News & Events

The Fairfield Association organises a broad range of events throughout the year, details of which appear on the website and on our notice boards at the Sibsey Street end of Fairfield Green (the children's playground), the Orchard and in Fauna.

Additionally, the Association's Twitter feed will be updated with brief news items, and you can access our archived Newsletters in PDF format by selecting from the drop-down menu:

(N.B. These files launch in a pop-up window - you may need to adjust your browser settings to allow pop-ups if they don't appear.)

Carol Singing, Christmas Eve 5pm, Sunnyside Lane

We meet at 5pm outside Edenbreck Farm Cottage and hope for good weather! Come and go as you please. Torch and warm clothes advised. All welcome.

Wassailing, Saturday 18th January 3pm, Fairfield Orchard

Bang your pots and help drive out any evil spirits. You can also enjoy music, wassail punch and a small bonfire.

Footpath around Pony Wood

The new Pony Wood footpath was officially opened with champagne and cake on Saturday 12th October. Jon Barry cut a string of hazard warning tape with a pair of loppers and volunteers, funders and the designer of the new footpath enjoyed a glass of champagne and homemade cake at the top of the hill.

The path was designed to have a gentle gradient with frequent benches along the way so that most people should be able to reach the summit and enjoy the superb views of the nature reserve and Lancaster Castle.

Many thanks to Carole Martin for taking photos of the event (and many others throughout the year!)

Pony Wood Photos (and others)

Apple Day, Fairfield Orchard, 2-5 p.m., Saturday 21 September 2019

It will soon be Apple Day, a time when we celebrate our year’s work in the Orchard and its bountiful supply of fruit. So we thought that we would give you a taster of what to expect on this wonderful day together with a request for ideas and suggestions for additional activities.

Already in place are:

  • Apple games – apple bobbing, William tell, apple ladder, apple boule and our version of the human Fruit Machine;
  • Refreshments, and hopefully your usual generous contributions of cakes and biscuits;
  • John Wilkinson and his stall of beautiful wood turned products. Jam and preserve stall;
  • Fruit growing advice;
  • Tasting samples of our orchard apples (that is if we can dissuade people from picking the fruit too early!);
  • Storytelling with Tony.

The success of our events so much depends on those of you who give a little of your time to help with serving refreshments and assisting with the activities, so here is my usual request for your help this apple day. This is what we need help with this year:

  • Helping Ian with the setting up and taking down of tents, tables, games etc. From 12 noon and if possible again at 5 pm to take down and put away;
  • Serving refreshments. 1.45 – 3.30 or 3.30 – 5 pm. Two helpers for each time slot;
  • Supervising the William Tell game. 2 – 3, 3 – 4, 4- 5 pm. One person for each time slot;
  • Supervising the apple bobbing. As above;
  • Assisting Aileen with the printing activity. 2 – 3.30 or 3.30 – 5 pm. Two people for each time slot;
  • Assisting Carol with the Human Fruit Machine. 2 – 3.30 or 3.30 – 5 pm. One person for each time slot;

If you would like to assist with any of these please contact Tony Finn on ajea DOT finn AT tiscali DOT co DOT uk or on Lancaster 36426. Many thanks!

 Apple Day Flyer

Photos of the area

We are very grateful to Tom Brown for getting in touch and sharing some of the beautiful photos he has taken in and around the reserve. Many thanks Tom!

Tom's Photo Album

Mini Bioblitz, Flora fields and Fauna, 31st July 2019

On Wednesday 31st July, Chris Workman has planned a mini bioblitz for the North Lancashire Wildlife Group and any Fairfield or local residents who want to attend. The meeting place is the end of Sunnyside Lane at 10.00am.

The plan is to sample / survey the wild flower margins of Flora fields and, if time, go into Upper Sowerholme via the new style from Lower Sowerholme and sample the ponds/streams there. We hope to finish before 13.00h. Wellington boots and suitable clothing are advised. The wet weather programme for this event is to get wet and look for snails and slugs and things hiding from the rain.

Fairfield Association Annual General Meeting, Friends Meeting House, 19th June 7:30 p.m.

Come and join us in the Meeting Room to hear our news and to let us know what you think!

All members of the Fairfield Association are entitled to nominate officers and trustees. Nominations for Chair, Secretary,Treasurer or Trustees should be sent to Shirley Rawsthorne, Secretary (s DOT rawsthorne AT lancaster DOT ac DOT uk) no less than seven days before the meeting.

