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What we are working
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WWe love the park, and we are dedicated to nurturing it so it remains the special place that it was intended by Winifred Jacob Smith MBE. We are all volunteers and it is a pleasure to work hard together for the benefit of such an important community gem.

Part of this work includes delivering ongoing maintenance work in partnership with Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) and long-term and one-off projects, which support the park’s wildlife, whilst enhancing everyone’s enjoyment of a magical, ancient green space.

Donate to help fund our work…

As a Friends Group, we are incredibly lucky to be supported by a very proactive HBC Countryside Ranger. However, due to the current financial climate leading to park and recreation budget cuts across local councils - sourcing grants and appealing to people like you for kind donations are often our only hope to raise the money we need to deliver projects like the ones described in this section. As a constituted community group, we also incur a number of annual running costs for example: covering public liability insurance for organising volunteer events, and website hosting and general administration fees. If you would like to make a donation then you can do so at the bottom of this page. Thank you so much.

Volunteer and make a difference…

Giving your time to volunteer with us, no matter how much or how often you can spare it, is very precious and really does make a huge difference to the park. To enquire about our volunteer opportunities, please get in touch here. Look forward to hearing from you.

JSP strapline only text

In the park’s top field, (highlighted on the map) we are working to encourage the spread of native wildflowers (such as Common Orchids, Yellow Rattle and Lady’s Smock), by ensuring hay is cut and taken away from the field to rot.

The reason why it is essential to cut the hay and remove it from the field is that, when it decomposes, the hay releases nutrients into the soil and the wildflowers do not thrive in such nutrient-rich conditions. Having native wildflowers in the park not only increases everyone’s enjoyment of such a beautiful green space but most importantly, these flowers are an essential source of nectar and pollen to feed insects such as bees, moths and butterflies.

In recent years farmers have cut the hay in the park, working in partnership with Harrogate Borough Council, and it has been baled and removed from the site in order to feed the farmer’s livestock. Farmers can only commit to cutting the hay when they are in a position to use the crop. This arrangement of cutting when demand requires it for the farmer does not, as can be imagined, work for a wildflower meadow. Instead, a definite timeframe of cuts is required to promote the successful conditions required.

wildflower map

The top field, which has the richest population of wildflowers in the park, was not cut by the farmer at the end of summer 2017 like the rest of the park because the hay was not of good enough quality to feed to livestock. So, understandably, the farmer did not want to take the hay from the top field. The Friends of Jacob Smith Park committee and HBC Countryside Ranger, Sam Walker, were naturally disappointed to find the top field in this situation, and took the only option available to them to allow a small portion of the hay in the field to be cut, raked and put in a pile away from the field to rot down. To achieve this result, Ranger Sam cut the hay with a mower and a team of volunteers met on a Sunday morning to rake and remove.

Take the challenge - have you got what it rakes?

In 2018, to give the wildflowers the best possible chance of spreading, a much larger area of the top field is going to be tackled in this way. The Friends of Jacob Smith Park committee is challenging individuals, families, groups and businesses to ‘adopt’ a piece of the top field and make it their mission to show they have what it ‘rakes’ to help make a wildflower meadow, by coming along to organised park events to rake the hay and remove it. This will make such a massive difference to the park and its wildlife.

For more information on how to get involved, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

So what are you waiting for – hay?!

 

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