Giant slime-mould appears in Graves Park, Sheffield

This is Brefeldia maxima and is our biggest and ‘best’ slime mould. You can see the ‘bare’ zone where this motile mould has moved over the bark and the colony as one single giant cell has slithered onwards.

According to slime-mould expert Dr Paul Ardron it is sometimes commonly called “Tapioca slime” for obvious reasons. I thought it looked like a massive cauliflower……so maybe the ‘cauliflower slime-mould’.

It is not terribly common and I found it and photographed it on a fallen log at the bottom of Cobnar Banks ravine in Graves Park.

With a foot as a scale!!


ps not sure if this is ‘mold’ which is the American or ‘mould’ which is UK – I will opt for the latter

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Whitwell Wood Forestry Commission fiasco goes on unabated….

Whitwell Wood Forestry Commission fiasco goes on unabated….

It seems that each time I visit this wonderful and iconic woodland, the damage to its unrecognised and unrecorded heritage and archaeology goes on. This destruction really should be the most embarrassing situation for the public agency responsible for out woods and forests and directly steering the management of this site – and yet it seems that is not the case. Really there should be a public apology for the irreparable damage that they have done. Fortunately much of the ecology of the wood will recover in time. However, the heritage and archaeology of this uniquely interesting and valuable woodland is simply being progressively erased from the landscape – and there is no a murmur from the Forestry Commission, from Historic England, or from Natural England – it is as if nothing has happened and all is well…..

This time the timber-extraction vehicles went within a few metres of the upstanding enclosure linked to the kilometre-long upstanding bank-and-ditch across the site. These features have not been assessed in detail, but close to a major routeway and boundary may be pre-Roman or perhaps so-called Dark Ages in origin. However, when challenged on damage a few years back the Forestry Commission stated that ‘they had only gone through the monument twice….’ – my response was to query how many times would be acceptable though an ancient monument…..? The other feedback we got was ‘well it is only a few medieval charcoal heaths….’

But then and now, what they simply failed to understand or accept was that the bank-and-ditch of the upstanding monument indicates that the whole landscape is an extensive, expansive and incredibly vulnerable heritage – not just the bit you can easily see………

To get an idea of what I mean, think of a Time-Team excavation and the stuff hidden below ground. This is what the Forestry Commission, a public body, is destroying and it is totally appalling and unacceptable.

And all for a few sticks which could be extracted sustainably…….despite all the promises not done – as my Dad used to say, ‘the road to Hell is paved with good intentions…..!’, and I might add, and ‘guided by empty promises’

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Another tree disaster in the offing and this time in Leeds

Another tree disaster in the offing and this time in Leeds

The sheer attrition against nature, and especially against trees and woodlands goes on despite bland assurances from politicians and even government agencies. Furthermore, when it comes to the big corporations and similar organisations. they are simply prepared to ride rough-shod over local communities and individuals who are in their way. Take the situation in Armley in Leeds for example, where Railtrack are clearing mature trees from the trackside and well beyond. These sorts of management have huge impacts on local people whose environment this is, and in this case, a community which is already relatively poor and disadvantaged. And yet this happens at a time when with COVID lockdown in particular, we increasingly recognize the value and importance of a good quality environment and contact with nature on mental and physical health and wellbeing, and even on the development and expression of mental wellbeing (intelligence) in children. Recent research has shown that such contact is majorly important for children from poorer backgrounds and in damaged environments. In such cases, street-trees and local greenspaces become vital to a healthy future. So it is no wonder that local communities worry when the tree-fellers arrive and the big corporations like Railtrack wheel in the bully-boys.

Local environmental champions are hugely important and deserve all the support we can give them – they are a cause for hope in an increasingly desperate world……. .

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Lies and damned lies – HS2 moving ancient woodlands

Lies and damned lies – HS2 moving ancient woodlands

I was present at a national conference a few years ago at which the head of landscape for HS2 glibly claimed that their project could ‘move ancient woods to new locations as HS2 bulldozed its way through town and country. There are huge flaws in this assertion in terms of what ‘ancient woodland’ is, and what its ecology needs. And, if vegetation and soil are stripped from one site and dumped on another, the ‘ancient woodland’ has gone – it is by definition location-specific. You can create a new site from the rescued bits which may be better than a new site without the bits, but it is no longer ‘ancient’. The receiver site will always be smaller than the donor as well. Furthermore, given time to settle the gross disruption will shift the vegetation away from the undisturbed ancient woodland flora to a secondary woodland type.