The AGM 2018 Minutes and associated files can be found in the Meetings and Minutes area on the website.

National 'Open Garden' Event, Carr House Farm, 22nd and 23rd June
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

The garden at Carr House Farm is open as part of the National 'Open Garden' Scheme, and the Fairfield Association is providing the cake stall at the event. This is a great opportunity to raise funds for the FA and to see a wonderful garden.

It's a long event, so we need lots of volunteers to bake the cakes, serve tea and cakes and help put up the stall, gazebos etc. We are also looking for people to lead short excursions into the Nature Reserve.

If you are able to help in any way, please get in touch with Hilary Short (hilarydee57 AT gmail DOT com)

Judicial Review of Planning Application for 250 houses on Freeman’s Wood

Freeman's Wood was designated as a Local Green Space on the Draft Local Plan and has a long history of being a recreational area and a haven for wildlife (recognised in the local plan). The Friends of Freeman's Wood would like to get the area designated as a Town Green, which would protect it from development. However Satnam, who represent the land-owner, have forced a Judicial Review of the application made in 2012 and have put in a planning application for 250 houses on the site.

Individuals who are interested in preserving the area as a local green space can comment on the planning application for 250 houses on Freemans Wood (referred to as ‘land off New Quay Road’). This can be done any time in February or March by:

People can also help by making a donation. The Friends of Freeman's Wood are also trying to raise £6000 to pay for a lawyer. To make a donation go to Golden Giving website or use online banking to: Sort Code: 01-54-90, Account No: 64782808

For anybody who wants to know more, there will be a meeting on 26th February, 7.30 pm in the Hornets Function Room (Hornbeam Road, LA1 5TQ - off Willow Lane, behind the Spar shop).

StoreyG2 (previously known as the Storey Gallery) also ran a highly-acclaimed project highlighting some of the issues raised, which included the development of a mobile app, artwork and a video:

StoreyG2 - Freeman's Wood Project

Aerial Footage of The Fairfield Association Flora and Fauna Nature Reserve!

Presentation of Queen's Royal Voluntary Service Award at Shire Hall, Preston

Lord Shuttleworth , Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire and the Queen’s representative presented the Fairfield Association with the award in the Shire Hall in Preston on Wednesday 27th September.

Ten of our volunteers were present to receive the award and very much enjoyed the event which was friendly and finished with tea and cakes. 5 charities from Lancashire received the award and one of these, the Abaseen Foundation, is also based in Lancaster and is doing wonderful work in the far north of Pakistan (see the Abaseen Foundation website for more details).

In addition to the certificate, signed by Her Majesty, the FA was presented with a piece of crystal. If anyone would like a replica (8cmx5cmx5cn), please contact us. There is a limited edition available for members of the FA at a cost of £25 (or less, depending on how many people want them). If you are interested, please contact Hilary Short (Hilarydee57 AT gmail DOT com) or you can order directly from (click on Queen’s Awards for Voluntary Service).

 QAVS Certificate

Photo of Crystal Award

Apple Day Photos

Some lovely photos of Apple Day taken by Carole Martin - many thanks Carole!

Apple Day Photos (launches Google Photos album)

Fairfield Association wins The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service!

We are thrilled to let you know that the Fairfield Association has been awarded The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service 2017. This award was created by The Queen in 2002 to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee, recognising excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.

This is an award for all of us as volunteers. It recognises our achievements as a grassroots community in creating more than 50 acres of green space for people to enjoy.

This is a great honour and a wonderful way to mark 21 years as a volunteering community.

The photograph opposite shows Fairfield volunteers Ian and Suzanne who represented the Association at a recent Buckingham Palace Garden Party to mark the occasion.

Volunteering/conservation awards with the John Muir Trust

The Fairfield Association is to offer volunteers the exciting opportunity to gain volunteering/conservation awards through the John Muir Trust of which it is now a member.

The FA will offer existing and new volunteers the opportunity to undertake a John Muir Award, with member Graham Brandwood coordinating the award on behalf of the FA. Graham will be doing a briefing at coffee break time at the next volunteering session on the 14th March.

Please contact Graham for further information 0785 581 4042 or gabrandwood AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk .

 John Muir Volunteering/Conservation Award leaflet

Local walk published!

A Fairfield member has written a walk that has been published as part of the Royal Geographical Society 'Discovering Britain' series.

