Category Archives: volunteering

Easter Bank Holiday Weekend at Chadkirk

Yesterday’s vernal equinox marks a change. From now, until September, days will be longer than nights. At first, by minutes and then by hours. As we move into spring and look towards summer, there are more daylight hours to spend out and about.

This coming weekend, there’s even more to celebrate. Our clocks spring forward by an hour at midnight on Saturday 26th March, so there’ll be an extra hour of light in the evening.

Plants affected by the lengthening daylight add new growth, or open into flower. A recent spell of dry weather, some blue skies, sunshine and warmth, all encourage growth and blossom in the woodland, meadows and hedgerows of Chadkirk.

By the time the weekend arrives, there’ll be newly invigorated bees and butterflies visiting the flowers in the garden, searching for food. A little something to energise them for their spring activities.

Bees and butterflies will feed off the nectar of the spring flowers. Meanwhile, there’ll be something sweet on offer for the young of our own species on Bank Holiday Monday.

On Monday 28th March between 2pm and 4pm, volunteers from the Friends of Chadkirk offer a bit of fun and a sweet treat for participants in our popular Easter Egg Hunt.

Hidden eggs in the garden and grounds wouldn’t be much fun for anyone – they might melt in the sun, get washed in the rain, eaten by animals. So as an alternative there’s a game of scrambled eggs. Follow the clues and at the end, there’ll be a creme filled egg for each child taking part.

Entry is 50p per child.
The game is suitable for children upto 8 years of age, accompanied by adult carers.

In 2015 this was one of our most popular events, organised by volunteers, in a spirit of generosity. They made a choice. The emphasis is on attracting young ‘uns. Time enjoyed here means that they, like us , will have a special connection with this special place. For the Friends of Chadkirk, while this event may not add much to our funds, it spreads the joy… what Easter, holidays, friends and Chadkirk are all about.

There’ll be a different kind of delight for those who join our Easter Sunday service on 27th March at 3pm which will be led by Rev Jon Lyndsey-Scott of St Chad’s Church in Romiley. At this service there will be an opportunity to donate to a local charity. All money collected will contribute to Romiley Arc.

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What are friends for?

Resourceful and energetic, friends can help us make the best of life.
At last night’s AGM you’d get a clear sense of the difference that Friends make.

They make a difference through their funding of projects on the Chadkirk Country Park, Farm Estate and in Chadkirk Chapel. In the past that has included the design and installation of the East Window. Later this year, footpaths in the Walled Garden will be repaired and re-surfaced, funded by the Friends of Chadkirk. There are many ways that funds raised and donations are used to benefit the environment and the community here.

While raising funds for Chadkirk is a big part of what we do, Friends of Chadkirk also raise money to make donations to a wide range of other causes. Our treasurer reported back at the AGM about money donated to charities local and global. At the Carol Service in December, the collection raised nearly £300. The collection of £296-64 was donated to the British Red Cross fund, this small contribution to a global fund to take compassionate action within the refugee camps of Syria. In previous years, similar donations have been made to funds to support those affected by the flooding in Cumbria, Guide Dogs for the Blind and other diverse organisations.

It is a reflection of the place that Chadkirk occupies in people’s hearts, that along with funds raised at events, we also receive donations and bequests. At the meeting last night, we were moved to learn of a bequest from a special friend of Chadkirk who had travelled by bus to help us get our beehives established and to take good care of them. Although that baton has been passed on, the continuity of his affection for the bees and this place has been movingly expressed. If Wilf’s family read this, we’d like to say a very special thank you. Please get in touch. Together we might be able to tell a little of his story and honour his achievements, the part he played in helping create the Chadkirk we enjoy today. Many visitors would be interested to learn more about our hives and his work with the bees.

Moving through the agenda from the happenings of 2015 there was talk of plans for 2016. The events, which generally have a monthly pattern, start this weekend.

On Saturday 5th March the gardening team will be active in the Walled Garden (as long as today’s snow has melted away).

On Sunday 6th March Friends of Chadkirk will be offering something a little bit different by way of treats, entertainment and convivial chat. For this year we’ll be doing what we can with our existing technology to show our little in-house life story of St Chad, back by popular demand. By next year we hope to be able to use an upgraded system which we are currently checking out and plan to install soon. This upgrade has been made possible by a significant donation from a member of the local community.

No upgrade is required for our popular Easter Egg Hunt. Last year this attracted many youngsters and their carers and at 2pm on Easter Monday – 28th March – there’s another chance to seek out what’s hidden in the gardens of Chadkirk.

A different kind of delight for those who join our Easter Sunday service on 27th March which will be led by Rev Jon Lyndsey-Scott of St Chad’s Church in Romiley. At this service there will be an opportunity to donate to a local charity. All money collected will contribute to Romiley Ark.

For Friends of Chadkirk there’s a familiar seasonal rhythm to the activities, though with a little twist each year. Things change, so there’s also adaptation to make the best of what’s going on here and further afield. As a result there has been a change to the pattern of some of our regular activities.

This year, for one year only, there’ll be Well Dressing Blessing on Saturday 30th July. . With the Blessing at 1pm, an opportunity for refreshments in Chadkirk Chapel, and the plant stalls and Friends of Chadkirk stall with a range of small treats on offer. Outside the Stockport Silver Band will play.

At the AGM, the retiring Chair passed round a letter from the organiser of the Chadkirk Festival which stated that:

The council will be working with the Friends of Chadkirk on the format for the festival for the weekend 29th/30th July 2017.

This means that we’ll be celebrating our 20th Chadkirk Festival in 2017.
Our expanding team of enthusiasts have plenty to look forward to.

Down at Chadkirk, Friends of Chadkirk make a difference to all most every aspect of this special place. It can be life enriching, community enhancing, ecologically sustaining, landscape protecting. Beneficial. Be-friending.

