Yet again COVID-19 restrictions mean we all still find ourselves largely confined to home and hopefully all of you are remaining well. Our planned quarterly meeting was once again postponed and a “virtual meeting” was the best we could manage. Despite all this we have continued to progress what we can on the Carrs and all our officers have kept up with their duties.
Everyone, at home.
Minutes from last meeting
Sent out to you all. Can be viewed here.
Treasurer’s report; Michelle Inwood
GCCG Treasurer’s report for June 2020
(no meeting due to COVID-19)
(1 Mar – 7 June 2020)
1 March 2020 balance £ 1564.53
7 June 2020 balance £ 2226.55
Memberships (Standing orders) 95.00
Donations/memberships (cash) 192.00
Stockport Local Fund (SMBC) 499.00
Shed clearance donation 50.00
Room hire 15.00 (from Dec meeting)
Pet shop 29.98
Fat balls 8.00
Duck food 30.00
Wag tails (duck food) 24.00
If you have kindly made a donation or become a member and paid by cheque, these will not be paid into the bank during lockdown.
If you wish to make a donation or pay for your membership, if possible, please pay by cash, complete a standing order or use online banking. You can download a standing order mandate here.
Thanks once again to Michelle or keeping such good records, it’s very re-assuring to have this support.
Secretary/Membership Report; Pete Phethean
Currently we have 104 members.
34 of them have already been renewed during 2020 (January to end of May) and therefore their subscription fee will not be due again until next year. 49 memberships are due to be renewed between the beginning of June and the end of December 2020 and are therefore in subscription.
21 existing members are late with their subscription, possibly because of the ongoing restrictions on social contact. Gentle reminders and Standing Order forms will be emailed out to help things along.
58 of the memberships are now family memberships with a £7.50 subscription fee.
46 of the memberships are currently single memberships with a £5 subscription fee.
This marks a significant shift towards family membership rather than single.
The total figure of 104 again includes several new members who have joined GCCG in the last three months, and lapsed members who have re-joined. A warm welcome to all.
The trend in membership numbers is therefore still upwards!
Thanks are due to Stockport Council for a grant of £499 to fund joint activity between Gatley Carrs and local organisations such as schools, scouts etc, which was paid into our account in March. Projects are currently on hold due to lockdown after Clare Phethean had begun to liaise with schools in early March supported by Peter Owen and myself.
Despite battling some troublesome health issues Pete has once again kept his finger on the pulse and actioned any administration requirements that have come his way.
Site upkeep; Alan Butler
Since my last report I’m pleased to say I feel much improved after my operation in early March, I would like to thank everyone in the group also many people on my travels round the Carrs for their good wishes.
The Carrs has been a haven for hundreds of people during lockdown and given people endless pleasure whilst exercising, with the long dry spell this has resulted in the pathways being rather threadbare and litter has been a problem after many family picnics, but we managed by putting extra bags on the litter bins as the refuse collectors were on reduced hours and didn’t work at weekends.
The “No Fishing Sign” has been reinstated thanks to Jim testing his new waders out (pleased to say with no leakage) Jim in the Pond installing a new "No Fishing" sign and also removing a Traffic Cone out of the stream.
I’ve also replaced 3 old feeding Tables the new ones edged with aluminium to discourage the Rats from chewing the edges, I also made another suspended feeder in addition to the current one that proved a great success with the Long-Tailed tits.
We now have 5 ground feeding tables and 2 suspended feeding stations all ready for the winter feed.
I’m in the process of arranging a Balsam Bash for Saturday 18 th July at 10-30 am for a couple of hours (early indications show a good interest of helpers) this is probably the most important task of the year to help keep this invasive weed at bay.
We still need to cut back more Willows round the pond area, I will arrange this another time, and need to look at shoring up the edge of the pond which is eroding away where the ducks are fed.
The netting on the Dipping Pond boardwalk has been kicked up with the many visitors looking at nesting Geese, I’ll have to put out a cry for help on this one as sadly my knees aren’t up to this kneeling task now.
The Carrs is amazing and looks as good ever, and with the WFM now being sorted out the future looks very good indeed.