The Walk is called “From Water to Wealth”. ‘Discover how a river and a canal aided Lancaster’s fortunes. See impressive buildings and landmarks funded by waterborne trade. Find out how waterways helped to shape a caring community. Enjoy a vibrant landscape where wealth takes many forms’. The route begins at the Captured Africans’ sculpture on the Quay and travels via the Maritime Museum, the Priory and Castle, the Judges’ Lodgings, Church Street, New Street, the Market Square, Dalton Square, the Cathedral, along the canal past Basin Bridge to the Aldcliffe Road footbridge. Then it enters Fauna via Cromwell Road, and continues along Ashfield Avenue, finishing in Westfield Village. The text speaks of the work of the Fairfield Association being a fine example of Lancaster’s wealth embodied in its people.

Copies of the booklet can be obtained from the Visitor Information Centre at £3.99. It can also be downloaded as a PDF:
Discovering Britain (select the “Walk It” button to download what you want) or you can download an audio guide to your smartphone or iPod for free.

News Archive

Easter Egg Hunt, Fairfield Orchard, Easter Monday, 22nd April 2019, 2-4 p.m.

Join us for our ever-popular annual Easter Egg hunt around Fairfield Orchard!

  • Egg Hunt: £3.00 per child (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Children’s Easter Bonnet competition - come with an Easter bonnet that you have made.
    Bonnet judging to take place at 3.30 p.m.
  • Refreshments will also be available.

More details to follow. All proceeds to the Fairfield Association.

 Easter Egg Hunt Flyer

Wassailing Photos 2019

We would like to thank Carole Martin for sending some photos she took at the Wassailing event a a couple of weeks ago.

Thanks, as always, Carole!

Wassailing, 19th January, 3pm, Fairfield Community Orchard

Celebrate the start of the new year by joining us for our traditional wassailing around the Orchard on 19th January at 3pm. There will be alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available - don't forget to bring your pots and pans!

If anyone is able to help organise the distribution of the wassail punch, please contact Tony (ajea DOT finn AT tiscali DOT co DOT uk) or Hilary (hilarydee57 AT gmail DOT com). Thank you.

 Wassailing Poster

Bird-watching Walk, 26th January,, Sunnyside Lane

Dan Heywood is leading a bird-watching walk on Saturday 26th January, starting at 9 a.m. Meet at the end of Sunnyside Lane and wrap up warm!

Carol Singing, Christmas Eve 5pm, Sunnyside Lane

Meet at Edenbreck Farm Cottage at the end of Sunnyside Lane (near the allotments) at 5pm.

Carol sheets are provided, but wrap up warm and bring a torch!

Green Fair, 24th November 2018, 10am-4pm, Friends Meeting House

Come and visit our stall at the Green Fair to pick up this year's stunning Calendar (£8) and new Christmas cards (£4).

These calendars often sell out quickly, so we recommend ordering your copy/copies in advance from Carole Martin via email: carole DOT martin56 AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk (characters replaced to avoid spam) or phone: Lancaster 65994.

If you are unable to make it to the Green Fair, we can also arrange collection or delivery.

Musical Evening, The Storey, Thursday 18th October 7:30-8:30 pm

Join us at the auditorium for a 'Musical Evening' with Paul Guppy, Leader of The Gladly Solemn Sound, on West Gallery Music in North West England.

The talk will be on the subject of 'West Gallery Music' in North-West England (ie North Lancashire and Cumbria).'West Gallery Music' (WGM) is a term sometimes used to describe the rural church music of the late 18th, early 19th centuries. It was, typically, very different from the Victorian hymn-singing that replaced it: often polyphonic, excitingly rhythmic and employing startlingly unorthodox harmonies. Often performed from a specially built west gallery, the music was accompanied not by organ but by bands of stringed, woodwind and brass instruments. The ecclesiastical authorities had little control over the music-making - and indeed often showed little interest. Metrical psalms, rather than hymns, were the order of the day, together with anthems, and of course carols at Christmas.

The tradition was increasingly disliked by 19th century church reformers who regarded it as indecorous, musically crude and alarmingly self-regulated. The West Gallery period came to an end following the publication of 'Hymns Ancient and Modern' in 1862, together with a wider provenance of church organs and encouragement of children's choirs.

There will be recorded musical examples and a chance to examine old instruments and copies of original manuscript. We look forward to seeing you there!

