St Nicks

Centre for nature and green living

20 Mar

Discover York Becks

Wed 20 Mar 2019 at 9:30 am - 1:00 pm

St Nicks Environment Centre, Rawdon Avenue, York, YO10 3ST

Tang Hall Beck by Lewis Outing
Tang Hall Beck by Lewis Outing

Meet at St Nicks Environment Centre to join our Natural Habitats Team for an informative walk looking at the ongoing management and future potential opportunities for improving the wildlife value of Tang Hall and Osbaldwick Becks catchment. This conservation work also contributes to York flood mitigation efforts.

You are invited to find out more about the charity’s work in this area, and to share your comments and thoughts about the future management of the catchment over a light lunch and refreshments.

Please see below for the walk itinerary and more background information. If interested, please book a place via Eventbrite to help us cater for the event and ensure safety.

Free entry, donations welcome. Booking recommended via Eventbrite.

York Becks Project

For several years now St Nicks has been working beyond its boundaries to help improve the Tang Hall and Osbaldwick Becks running through the nature reserve. Many of the green spaces along the becks are important refuges for wildlife and form the vital corridors for species to move between the city and the wider countryside. St Nicks has been working with the local community to assess the state of the habitats and the species found within them in order to deliver the most appropriate management with our ever expanding volunteer groups. Various parts of the project have previously been funded by York Flood Appeal Fund managed by Two Ridings Community Foundation, 2016-17 Lord Mayor’s fundraising efforts, Postcode Local Trust, TCV and People’s Health Trust through their Local People project, and Heworth Ward. There is still plenty more to do and we’re looking for new funding sources to help us deliver it.

Tang Hall Beck flooded. Inset.. the beck under normal conditions. Photos by Lewis Outing.

Tang Hall Beck flooded. Inset – the beck under normal conditions. Photos by Lewis Outing.

In December 2015 York suffered from severe river flooding and the becks spilled over their banks too. As demonstrated at St Nicks, green spaces help mitigate flooding by ‘slowing the flow’ and providing flood water storage. The most effective way of doing so is to focus on upstream rather than impact areas so, as part of the Dales to Vales Rivers Network, we have been working with partners including the River Foss Society, Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust, the Environment Agency and City of York Council to implement a more catchment based approach to river management.

Find out more as we walk from the Environment Centre along this route:

  • Beginning at St Nicks at Osbaldwick Beck we will look at the importance of these water courses for wildlife and what we are doing to improve their potential.
  • In Hull Road Park you will find out about an exciting current project aiming to transform this heavily modified stretch of beck into a more visually appealing and biodiverse habitat.
  • At Osbaldwick Village we will keep an eye out for a thriving water vole population as the beck turns from more urban to countryside in its character.
  • At Derwenthorpe we’ll look at a range of man-made wetland features and the remains of an important wet grassland site by Metcalf Lane. From here we will cross through residential areas to reach the upstream urban end of Tang Beck.
  • At Hemplands, a long green stretch with a good range of mature beck side habitats, we will keep an eye out for the flash of a kingfisher and ever increasing signs of otter.
  • In Heworth Holme we can see a project which is further on in its development. This important wet grassland site stores large amounts of water and we have been working with local volunteers to increase this storage further while also improving the habitat.
  • In the mature woodland at Wolfe Avenue we’ll see the work to develop more of a woodland understory to support a greater diversity of wildlife.
  • Then we’ll head back to St Nicks to look at the heavily straightened stretch of Tang Hall Beck found beside the Foss Islands Cycle path managed by Sustrans. While there is massive potential to improve this area, we first need to control the spread of and ideally eradicate the highly invasive, non-native species Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed.
  • From where the two becks converge under St Nicks, we will walk back to the Environment Centre for lunch. On the way we’ll be following the path of the culvert and ask whether the potential positive impact of deculverting would outweigh the negative impact on the existing habitat.
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Online bookings are not available for this event.