Want to make a difference? Take part. Join in. Be-friend.

The start of Spring…

March 1st is officially the start of spring.
This weekend is the first spring weekend of 2016.
The first Saturday of the month: March 5th.
It’s time for the good folk on our gardening team to be in the gardens by the chapel. They’ll be doing what needs to be done.Tidying up after the winter and getting ready for new growth.

You can join us for a few minutes or a few hours.
Open air, the gentle beauty of the Walled Garden, available to all.
A shared joke, a shared activity and a deep sense of satisfaction.

Meet by Chadkirk Chapel at 2pm.
A cuppa and a little something delicious to eat at the break.
Tidy up and tools away by 4pm.
Over the year, you’ll see the garden change through the season, starting with the green shoots in spring.

Volunteer weeding one of the beds in the Walled Garden.

Volunteer weeding one of the beds in the Walled Garden.

Gardening time

The first Saturday in any month is gardening time down by the chapel at Chadkirk. Whatever the weather, there’s pruning and weeding, or planting to be done.

On Saturday 6th February it rained all day. Drenching and dyke filling rain.
And, yes, the gardeners turned up and got stuck in. It can still be fun, working outdoors, even in the pouring rain. And there’s always a sense of achievement. Gentle activity, good company and a part played in creating a beautiful garden which gives pleasure to so many. Well worth it.

‘Not surprisingly just a handful of us were daft enough to brave the wet weather. February Fill-Dyke (an old country saying) certainly lived up to its name. Two of us got busy transferring primulas from their hidden place behind the benches to the bed by the oak tree, where they can be seen and enjoyed by all. Meanwhile, another gardener donned his waders to clean out 2 of the ponds to keep the Great Crested Newts happy.’

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February 2106 Gardening Team at work

Autumn 2015 : Harvest supper and Harvest Festival

The autumn equinox takes place on 23rd September. Exactly 12 hours from sunrise to sunset. Day perfectly balanced by night. A few days later on 28th September a full moon, the Hunter’s Moon.

As the days slip and the light changes, autumnal hues are starting to flush the trees in the woods. Birds which are summer migrants have moved on and native birds feed on berries and hips, making the most of this time of plenty.

At Chadkirk, as elsewhere, these glimpses of the connections between all things can bring a deep sense of pleasure and these delights are enjoyed by visitors, many of them strolling round Chadkirk daily, others visiting at weekends, some more occasional visitors, coming to the Chapel, Walled Garden, woodland walks and country park for some of the organised events.

Our calendar of events follows the rhythm of the seasons and reflects the community and the environment.

On Saturday 12th September we had our annual bird and bat box making event. This year drenching drizzle drove us inside. Snug in Chadkirk Chapel, visitors were ably assisted by John, who helped them to construct winter homes for bats. The nesting boxes for the birds will be ready when for small birds when spring arrives. This is an ideal opportunity for people young and old to learn about the life cycles of these animals from some-one who knows. Fascinating and fun.

Please be aware that this is our only bird and bat box day this year.

October always provides an opportunity to celebrate.
There’s our annual Harvest Supper on Friday 23rd October and the Harvest Festival on Sunday 25th October.

Tickets for the Harvest Supper are available from Staircase House. The evening in the chapel includes a quiz and hotpot, with home made apple pie for pudding.

For the Harvest Festival no ticket is required.

September’s here again…

Yesterday the team of gardening volunteers were at Chadkirk. A delightful few hours, in fine company, beautiful surroundings, fresh air and gentle sunshine.

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Pulling out brambles, weeding and pruning, gentle activity and time for a chat and a cuppa (and Pat’s home made biscuits). The first Saturday of every month is always a gardening afternoon at Chadkirk. The time spent is well rewarded, for this time and the gardening morning on the third Thursday of the month, are the times when the volunteers do plenty of good work so that the gardens at Chadkirk flourish.

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If you like pottering in the garden and would enjoy time in the gardens at Chadkirk, why not join us? Spend as much time as suits you, minutes or hours, on both or either of the gardening days each month. Our team is a mixed bunch. Some know more about gardening than others. Together we can usually decide if the plant is a weed or not. Just ask. It’s a team effort!

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This September one of the most beautiful features in the Walled Garden is the bed of annuals. It’s stunning. In Saturday’s sunshine, the glorious flowers attracted some of our honey bees from the nearby hives.

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In the gardens and meadows, woodlands and ponds, there is a rich variety of flora and fauna. The plants provide food for insects and the insects provide food for the birds and the bats. And if it’s birds and bats that you are interested in you may want to build your own bird or bat box. Or maybe both. If so, join us next weekend for our annual bird and bat box making afternoon.

Bird and Bat Box making with expert guidance from John Rowlands
Saturday 12th September 2015
1-30 – 4pm.

There is a small charge for materials.
Please bring your own hammer.
We’ll be outside the chapel when the weather’s fine.

Creating the clothes…

Unveiling the well dressing is the ceremony which kicks off the Chadkirk Festival each year. This week, in the days preceding the festival, there is work to be done…

A small team of volunteers, some old hands, some newbies, some who planned to be there, some who just wandered into the Chapel and wanted to get involved, get their hands dirty.

Preparing the clay blocks

Preparing the clay blocks

Drawing the design on the clay block

Drawing the design on the clay block

Although plenty of planning has gone into this process, no-one can be exactly sure how the design will look when the well is unveiled.

Today the clay is prepared before ‘planting’. This lays the foundation. Next the clothes for the well dressing are created from other adornments. Perhaps a chance to join in, so that when the well is visible to all, there can be an extra sense of satisfaction and pleasure, knowing that you have played a part in adding interest and beauty to this much loved place.