Nature Reserve Photos

We would like to thank Dave Bleasdale for the wonderful photographs he's taken around the reserve - including many of the White Park Cattle. They can be viewed on his Flickr album. Many thanks for sharing them, Dave - they are stunning!

We would also like to thank Carole Martin for sending some photos (a while ago!) which she took last February of a Wetland walk and Willow dome-making session run by Graham Brandwood. Thanks both!

FA Calendars

On a separate but related note, we will be asking for photos for our new calendar soon, so if you have taken any landscape ones of the reserve during the past year (or in previous years) that you think might be appropriate, we would be very grateful if you could send them to us. More details to follow.

Fairfield Fun Day, Saturday 7th July, 12-5 p.m.

Fairfield Fun day is back! Put us in your diaries for Saturday 7th July. All the fun of a village fete, but in the City!

  • BBQ, cakes, drinks
  • Sideshows & games
  • Live music
  • Local arts & crafts
  • Plants & allotment produce
  • Face painting
  • Books & comics
  • Fire engine
  • Fun Run (see below for details)

Fairfield Fun Run, Saturday 7th July 2018, 12pm

Come and support the Fairfield Association on Saturday 7th July, 2018 by taking part in the Fairfield Association Fun Day 3k & 5k running race!

12pm start at the Fairfield Play Area Lancaster LA1 5DP

  • Race 90% traffic free and scenic;
  • Bespoke Fairfield Association medals for finishers (limited to first 100 entries so book early to avoid disappointment);
  • Prizes for first three Men and first three Women as well as Best Fancy Dress.

Cost: Pre entry    3k/£5 5k/£7
  On the day 3k/£6 5k/£8

Entries on-line at or for postal entries or any other enquiries contact Laura van Tatenhove by email lauravantatenhove AT gmail DOT com or by phone Lancaster 60537

Fairfield Calendar 2018, cards and recipe books

We are pleased to say that all the 2018 calendars and Christmas cards have now been sold - valuable funds for the Fairfield Association! Don’t forget to send your photos taken from the Fairfield Nature Reserve for next year’s calendar and cards.

We still have our Fairfield recipe books (£5) and notelets (£4 for 6). Just email carole DOT martin56 AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk.

Thank you all for your support over the last year and wishing you the very best for 2018!

Fairfield Calendar 2018, cards and recipe books

It is still not too late to purchase your Fairfield Association 2018 calendar! As in previous years, the 2018 calendar contains stunning photographs of Fairfield scenes and wildlife (£8). A lovely stocking filler for friends, or a treat for yourself! (See attached poster).

To purchase a calendar, please contact:

Carole Martin (email carole DOT martin56 AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk, tel. 65994)
Hilary Short (email: hilarydee57 AT gmail DOT com, tel. 63890)
or Ruth Haigh (email: ruth_haigh AT sky DOT com , tel. 63157)

Also on sale are:

  • Packs of six festive cards featuring six snowy Fairfield views (£4)
  • Packs of six notelets depicting the changing seasons of the nature reserve (£4)
  • ‘Cakes and Bakes’ recipe books, revealing over 50 mouth-watering recipes submitted by our Fairfield bakers (£5).

As we are nearly out of Christmas cards, we will need to print more for next year. If there is snow or hard frost, we would be grateful if photos could be taken of the nature reserve/orchard etc. for potential Christmas cards for next year. If you have a suitable photo please send it to carole DOT martin56 AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk. Many thanks!

 Cards and Calendar Poster

Christmas cards and the stunning new Calendar will also be on sale at this event. We hope to see you there!

Carol Singing, Christmas Eve, 5pm

Join us for Christmas Eve carol singing around Fairfield streets. Meet 5pm at Edenbreck Farmhouse at the end of Sunnyside Lane. Wrap up warm and bring a torch.

Fairfield Visitors, Storey Institute, Thursday November 9th, 19:30-20:30

Join us for a talk at the Storey on migrating birds, given by Ian Nieduszynski. The lecture is free, but a small donation to cover room hire would be appreciated.

Bird Walk, Sunnyside Lane, Sunday 3rd September, 9:30 am

Jon Carter from the RSPB will be leading a bird walk, meeting at the end of Sunnyside lane on Sunday morning.

Family Fun, Forest Craft and Games Sessions, Fairfield Orchard, July 22nd and 29th

Graham Brandwood is organising two afternoon sessions in the Orchard, with the first session concentrating on nature games and activities and the second session using tools to make items from wood found on the reserve.

