River Foss Society keeps busy with a packed calendar of walks, visits, litter picks and canal boat trips. There’s more about these in our newsletter, but these photos give an idea of the variety of things we do.
The 2017 walking season started on 7 March at the Blue Bridge, the official end of the River Foss as it joins the Ouse. Thirteen walkers set on a beautiful sunny day to walk to Haxby, braving thick slippery mud at some points on the footpath. A lovely day nevertheless!
A small group visited the Pickering Flood Alleviation Project on 4 May. There’s more about this in News, but we want to share a few of the photos taken that day.
Litter Picking for 2017 started on 29 April with 13 RFS members turning out for a morning of useful work on the river. Five groups plus one on the CYC boat gathered huge amounts of litter from the banks and river. Well done all!
On 1 June, ten members enjoyed a visit to Launds Farm on the Foss at Crayke on a glorious morning. Local landowner Peter Cliff led us on a short walk to the farm where we were met the Dawson family, who farm here. They gave us a wonderful tour, explaining all the aspects of mixed farming. A wonderful day!
The Tees Barrage stands out as an excellent example of intelligent water control on a river that suffered many problems in the past. Modern systems help control the tides to prevent flooding and improve the environmental profile of the river. A group travelled to the Barrage on May 16 to see this firsthand and were given an excellent tour. The next stop along the Tees was the 106 year old Transporter Bridge, now one of only 11 remaining in the world. A ‘gondola’ carrying cars and people is suspended from a superstructure across the river and is moved by cables powered by engines. All braved the glass lift and enjoyed a stroll along the walkway a mere 160 feet above the water!
Our evening walks are always very popular and on 2 May the first of this season attracted 24 walkers to a stroll around Beningborough Park. With mild sunny weather all enjoyed views of the park and the Hall with the added bonus of spring flowers and woodland.
On 21 April a group enjoyed a spring walk around the Foss canal and Blue Bridge area. This started at Skeldergate Bridge, once a lifting toll bridge which replaced an earlier ferry. The group then had a look at Blue Bridge, the Foss Barrier and made a last stop at Castle Mills Lock, the one remaining lock on the Foss.
On the evening of 24 May, 14 members were led around one of the Rowntree Walks by Bridget Morris of the Rowntree Society. We followed part of the city centre walk which plots the early history of the Rowntree family and tells how they became an enormous influence on the development of York. Fascinating!
June 8 saw RFS members enjoying a journey on ‘Wyre Lady’, an historic vessel now giving journeys on the River Don and Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation. Our 22 members saw lots of wildlife as well as many other boats and activities. Our last stop was at Sprotborough Flash SSSI guided by a local artist and nature expert.
The evening of 14 June was sunny and a group of 19 walkers met at Dunnington. This walk went through lovely country to the village of Holtby and then back to a pub meal at Dunnington.
One of the society’s concerns is the damaging presence of Himalayan Balsam, choking native species and weakening riverbanks. At our Himalayan Balsam pull on 15 June a group worked all morning to pull large amounts of this plant up.
This year’s two day full Foss Walk was on done on 23 and 24 June. Bob Jowett headed a small group starting at Easingwold this year. Walking in rainy weather the first day, the group finished the first section at Farlington. The second day’s walking was in warm dry weather and covered Farlington to the Blue Bridge, York. Many footpaths are obscured with high grass and our walkers were disappointed to find that the entire route is short of signing and waymarking.
Walk 4 was completed by four walkers on 7 July in warm sunny weather. This was a circular walk starting at Coxwold. Passing through Husthwaite, and a break on the green, the group continued back into Coxwold, and lunch at the tearooms.
Sixteen members had a unique experience on 15 July visiting the Standedge Tunnel, the nation’s longest canal tunnel at 3.25 miles situated on the boundary between west Yorkshire and the Manchester conurbation. Boats were once ‘legged’ through the length of the tunnel, but today’s passengers sit comfortably. The environment remains cold – 5° C – with occasional gushes of cold water in places. A very different experience!
Our summer litter pick was quite literally a wash out! The morning of 22 July started fine, but within moments of starting it was pouring down! By the end, when the rain had stopped, eleven soaked workers had managed to fill 20 bags with litter and the poor drowned rats on the boat had collected a builder’s bag full of rubbish.
The Society’s luck with weather this summer ran out on 26 July when we met at Crayke for a guided tour around the village. Dr Michael Haslam first summarised the background of the village and the church. Some of the group had a walk around Crayke in the rain before heading to the Durham Ox for lunch.