Making Tracks

Friday, 18th February 2005
Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

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frogdaffodilsThere's a splash from the pond and I see a leg kick up in the air. The frogs are back for their spring party in the pool.

This shop-bought bunch of daffodils is almost over but in our garden the miniature variety are just starting to flower. I draw these in my finest nibbed Staedtler mars professional pen. Drawing those flowers yesterday at the hospital, I've realised that the 0.17 nib is ideal for botanical subjects; it suits the delicacy of leaves, stems and petals.

I'd still use the chunkier 0.7 nib for most quick sketches though: buildings, people, trees seen from trains; subjects where the extra boldness, to suggest weight or movement, is an advantage.

meetingBikes v. Bluebells

I use the 0.7 to draw the speakers at tonight's meeting in the village hall where the problem of motorbikes in Coxley woods is discussed at a packed and lively meeting.

Here are a variety of views, starting with a boy, aged 12 or 13 - a motorbike enthusiast - who complains:

June Drysdale
June Drysdale,
local councillor
Chair of the meeting
bike expert
Bike expert
parish councillor
Chair of the Parish Council



'We take our bikes into the wood and we get told off so we come back here and we get into trouble for hanging about.'


'We're lucky to have two Wildlife Trust reserves in our village and we should look after them.'

'I started riding a motorbike in the wood 25 years ago. I'm an endurance biker. Green lanes in the Dales have been closed to us. The woods have always been for everyone - walkers, horse riders and bikers.'


'I've got a dog at home with a broken leg. I had it on a long lead which was stretched across the path when a motorbike came along. The rider didn't give me chance to retract the lead. He didn't understand that dogs can behave unpredictably when something unusual happens.'


'The council is quick enough to give away our green spaces to developers. Why don't they get the developers to give something in return for what they're taking away from us and get them to contribute towards a track for these young people.'

'The council has to act within the law. We can't twist developers' arms to contribute anything extra.'


'We mustn't forget that it's not just children doing this. You see 4 x 4s with trailers parked up by the cemetery. They say phone the police but I did and nothing happened. Six weeks later they called at my house.
' Only the police can take action. Where are the police? Why aren't they here tonight?'

'The inspector had to attend a very urgent call and can't be here.'

Bike Tracks

'We had these same problems around Birstall. Everything we tried failed until we got together to provide somewhere for them to go. We found a suitable site and got a grant from the Coal Board Fund of £250,000 and another £250,ooo from the National Lottery. We operate as a charity, we're open every day, we run trials and competitions. We have qualified staff on hand and we offer training.'

Saving Places

'The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust isn't saving these places for the rare plants, we're not saving them for their outstanding natural beauty; we're not saving cuddly animals, like otters; we're saving these places for our children - for future generations.' Next Page


Wakefield Council man
Wakefield MDC

Wildlife Trust officer
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
r eserves officer

Related Link

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Richard Bell,

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