No need to book, just turn up at the Orchard Stones, suitably dressed for exploring, hunting, creating and discovering, in and around the Orchard. Bring drinks and a snack. Please see flyer for further details.

 Forest Craft Sessions Flyer

Open Garden Event at Carr House Farm, Saturday and Sunday 1st and 2nd July, 10am-4pm

The beautiful gardens of Carr House Farm will be open to the public on the weekend of 1st/2nd of July as part of the National Open Garden Event, which takes place every year.

The Fairfield Association will supply refreshments and to mark our 21st birthday, we’ll be launching a recipe book of our cakes that are a trademark of our fundraising events. Part of the entrance fee ( £4 for adults) and all proceeds from the tea and cake stall and recipe book will be going to the Fairfield Association.

Cakes, buns and tray bakes will be gratefully received on both days. Please bring them to the event or deliver to Mick & Hilary Short.

Apple Day, Saturday 23rd September, 2-5pm

Those warm, balmy days of autumn will soon be here (possibly!) and so too will be our Apple Day on Saturday 23rd September 2 – 5 pm.

To entertain and delight we have:

  • Apple games: Apple Bobbing (bring a towel!) and the ever popular William Tell crossbow shoot
  • Felt making activity with Chryssie Burgess
  • Storytelling from Tony
  • John Wilkinson with his stall of beautiful crafted wood turned objects
  • Refreshments
  • Music.

As always, the success of our events is dependant on the great efforts of those of you who offer your help on the day. We need helpers to assist with:

  • Supervising the Apple Bobbing or William Tell shoot
  • Serving refreshments (one hour stints for these)
  • Assisting Chryssie with her felt workshop
  • Erecting marquees and setting up equipment etc. from 12 noon
  • And of course those bakers amongst you who would like to contribute cake or biscuits for the refreshment stall (see news item below on the Fairfield 'Cakes & Bakes' recipe booklet if you need any inspiration!)

If you would like to help with any of these together with any preferences for activity and time please let Tony know by email ajea DOT finn AT tiscali DOT co DOT uk or phone 36426.

Many thanks and we look forward to seeing you there!

 Apple Day Flyer

The Fairfield Association 'Cakes & Bakes' Recipe Booklet &
new packs of notelets

The booklet contains over 40 of your favourite Fairfield cake, biscuit and tray bake recipes, with colour photographs, and costs only £5.

There are also new notelet packs, featuring 6 fabulous photographs of the nature reserve at £4 per pack of six cards and envelopes.

 'Cakes and Bakes' and notelets poster

All proceeds go to The Fairfield Association

Recipe booklets and notelets can be obtained from: Ruth Haigh (ruth_haigh AT sky DOT com, tel: 63157), Hilary Short (hilarydee57 AT gmail DOT com, tel: 63890) and Carole Martin (carole DOT martin56 AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk, tel: 65994)

They will also be on sale on Apple Day on 23rd September and at the Green Fair on Saturday 18th November.

A cake to celebrate 21 years of the Fairfield Association and the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was enjoyed after the June 2017 AGM

NB Anyone who has purchased a recipe booklet please note - ERROR on page 24 - Date, Apricot and Pecan Tea bread: 50ml, 2 fl oz, or 3 tablespoons water (not 500ml). Many apologies.

2018 Fairfield Association calendar!

Calling all Photographers! If you have any photographs of the flowers, creatures or views of the nature reserve that you think would make a good calendar picture (landscape orientation only) please email your photo to carole DOT martin56 AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk

Lichens, Mosses and Invertebrates Walk, Fairfield Orchard, Friday June 9th, 7-9pm

The North Lancashire Wildlife group invite you to look at Lichens, Mosses and Invertebrates with them in the Orchard in June.

 NLWG Lichens, Mosses and Invertebrates Walk Flyer

Fairfield Association AGM, Friends Meeting House, Tuesday 20th June, 7:30

The AGM will be held in the William Stout Room of the Friends Meeting House, at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 20th June.

All are welcome, so please come along if you're able!

Wildflower Survey, Hay Meadow, Tuesday May 30th, 10:30am

Come and join ecologist, Graeme Skelcher, in his survey of the wildflowers in the Hay Meadow. We will be meeting at 10.30am, on the Fauna path by the gate into the meadow.

