Hagge Woods Trust Eco Explorers

We are delighted to have received a grant of £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project which will inspire young people to engage with their natural heritage.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project is being launched this spring at our Three Hagges Wood-Meadow which is situated between York and Selby.

We will be working with filmmaker and ex University of York biologist Nicholas Atherton and founder of Project: WILD C.I.C. to build a project that encourages young people to explore and record our native wildlife.

Nick, a passionate environmentalist will be delivering talks in local schools and leading a series of workshops at Three Hagges Wood-Meadow for primary and secondary age children, as well as a “How to Film Wildlife” weekend.

The workshops and filming weekend will offer young people the great benefit of exploring wildlife as well as learning from professional ecologists, with the aim of inspiring a new generation of wildlife enthusiasts.

We will be also teaming up with Girlguiding UK Abbey Division and The Scout Association Selby District to create a special “nature” badge to offer young members in the area.

Running alongside these activities will be a photography competition, “Snap Wild”, with prizes for a variety of categories including ‘Up Close and Personal’, ‘In motion’ and ‘Habitat landscape’ in two age groups: 8–11 year olds, and 12-16 year olds.  ‘Snap Wild’ is open to all young people in these age groups in the schools and organisations we visit who are interested in recording nature in their area or at Three Hagges Wood-Meadow.

This project was inspired by 13-year -old naturalist and blogger ( Zach Haynes’ report of the 2017 Yorkshire Naturalists Union Conference where he suggested filming as a route for young people to become excited about the wonders of our planet.

David Renwick, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “We’re delighted to support the Hagge Woods Trust to explore and share the wonder of the natural world with the next generation. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this project will help young people to get outdoors and discover the fantastic wildlife on their doorstep.”

The project culminates in the Hagge Woods Trust Eco-Explorers Exhibition and Prize giving for the Snap Wild Competition in Selby Abbey on Friday 28 September 2018.

The Hagge Woods Trust Eco-Explorers project is open to all schools and young people in the area and further details will be available shortly.  If you are interested please contact Emma Daniels, Project Coordinator, Hagge Woods Trust

Alison Cunningham OBE, Girl Guiding Commissioner for the Abbey Division and Nick Atherton of Project: Wild C.I.C. 


Hagge Woods Trust Financial Accounts 

The financial accounts for Hagge Woods Trust for year ending 2017 are now available to download


Winter Newsletter 2017

Read all about our achievements in 2017 here


Volunteer Programme 2017

Read update from volunteer coordinator, Dr Kat Wotherspoon on our 2017 volunteer programme.


BBC Wildlife Magazine

September 2017 BBC Wildlife Magazine features an article written by Amy Jane Beer, Ecologist and Writer about Three Hagges Wood-Meadow.  Photos by Laurie Campbell.  You can purchase your copy at newsagents or you can preview the issue here


Filming wildlife at Three Hagges Wood-Meadow

Nick Atherton from Wild Studios Project Wild has produced a guide to filming wildlife at Three Hagges Wood-Meadow.  Nick is a filmmaker who studied Biology at University of York.  Nick’s guide is for enthusiast who are looking to film wildlife in a setting similar to Three Hagges Wood-Meadow.  The guide is structured into six parts basics, equipment, techniques, the wood-meadow, filming wildlife and post production.  You can download Nick’s guide by clicking on the title Filming Wildlife at Three Hagges Wood-Meadow   You can also see Nick’s film that he produced for us in 2016 by clicking here


Great Spotting!

Raven aged 8 recently spotted this four leaf clovers in Three Hagges Wood-Meadow.

It is claimed that there are approximately 10,000 three-leaf clovers for every four-leaf clovers, however an actual survey of over 5 million clovers found it to be closer to be closer to 1 in 5000.


Making our Wood-Meadow more Accessible

We now have a golf style buggy available to enable those with limited mobility to explore Three Hagges Wood-Meadow.  If you would like to book our buggy please contact our Project Coordinator by emailing or telephone 07517 809222.  Please try and give 48 hours notice.


New blog: ‘Seeing, not just looking’

Written by Pat Bone Butterfly Recorder and Photographer

Jim’s love of wildlife began at an early age, going walks with his dad, looking for bird nests, not to pillage but to observe.