There is an additional issue as well – and one that experts and media alike tend to not see – and this is the human footprint present in ancient woods. Walk in very old woodland and you are stepping into the footprints and through the shadows of the ghosts of many centuries of rural communities and woodland workers who lived in and managed these precious landscapes. The very soil being scraped away by the bulldozers is the archaeology relating to these people – often over centuries and sometimes from thousands of years ago – and mostly unseen and unrecorded. I doubt that any of the woodlands now being flattened have had even the most basic woodland heritage and archaeological survey. Yet we now have evidence of ancient coppice trees from some of these woods worked for centuries as part of the rural landscape being 500 years old or more. None will have been surveyed or recognised. Furthermore, their highly-paid (and in my opinion totally unethical) consultants will not have a clue about any of this. From medieval charcoal burners to prehistoric farmers, the landscape is destroyed and degraded. This is like taking a felt-tip pen to scribble on the Mona Lisa – you still have a painting but it is a bit crap really.

Like the historic woodland landscape…..
Degraded and de-valued……..

The claims by HS2 are simply fabrications and lies, damned lies, …………….. thank you HS2

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Sheffield Street Trees – message from Deepa Shetty

Sheffield Street Trees – message from Deepa Shetty

Dear supporters

As you know, Alan Robshaw passed away, very sadly, in May 2020. A huge loss to the SORT campaign & to the Street Tree Campaign in Sheffield, full stop.

What you will not know, is that Alan had been in correspondence with the Local Government Ombudsman for the last few years. Alan had lodged a private complaint about Sheffield City Council’s illegal felling of healthy street trees, and in particular, the way that they had handled the scandalous night fellings on Rustlings Road, on 17th November 2016.

The LGO findings were published today and they are damning.

Read the full report here:

Yorkshire Post:

STAG (Sheffield Tree Action Groups) response:

Response from Alan’s daughter, Rosanna Faith:

Chris Burn Twitter thread:

Some of you may wish to register your feelings about SCC’s failings, with your MP ( ) & Cllrs ( ) . Ask them what steps are in place to prevent such an abuse of power happening again?

Especially with Cllr Mark Jones, who is currently the Cabinet Member in charge of the disastrous Streets Ahead experiment. Cllr Jones can be contacted here: & here: 07472501187.

I would also encourage all of our supporters to get behind the #ItsOurCity campaign, which aims to change our system of governance in Sheffield from the failed ‘Strong Leader’ model, which has allowed Labour Cllr Julie Dore to repeatedly abuse her power as Council Leader…

To a fairer, more collaborative, cross party approach with important decision-making via a ‘Committee’ system. The referendum will be at the next elections, so make sure you vote!



Cllr Jones is on Radio Sheffield tomorrow morning (Thurs 15th Oct 2020) speaking to Toby Foster, just before 8am. What will his response be to the LGO’s findings?

“Transparency goes to the heart of trust in decision making. It is at the heart of good administration. We consider one of the root causes of the significant loss of trust the Council suffered in carrying out its Streets Ahead policy, felt by Mr G and many others, lies in its lack of transparency, openness and on occasion, honesty. “

Will be interesting listening! As always, thank you to everybody, wherever you are, for all that you do for trees. It is all seen and appreciated. Honesty & transparency from those elected to represent us, continue to be paramount. Make your voices heard!!!

In Solidarity

Dr Deepa Shetty

Founding member of the SORT campaign

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Notes from a Wildlife Garden October 2020

Notes from a Wildlife Garden October 2020

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The Hawks Return to the Peaks

The Hawks Return to the Peaks

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Autumn leaves spectacular

Autumn leaves spectacular

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Summertime Blues Across the Peak District

Summertime Blues Across the Peak District

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Autumn leaves spectacular

Autumn leaves spectacular
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