Fairfield Exhibition, St Nicholas' Arcade, Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th May

This event will build on one of the recent Storey Talks on the paths of Fairfield, Flora and the view from Pony Wood. Please drop in not only to catch up on our discoveries and see our new map, but also to test out your nature knowledge!

There will be activities for the youngsters and a special event starting at 2pm on Saturday: a woodcraft session by Graham Brandwood.

Bird Walk, Sunnyside Lane, Sunday May 14th, 9:30 am

Join us for bird walk led by Jon Carter, meeting at Sunnyside Lane entrance to the Orchard.

Easter Egg Hunt, Fairfield Orchard, April 17th

If the children are short of something to do over the Easter break, now is a good time to start preparing an Easter bonnet for The Fairfield Easter Egg Hunt.

The Easter Bunny needs your help again this year! This is a great family event, the success of which very much depends on the invaluable help given by those of you who assist with the organisation and running of the afternoon.

If you would like to help and give a small amount of your valuable time it will be very much appreciated. We need volunteers to help with the following:

  • Putting up our marquees and tables (from 12 noon and taking down about 4.15 pm).
  • Assisting with the Serving of refreshments. Can you manage one 1/2 hour stint between 1.45 – 4.15 pm?
  • Making Cakes or Biscuits for the refreshment stall. Each year we have a wonderful selection of cakes and biscuits provided by our Fairfield bakers. If you would like to provide baking this year it will be much appreciated. It can be taken to the orchard after 1.30 pm.
  • Assisting Tony and Jaci with putting out clues and giving out and checking answer sheets. From 1 pm if you can help put out clues, otherwise from 1.30 – 3.30 pm.
  • We also require 4 ‘Stewards/marshalls’ to be around the orchard and nature reserve path. This is not a difficult task. (and you do get to wear a rather splendid yellow jacket!)

If you can help with any of the above or need to know more about what is involved if you are volunteering for the first time, please contact Tony by email: ajea DOT finn AT tiscali DOT co DOT uk or on 36426.

Lecture at the Storey Institute, 20th April 7:30-8:30 pm

Join us for a talk given by David Redmore, focusing on the History and Development of English Wildflower Meadows.

Send us your Recipes for our new 'Cakes and Bakes' book!

The sale of cakes and bakes at numerous events has proved to be a huge fundraiser for the Fairfield Association from the beginning - 21 years ago. Now, we can raise even more funds by sharing our recipes in our new CAKES AND BAKES RECIPE BOOK which will be on sale this summer.

We are aiming to publish this in time for the Open Garden event at Carr House Farm, which is being held on 1st and 2nd July 2017.

If you (or your family) have a favourite recipe (and are prepared to share your secrets!) please send them by email to Carole at carole DOT martin56 AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk or Hilary at hilarydee57 AT gmail DOT com or Ruth at ruth_haigh AT sky DOT com. If possible, please you could also include a photo of your finished cake or bake. The deadline for submitting your favourite recipe (or recipes) is Monday 24 April 2017. All proceeds go to The Fairfield Association. We look forward to hearing from you all - and also to sampling your wonderful creations!

Photos from Wassailing January 2017

Many thanks to Carole Martin for taking some lovely photos of the event: Wassailing 2017 Album (opens in new window)

Volunteer Buffet, The Storey 7-9 pm February 9th 2017

Everyone who has made a contribution to the Fairfield Association is welcome. £10 pp

Please contact Sue (sue AT nieduszynski DOT org) or Ian (sysaf123 AT gmail DOT com) to book a place.

Wassailing, Fairfield Millennium Orchard (at the end of Sunnyside Lane), Saturday 14th January, 3pm – 4.30pm

Come and join us in this traditional Old Twelfth Night celebration. Bring drums, pots and pans to bang and clatter as we process through the trees. Both young and old are invited to come dressed as the Oak King or the Apple Queen - we will draw lots to choose the sovereigns of the orchard. Traditional offerings of toast and cider to the trees. Passing of the Wassail Cup. Dancing. Bonfire. Traditional Wassailing songs taught and performed. Suggested donation £1 per person. Procession starts at 3pm prompt.

A virtual walk around the Fairfield Nature Reserve, Storey Lecture Theatre, Thursday 1st Dec, 7.30 - 9pm

Join us on a "virtual" walk aound the reserve, looking at the history of this land and the traditional farming methods that we still use.

Stop along the ancient green path to hear about the medieval monks who used it in days gone by, and see the townscape before you from Pony Wood.

