A pleasing turnout of volunteers responded to an appeal to ‘Help the Helleborines’ on the Cinder Track near Middlewood Lane, Fylingthorpe. The conservation task to benefit the plants, a type of uncommon orchid, had to be postponed for a week, due to the arrival of the ‘Beast from the East’, and the forecast for the revised date was not promising. However, 18 people spent two hours clearing brambles, constructing habitat piles and creating seeding areas on the slopes of the cutting, and the threatened rain didn’t appear. Local people were helped by Whitby Naturalists and National Park volunteers. Bernie McLinden, National Park Senior Coast Ranger, and Tim Burkinshaw, SBC Ecologist, were both pleased with the work achieved, and impressed with the strength of support for conserving this Cinder Track habitat.
As a result of the task, there are more areas where helleborine seedlings can grow, mature plants can thrive unimpeded by bramble and other brash, and the habitat piles will provide refuges for other wildlife. Helleborines are long lived plants, and it will be a few years before any new plants appear, but everyone should be able to enjoy better visibility of the existing plants this summer.
Many thanks to all who helped. It is hoped that this task can be a blueprint for further conservation and habitat enhancement efforts joining forces with National Park and local community volunteers along the old railway line.
Wendy English, (Whitby Naturalists – Botany Recorder) March 2018
Update June 2018
An example of one of a helleborine growing strongly in one of the areas cleared by the work party back in March (image from Twitter feed of @WhitbyNats)
You may also like to read these recent posts about the Cinder Track elsewhere on the blog: