Weston Woods is safe!

We are simply delighted to announce the completion of the purchase of Weston Woods! Menston Area Nature Trust are now the legal owners of the woods, and will hold them in perpetuity for the benefit of nature and the community.

Huge and heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who has supported us across the community, whether with words of encouragement, with donations, or with their time; to Julia Davies of We Have The Power for the game-changing loan; and to the partners of HG Capital for a hugely generous gift of £29,000.

It isn’t too late to nab an amazing bargain in the Fundraising Auction we are running to repay the loan. It ends this Sunday, 10th December, so don’t delay! See button above, and details below.

Fundraising Auction – Donations needed!

In celebration of completion of the purchase of Weston Woods, we are holding an online Auction, to raise the money we need to repay the loan we have taken to reach the purchase price of the wood. We want EVERYONE to take part, either by donating items or promising services, or by bidding enthusiastically for the wide variety of lots available.

The Auction is now launched and will run until Sunday 10th December. Please start looking out items to donate. Remember, you can always promise a service, anything you can do from baking a cake, or doing gardening, to giving a lesson on something you are good at. And please spread the word!

November Working Party

We regret that the November working party is cancelled. However, please make a note in your diaries for the Christmas Social on Sunday December 17th. More details to follow.

Newsletter No.4

Click here to read the latest newsletter.

Weston Woods Crowdfunder is relaunched

The new crowdfunder site is now live for donations towards repaying the loan from Julia Davies for the purchase of the wood. https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/westonwoodspurchase Why not give a regular monthly donation? Or sponsor a 3x3m square? Discounts available for 4 squares so why not treat your family and friends?

MANT have joined Give as you live!

You can now help raise funds for MANT at NO COST to yourself, by joining Give as you live and choosing Menston Area Nature Trust as your charity. Then every time you shop online the shop will donate a percentage of your payment to MANT! You can either visit https://www.giveasyoulive.com/ to sign up or scan the code below.

August Working Party

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite

We collected a variety of wildflower seeds for sowing this autumn. Thanks to everyone who joined us, and are now busily sorting out the seeds for sowing in September.

Sad News: Our bid to buy Otley Road Fields has been unsuccessful

3rd July 2023: After over a month we finally heard that our bid, along with our partners Menston Parish Council and another individual, has not succeeded, so we are not able to save Otley Road fields for the community and wildlife.

A huge Thank You to everyone who donated to the crowdfunder. Please email info@mant.org.uk to let us know if you would like your donation refunded or not. If you would like a refund, please include your bank account name, sort code and account number. Alternatively you can text me all the details on 07940917331.

Any funds that are not refunded will be kept as a fund for future land purchases in or around Menston.

Sponsor a Square Scheme is launched!

You can now sponsor a 3x3m square in Weston Wood for a year, and get your own address for the square so you can visit it in person! Or get one as a gift for family or friends. For more information visit Sponsor Squares.

Become a Friend of Weston Woods

If you would like to become a member of Friends of Weston Woods (it is free to join) please sign up at Friends of Weston Woods and you will be kept up to date with any activities, events or information about wildlife and nature.

MANT General Meeting

Despite quite thick snow there were 10 hardy people who attended the General Meeting. The effort was well rewarded, with a truly inspiring talk from River Six of Wildlife Friendly Otley. Their work with the local council and the community has had amazing benefits for everyone, and wildlife. We were taking notes!

Friends of Weston Wood have saved the Wood!

Children enjoying the woods

MANT is thrilled to announce that together with our partners including Otley 2030, Wildlife Friendly Otley, Climate Action Ilkley, Addingham Environmental Group, Yorkshire Rewilding Network, Wharfedale Naturalists, Woodland Savers and Protect Earth, (the Friends of Otley East Wood) our bid to buy East Wood, also known locally as Weston Wood, has been successful. We also have to thank the wonderful philanthropist Julia Davies of We Have The Power, who has lent us a significant loan which enabled us to put in a competitive bid in a very short time.

So the hard work continues – we need to pay back the loan as soon as possible, so Julia Davies can lend it to other projects like ours, and we also have to pay 20% VAT and lawyers fees for starters, so please keep donating and spreading the word!

Please note we will get more of your donation if you use the Bank Transfer button below, than through the Crowdfunder site.

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/otley-east-wood-community-buyout

For more information see our project page for East Wood or the facebook page Friends of Otley East Wood.

MANT on BBC Look North

On Friday 10th February 2023 MANT and the other groups comprising Friends of East Wood were filmed for Look North, to publicise the fundraising.

The Cows have arrived!