PS. Did you know - The Cranesbill (hardy perennial) plant that is so prolific at this time of the year all over the Carr's Nature Reserve started off with the Council planting about 24plugs at either end of the reserve over 25 years ago - isn't nature brilliant - and to think this was the local refuse tip
Other news ref the site
I received the following e-mail from Chris Mullins (one of our members)
Hope you’re well and enjoying this fabulous weather. I was wondering what the reaction would be if I offered to conduct a survey of the meadow? I’d like to divide the meadow into a number of randomly selected quadrats (metre squares), take soil samples, identify existing grasses and flowers etc. The initial aim would be to seed the quadrats in the autumn with different types of flower and see what comes up next year.
Ideally, a number of the quadrats would contain yellow rattle and some of its relatives in an attempt to see whether they can successfully supress the grasses and promote floral diversity. Other quadrats could be designated for the primary school children, who can plant the seeds in September, monitor their development and, in the spring/early summer, enjoy the flowers of their labour?
I welcomed this offer and here is his follow up reply and the research has already started.
Thank you for the email.
To start with I can do the soil sampling: I propose to take five samples from the meadow. Each sample ‘pit’ will be 30cm x 30cm and one metre deep. I’ll take photographs of the soil layers and note any changes in the colour, texture and stoniness of the layers; taking particular note of the humus layer. In addition, and I’ll examine the root depth and density of the plants. Naturally enough the level of soil acidity will need to be determined. If I can ascertain the quantities present of important plant nutrients such as phosphate, potassium and magnesium, plus the amounts of nitrogen and sulphur, all well and good.
The next stage will be to perform a survey of the types of grasses and wild flowers currently growing on the site.
The third part of the survey will identify and record the insects, reptiles and mammals in the meadow.
That’s about it for now. I’ll dig the soil pits tomorrow and have them completed before the rain sets in on Wednesday afternoon.
And on Facebook Chris posted;
This afternoon, I've just spent two hours in a state of complete contentment on Gatley Carrs, surveying a small part of the wild flower meadow and chatting to the people passing by.
Within five minutes of arriving I spotted three different species of bumble bee: the Tree Bumble Bee (Bombus hypnorum); the white tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum) and the Red-tailed bumble bee (Bombus lapidarius). Apparently bumble bees make a bee-line (sorry) for yellow or purple flowers and they were joyously burying themselves in the Yellow-rattle, Vetch, Thistle and Meadow Crane's-bill.
In fact I intend to conduct a complete survey of the meadow with a view to restoring it's vitality over the next 12 months.
Already, I've had one offer of help. If anyone else would like a couple of square metres to examine and take cuttings of the wild flowers and grasses (no experience or knowledge needed) you're welcome. I can help you with identification.
A great initiative to follow on from the measures we have already started (as per AGM reports) and if you feel you could spare some time to help Chris please let him know.
Visitors’ views and comments
Due to the lockdown visitor numbers have increased substantially and many have said how much they have enjoyed their visits to and how grateful they are that the Carrs has provided such a haven of peace and tranquility in these troubled times.
Our Facebook page has been a joy to read as people have posted their comments and photographs, a few are illustrated below:
Rita Stevenson wrote:
Yesterday our stroll was later than usual, & very pleasant (& un-crowded) it was too, having just shut the gate at 9 o'clock? It only just then occurred to me what a big commitment it must be for someone to open & shut that gate every single day! Many thanks to everyone who does it!
Karlene Laycock wrote;
Nice to have the Gatley Carrs on our doorstep. It’s been a few years since I last visited with my camera.
For Dave Higginson-Tranter:
Have a look at his Facebook page and his series of films entitled “Wild about nature” on YouTube.
Some lovely little films and his knowledge and enthusiasm is highly informative and inspiring.
Keep checking our page it’s very informative.
Please raise any points you would like ref all the above, we welcome your feedback.
Please send your thoughts by e-mailing our secretary Pete at:
And we will try to respond as soon as possible.
Please also try to get involved in some way during the year.
Next Meeting Proposed - 23 rd September 2020 at 7.30pm