During our early years together, scales covered my eyes, but gradually I began to share his interest, primarily in birds. Our birding travels were eroded by Silky Girl Number One who refused to travel long distances by car and of course we refused to leave dogs alone for hours on end. We needed to travel less.

Then we found butterflies. In fact, we saw a Brown Argus on Walmgate Stray, York, in 2003, the first recorded in York for 200 years, rapidly followed by several other local sites. We hosted Butterfly Walks at York Cemetery. Delighted in the Painted Lady irruption of 1996. We counted and recorded for Butterfly Conservation Yorkshire. We planted our tiny garden for insects. No chemicals for us, soapy water will do the job.

And then it happened.

7.30 pm, August 15th, 2005, the evening which changed my life and damaged our bank balance. We’d gone to Wheatlands, a privately owned, open to the public, nature reserve near York.

We had a camera, used only on full automatic. Neither of us knew how to work the wretched thing, it was all a mysterious mystery.

Then Joy showed me an image, still within her camera. It looked like a blade of grass – until she gradually expanded it, revealing masses of insect eggs.

Fascinated, I learned to use the camera’s macro settings. The world of the tiny opened up to me. I began to SEE where previously I had only LOOKED. Things I hadn’t noticed before leapt out and screamed for attention. Two months later, on October 14th 2005, I took this photo of a bee feeding on a bramble blossom. I hadn’t realised how exquisitely beautiful a bee’s face is, how complex, the textures, shapes and colours.

Then there was the fly blowing a bubble. Why? How did he do it? Do ALL flies do this? What about other insects? And just exactly which fly, wasp, bee, hoverfly have I captured on camera? Things to learn, books to buy. Over the years, many subjects have claimed my attention & interest, none have snared me in quite the same way as insect photography, so deeply. Most have been passing fads. This is serious.

I didn’t understand any of the twiddly bits. My “technique” was point, click, hope, view, delete – sometimes it even worked. But I had fun, great fun.

Someone once told me macro is the easiest form of photography. That’s not really true, but what a wonderful world is revealed when you try and even more when you manage to get it right.

Joy had no idea what she was starting that evening, and neither did Jim & I.

Now, several cameras, lenses, books, hours of reading, experimenting, failed attempts to move away from the tiny world later, I have a greater knowledge base, both of photography and insects. I remain frustrated that my images are not as good as I want them to be, frustrated that sometimes my camera can’t/won’t/doesn’t capture what I want it to. But still my interest prevails, my desire to learn more, to understand why, how, what, continues to grow. And now, nearly 12 years later, I realise that the more I learn, the less I know, but… I AM HOOKED

This was the beginning of my photographic journey and the growth of my great fondness for the insects we take for granted or abhor or try to annihilate with our sprays and toxins. They may be small, but they are essential to our existence and incredibly beautiful and complex.

Why didn’t I learn all this when I had world enough and time?

Photo by Pat Bone. Taken on Olympus Digital Camera





Recognising wood-meadows and pastures in Britian and Europe, and assessing their value: Wood-Meadows & Wood-Pastures Conference 23-24 May 2017 Sheffield Hallam University

Woodland ecologist and keynote speaker Professor George Peterken OBE, having studied woodland and meadow across Europe, observes, “Once one has seen surviving wood-meadows in their Baltic homelands, one immediately recognises that we do have related vegetation in Britain”.1 Peterken sees similarities in traditional meadows surrounded by spreading hedges and boundary trees, ancient coppices with grassy rides that have in the past been mown, the herb-rich grasslands of traditional orchards mown for hay, and even churchyards.

The blurring of the difference between the plants of woodland and grassland, characteristic of Estonian wood-meadows, is also found in Britain. Many species, such as bluebell, wood anemone and oxlip, commonly cross the boundary between the two. What’s more, such habitat can be highly biodiverse:  Laelatu in Estonia claims a European record with up to 76 vascular plant species recorded in one square metre.

How does wood-meadow in the UK score in terms of biodiversity? Assessing the quality of a site has been one of the challenges facing the government’s strategy to put a figure on the nation’s natural capital and the benefits the natural environment provides. Dr Jon Webb, Senior Invertebrate Ecologist at Natural England, will be demonstrating the Pantheon System project, developed by Natural England and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, to assign quality to sites;  he will live demo the system analysing entomological and botanical data from Hagge Woods Trust’s Three Hagges Wood-Meadow site, and see how wood-meadow scores.

