it developed from a rough sketch to a fully formed grand design.

The event was opened by our honoured guest Kath Martin who has been a supporter of BCV's activities since the group's early days in the and 1970's '80s when her son Philip was a member. Kath gave a moving speech and then cut our official ribbon and launched the day and another piece of BCV history.

The day's activities included dog obedience training, bird watching, pond dipping, hurdle making, den building, and leafy crown making. For each activity visitors got a sticker to stick on a map of the site and when they have a full set they can claim a cup of popcorn and a handful of pancakes.

When we began this journey we had no idea where it would lead, but the comments from visitors on the day and the extensive write up in the Bolton News marks Wildfest as being the most stunningly successful project we have ever conceived. Thanks to everyone involved for making it a day to remember. Photos can be found on the Wildfest Gallery.

12th August - Making A Difference

"After two members of the public found out that Rick Parker and the Bolton Conservation Volunteers have been working in and around Rivington, Bolton, for 22 years they decided to make a donation of £200 as a contribution towards their long term efforts."

These words taken from a letter sent to Rick by Kath Martin and her son Phillip in appreciation of all of the work BCV has done around Bolton over the years. Kath and Phillip have been following the group's activities for many years and even invited Rick to be guest of honour at Philip's birthday party.

BCV would like to thank Kath and Phillip for their generous donation which we are putting towards our Moses Gate project. In appreciation Rick has asked Kath to open our up coming Wildfest even at Moses Gate Country Park in September. A big thank you to Kath and Phillip from all BCV's volunteers. 

19th July - Rock and Roll Heroes

Our annual dry stone walling competiton was held at Entwistle Reservoir this year as our usual walling spot was both inaccessible due to the Winter Hill fire and also a bit rubbish now we've done all the best

bits. Thos year four teams of two competed and half of the them won.

So, who did indeed win our Game of Stones? Who rocked and who rolled? Well in second place, and winning the Rocky Sandal of Wayoh, was Tom "The Bruce" Bruce and Evelyn "The Edge" Egan. In first place, winning the Great Stone Welly of Entwistle, was Ben "Rock God" Barratt and Jane "When Will I be Famous" Arkwright.
Congratulations to all. Photos by Colin "Phake Fotos" Mather are on the Competition Page.

6th June - Willow the Wisp

A rare photo of a rare bird. The willow tit at Doffcocker Lodge has not only laid an egg but the chick has hatched and is ready to fledge. Willow tits have been declining since the 1970s with 90% loss alone in the last 15 years, mostly due to habitat loss; it is estimated that there are only 3400 pairs in the country. These tiny birds make their nests in standing dead wood which itself is declining. There are number of projects being run by various arms of the Wildlife Trust and RSPB, one of those being by Mark Champion at the Wigan Flashes where he has had some success with reviving the bird's fortunes. Thanks to Paul Thompson for the photo above. A photo of the adult bird can be found on the wildlife page.

  12th May - Terned Out Nice Again

Earlier this year we repaired and restored one of the 3 terns raft at Doffcocker Lodge LNR in preparation for the return of the common terns. The good news is that the terns are back in numbers (13 so far), the bad news is they have all chosen to nest on the old rafts and not the refurbished one. The 'new' raft had been repaired to stop chicks falling off them and being lost. Such are the vagaries of conservation.Hopefully this won't stop them breeding and we'll soon hear the flapping of tiny wings.

11th April - Nice Day for a... Green Wedding

As if planting thousands of trees for the Woodland Trust's Northern Forest project on the last task wasn't enough Elaine and Mick announced their engagement (with a bit of prodding from Jane.) Mick proposed on a plane flight, he asked the pilot if it was ok to make the announcement on the loudspeaker, the pilot, relieved that he wasn't being forced to divert the plane to Cuba, said yes, and so did Elaine. Congratulations to the happy couple-to-be, we hope the wedding will include a 21 lopper salute and a dozen newt bridesmaids. Best wishes from BCV.

18th March - Hedge to Hedge

Following on from the success of last months Hollins Vale Hedge Laying Competition our own Dr John Leather Memorial Hedge Laying Competition returned for its 15th bout. This year the competition, held in memory of Dr John Leather, was held at Anglezarke Reservoir. The winners of the silver bill hook were Ben Barratt and Jeff Griffiths, second place went to Neil Birtles and Paul Thompson. Photos can be found on the Competition Gallery. Well done teams.


12th February- Jane's World

BCV's Social Officer and the Wildlife Trusts Most Inspirational Volunteer Jane Arkwright is wearing another hat this week to go with her trademark pink one. Inspired by a new piece of research into what makes people happy (the report concluded that being outside was the answer), the Trust asked Jane to be the subject of an interview for BBC Breakfast. In the report Jane explains what volunteering in the great outdoors means to her and how it benefits wellbeing. The report was broadcast on Tuesday, but if you missed it follow the link HERE. Most excellent.

To learn more about the research project visit

EXTRA EXTRA, Jane's TV appearance got special attention in the new issue of Lapwing, the Wildlife Trusts magazine with an entire article devoted to her appearance on BBC Breakfast and it's impact on volunteering. Soon the whole world will know her name.

 31st January - Over Hedge and Across the Vale

This year we have not one but two hedge laying competitions. The official BCV competition, held in memory of the late Dr John Leather, the BCV's hedging guru will be held at Anglezarke on 11th March, but we have another fledgling about to leave the nest.

Our last two competitions were held at Hollins Vale LNR, Bury and hosted by The Hollins Vale Conservation Group and Bury Council, with sponsorship from Park Royal Stone. They were so impressed by what hedge laying has to offer that they asked BCV to help them set up their own competition, that competition is now ready to roll on 18th February 2018 and all are welcome to compete.

The idea of our original comp was to keep John Leather's memory alive by spreading the word of hedge laying to other groups, I'm sure Dr. John would be very pleased with this his legacy.

UPDATE - The competition was a total success and was well attended by both the Bury group and BCV, with our own Andrew Brownlow being one of the members of the winning team.

19th January - Keeping it in the Family
BCV has had another pat on the back, this time from the Mayor of Bolton, Councillor Robert Hayes. At a ceremony at the Middlebrook Stadium BCV were presented with a certificate for its Community Empowerment Work. To save you squinting at the photo the cert says "The certificate is awarded to Bolton Conservation Volunteers in recognition of their contribution which is making a difference to the Bolton Family."
Well done Caroline for doing all the background work that got us involved in this important project.