In November 2010, York Council applied to DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and gained acceptance for a number of the strays and Local Nature Reserves in York, including Hob Moor, onto an Environmental Stewardship Scheme.
The scheme is initially for 10 years and is the most significant development for Hob Moor since it became a Local Nature Reserve in 2003. It will be managed by the Council but Friends of Hob Moor have been involved in consultations so far and will continue to work with the Council as the scheme is implemented.
The following notes have been prepared by Jenny Cairns, the Council Ranger responsible for Hob Moor, to help explain the scheme and its impact on Hob Moor.
What is this scheme?
This scheme pays land managers to manage the land in a certain way for the enhancement or maintenance of existing landscape features, habitats and historical features.
Will it affect how I use the moor?
For the majority of users there will be no change. The football pitches had to be removed to qualify for the grant and this was done at the end of 2010. Pedestrian access will be maintained throughout the moor.
Will the moor still be grazed by Cattle?
The main part of the Moor will continue to be seasonally grazed by cattle but this will be more closely monitored to improve the quality of the grassland and reduce the thistle problem. North Lane Field will be managed as a hay meadow. This means the cows will be excluded from this area until a hay crop has been removed in August when the cows will be allowed in this area.
What changes will I see?
The priority work for 2011 is to do the work to allow us to exclude the cows from North Lane Field. This involves two new footbridges being put across the ditch between the Moor and North Lane Field to allow the existing gate to be kept closed and the cows out whilst maintaining pedestrian access. A new water trough will also be installed on the main part of the Moor.
There is also funding provided to tidy up, replace or replant the hedge lines surrounding the Moor, put in new fences and to provide interpretation to tell people about the varied history and wildlife of the area. Wildflowers will be planted throughout the moor to increase the cover of species already present. This work will take place over the first three years of the scheme.
What is the long term aim?
To improve the quality of the grasslands. This involves reducing the numbers of thistles and increasing the wildflower cover. To establish and maintain a continuous hedge and to provide more information about the moor’s history and wildlife.
Stewardship Agreement on Hob Moor update: Spring 2013
As part of the Stewardship Agreement there are capital works that must be completed within 3 years of entering the scheme. This must be completed by the end of 2013. The outstanding work is
- A new footbridge is to go in between the triangle and the main moor to allow the hay crop to be removed easily.
- There is still some hedging work to complete to try and establish a continuous hedge around the moor. Once this has been done the remainder of the fencing will be replaced.
- A new wildflower meadow will be created on Little Hob Moor. This work has been delayed as Northern Electric are replacing cables in this area. When they have completed the work the ground will be sown with wildflower seed mix and it will then be managed as a wildflower meadow.
After the end of 2013 when the capital works programme is finished, the remaining seven years of the agreement will see the moor managed by cattle grazing. North Lane field and part of Little Hob Moor will be managed as wildflower meadows and the hedges will be cut every two or three years
If you have any questions or comments regarding these plans Jenny can be contacted on 07833 436832 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More detailed information on the Higher Level Environmental Stewardship applied for can be found on DEFRA’s website here.