Speakers are drawn from a range of disciplines covering ecology, horticulture, farming and forestry:  Fergus Garrett, keeper and developer of Christopher Lloyd’s legacy, discusses the creation of wood-meadow at Great Dixter in Kent; Professor Chris Baines, pioneer of gardening for wildlife and environmental adviser to industry and government, shares his long experience of creating and managing meadows2; Professor Jim McAdam OBE, Head of Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute’s Crops, Grassland and Ecology Branch, discusses Silvopastoral  Agroforestry; Rosalind Forbes Adam and Lin Hawthorne of Hagge Woods Trust tell their story of establishing wood-meadow as a means to restore biodiversity and redress losses in coppiced woodland, flower-rich grassland and hedgerow.

Professor Ian Rotherham3, chair & organiser of the conference, believes the topics are particularly pertinent in helping shape ideas and policy about wilding, or re-wilding, the British countryside, and the future of UK agri-environment schemes in the wake of Brexit 4.  Organised by SYBRG / The UK-econet, the conference is supported and sponsored by the Forest Ecology Special Interest Group and the Peatlands Special Interest Group of the British Ecological Society, and also supported by the Ancient Tree Forum, the Woodland Trust and others.  Ian would like to see a wood-meadow or wood-pasture in every parish, and the aspiration of a wilder Britain from the inner-city window box, to the highest mountain-top!

For further information & bookings please see: or email

And background information:

Draft conference programme see: ]

Or contact:

Christine Handley: conference manager 0114 2724227

Ian Rotherham:

Rosalind Forbes Adam:<> 07976 821903 / 01757 288381



1       George Peterken, ‘Recognising wood-meadows in Britain?’  British Wildlife Volume 28 Number 3 February 2017.  He is also the author of Meadows, British Wildlife Publishing Ltd, 2013

2       Chris Baines is the author of RHS Companion to Wildlife Gardening, Francis Lincoln 2016.  Revised edition of How to Make a Wildlife Garden.

3       At the conference there will be a launch of Ian Rotherham’s book, ‘Shadow Woods – the search for lost landscapes’ and of a major new book on European woodlands edited by Ian Rotherham, Alper Çolak and Simay Kirca, and with chapters by the late Oliver Rackham, George Peterken, Frans Vera and others.

4       The Natural Capital Committee (NCC), set up by the government in 2011, to pursue the government’s bold objective of “being the first generation to leave the natural environment of England in a better state than that in which we found it”, recently published 4th Report  in which it advises the government on its forthcoming 25 Year Environment Plan:  “The 25-Year Plan should contain an explicit focus on wildlife conservation with new wildlife areas and corridors that lead to improved conservation outcomes for species and habitats in line with the recommendations of the Lawton Report (2010)”.

This 2-day event is part of the ‘Wilder Visions’ Programme


New Trustee Appointment

Chair of Trustees, Rosalind Forbes Adam says: “We are delighted to welcome Professor David Raffaelli to our Board of Trustees.  Director of BESS (Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability) at the University of York, Dave brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the Trust, completing that of our existing six Trustees”.



Hagge Woods Trust Annual Report and Accounts for 2015/2016

Read about our aims and objectives, our achievements, our plans for the future and our financial review for 2015/2016 READ REPORT


Hagge Woods Trust Financial Accounts 

The financial accounts for Hagge Woods Trust for year ending 2016 are now available to read here


Film Project

Nick Atherton, an undergraduate filmmaker currently studying Biology at the University of York, has been funded by Santander Universities to assist the Hagge Woods Trust in recording through filming the wildlife that calls the wood meadow home. The purpose of this is to have authentic wildlife footage from the Three Hagges Wood Meadow to use in the films being produced for the project since stock footage that accurately reflects the wood-meadow’s own flora and fauna is seldom available.

The filming project and funding was set up through the University of York’s Internship Bureau, which works with local businesses to establish project-based opportunities for its students and graduates whilst providing businesses with a talented addition to their workforce. You can find out more about the Internship Bureau here: or by

Santander Universities is the keystone of Santander’s social action and enable it to maintain a stable alliance with more than 1,200 universities and research institutes all over the world. More information at

Music credit: Bensound Music –