Annie, Joannie and Kai in residence

Three beautiful Dexter cows are now in residence in Miss Porritt’s field – Annie (tag 29), Joannie (tag 28) and Kai (orange). They will be enjoying the lush grass for about a month before going back home to East Keswick. Many thanks to East Keswick Wildlife Trust for lending them to us for conservation grazing. These cows are organic, and their cowpats will be a fantastic source of insect life, as they won’t be full of insecticides. The cows will also disturb the soil and rough up the grass, allowing lots (we hope) of wildflowers to thrive next year.

If you notice any problems with the cows, please email us at info@mant.org.uk.

December’s “Working Party”

We enjoyed a delightful Social on Sunday 11th December with the obligatory mince pies and very drinkable mulled wine. Many thanks to Emma for hosting and for everyone who has made 2022 so memorable.

November Working Party

Some of the team with some of the Bird boxes

Much enjoyment and satisfaction was had at our Bird Box Workshop. Thanks to a fantastic industrial saw, pallets were repurposed in no time into snug bird boxes, complete with hinged roofs. One box was even painted in Ukrainian style! For more pictures of the event, click here.

MANT’s first AGM

Red mushrooms growing in the wild

After an eventful and successful first year, MANT held its first AGM on Tuesday 13th September 2022 at St John’s Parish Rooms, Menston. We were able to celebrate and enjoy MANT’s first year with wine and great company. Andrew Kelly gave a fascinating talk about the trials and tribulations of being a Bird Recorder.

Annual Report published

Our first Annual Report, up to the end of March 2022, is now available. Click here to read a copy.

October Working Party

Thanks to everyone who helped sow the wildflower seeds in pots at the October working party. The seeds had been collected locally in August and carefully separated ready for sowing. These pots are now being tended in various local gardens, being left outside to germinate. They will be potted on next year before planting them out in 2024.

August Working Party

On Sunday 14th August we collected wildflower seeds to grow on to plant out in Miss Porritt’s field. Inspite of the extreme heat, 10 volunteers turned out in the blazing sun (how often do you write that in Yorkshire?). Quantites of Yellow Rattle were gathered, and several other vital wildflowers. Thanks to everyone who came, and has since been cleaning and separating the seeds!

Working Party – Balsam Bashing

Thank you to all the hard work the volunteers put in on a hot afternoon to uproot some of this invasive plant. A large dent was made in the Himalayan Balsam infestation in High Royds, and the work was pleasantly therapeutic as well.

Himalayan Balsam Photo Francesca Bridgewater

Miss Porritt’s Jubilee Picnic

Residents enjoyed a lovely afternoon exploring Miss Porritt’s field. Many had picnics, and the children loved running around and getting lost in the tall grass. This is certainly something that will be repeated, so people can enjoy the peace that being in nature can bring.

Fantastic Wild Gardens Open Day

Over 80 people came to our Open Day and enjoyed strolling round our five wild gardens. Many cakes were munched while plenty of cross-fertilisation of ideas occurred.

Successful Working Party

The fruits of our labours

Old fencing beaten into submission by our willing volunteers. Many thanks to all who came to help. Read more on our Events page.

MANT has first land to manage

STOP PRESS! MANT is going to take over the management of Miss Porritt’s field in Menston! The field in the heart of the village was left to the community by the benefactor, Miss Porritt, in 1996, with the proviso is should never be developed.

In view of the current biodiversity crisis the trustees of the field recognise that it would be beneficial to encourage more diversity and support more wildlife in the centre of the village. MANT will be working with other village groups to plant wildflowers and undertake regular surveys to monitor plants and animals present, as part of their educational purpose as a charity.

For more details see Miss Porritt’s Field under the Projects pages.

Miss Porritt’s Field in central Menston

Wildlife Gardening Starter Kit

The People’s Trust for Endangered Species website has a wealth of information on wildlife and how to help around the world. They are currently giving away wildlife gardening starter kits for a small donation – follow this link for more details: https://ptes.org/my-garden/

MANT’s first General Meeting

The first General Meeting for Menston Area Nature Trust was held on Thursday 3rd February at 7:30pm, via Zoom due to COVID. It was great to meet some supporters, and some excellent ideas were proposed for our first year’s work. Click here to read the minutes.

Hedgehog Updates

Hedgehog Street have published their results for 2021 – see our Hedgehog page for more information.

MANT’s first Newsletter

Click on the image below to see the entire newsletter.

Poem for Nature

With thanks to Ella Sanderson, who has written this specially for MANT!

MANT is now OFFICIALLY Launched!

Menston Area Nature Trust launched officially at the Menston Green Festival on Saturday 18th September 2021. Lots of people were interested in the Hedgehog starter packs and the Beetle Bucket Kits, while the vegan cakes were a big draw!