An opportunity to find out more about Faifeld's past and the landscape today.

Lecture on Lancaster's Green Spaces, Storey, October 20th 7:30-8:30 pm

Join us for a lecture titled A Gallop through the History of Lancaster’s Green Spaces, given by Roger Frankland of Lancaster Civic Society.

This lecture is free but a small donation to cover room hire would be appreciated.

 History of Lancaster's Green Spaces flyer

Dallas Road School Wildflower Project!

The Year 3 classes of the school have been visiting the reserve each term as part of their plant topic following the progress of plants throughout the seasons.

They planted wildflower seeds in a plot near the Fauna stones. Considering how difficult it is to grow wildflowers from seed it has been a remarkable success. Some of the flowers that have appeared are poppies, camomile, cornflower, buttercup and corn marigold. These should now reseed each year and hopefully colonise the rest of the area. The children have been delighted by their success and have created some excellent ebooks to highlight what they have learnt.

Well done Dallas Road Year 3!

Fairfield Fun Day 2016!

Fairfield Fun Day. Actual Fun. It's a miracle that it didn't rain given the forecast. We thought we'd be doing our bit for the Somme commemorations. But no. A glorious afternoon recreating the village fete atmosphere in our lovely corner of the city. Cake stalls, BBQ, amazing music on the Melodrome Stage. Lots of games and activities, and most remarkably blue skies!Look through the photos! You can see it!

Thank you to everyone who attended, helped out and played. Hopefully see you again in 2018!

Fairfield Fun Day 2016
(click photo to launch album)

Fairfield Fun Day 2016

It’s Fun Day this year! Yes, the biennial event when Fairfield play area is transformed into a village fete. All the favourite attractions are planned, but this year since it’s our 20th Anniversary we are introducing some wonderful new extras such as:

  • Fun Run starting at 11am (see below for details)
  • Music from local performers on the marvellous Melodrome Stage

There will be all the usual stalls to enjoy, including: cakes stall, café, BBQ & ices, local arts and crafts, side shows and games, book stall, face-painting, felt-making, fire engine, allotment produce sale, children’s competitions and announcement of winners of the Fairfield quiz.

If you're able to help, please:

  • Bring home-baked cakes/biscuits for us to sell
  • Bring books for the book stall
  • Donate prizes for Lucky Square (£2 or less) or for the Raffle
  • Put up small marquees/tents from 9am on the day, and help to take things down at 5pm
  • If you have a van it might help us move some bulky items at the beginning and end of day
  • Sign up for the tea & cake stall rota

If you can help with any of the above, please contact brennand AT gmail DOT com or bring on the day.

Also, if you can help with the following games, please contact ruth_haigh AT sky DOT com in advance:

  • Ladder & beanbag game
  • Lucky Ducks game
  • Penalty shoot out
  • Lucky Squares stall

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Join our Fun Run!

On Fun Day morning (Saturday 2nd July), there will be a 4K run with ALL profits going to Fairfield Association. The route will use the lovely orchard and reserve paths, with most of the race off road. The run stars at 11am and is open to both adults and children. It will be well supported with marshals and clearly marked with caution runner signs, arrows and km markers. Medals will be given to all finishers and there will prizes given at the end of the main Fun Day event.

Entries cost £5 per person (cheque or cash only) and can be made prior to the race or on the day. Please note that places will be limited to 300. Please phone Billy or Laura on 60537 or email lauravantatenhove AT googlemail DOT com for entry forms or more details.

Lecture on Butterflies, The Storey, Thursday 7th April, 7:30-8:30 pm

Tom Dunbar of 'Butterfly Conservation' will be giving a lecture on Butterflies, their life-cycles & how we can support & enjoy them at the Storey, first Thursday in April. This lecture is free but a small donation to cover room hire would be appreciated.

Guided Birdwalk, Fauna footpath, Wednesday 20th April, 5:30 pm

Jon Carter will be leading a bird-watching walk on 20th April, meeting on Fauna footpath (Cromwell Road end), at 5:30pm.

Tony Finn wins award!

We were thrilled to hear that Tony has recently won the Galloway Society's 'EyeCan' Community Award, recognising the important role he plays both in volunteering and running the Fairfield outreach programme for local schools.

Tony said "I am very flattered and proud to have been given this award. It is a pleasure to be part of the Fairfield Association whether it be volunteering on the nature reserve, organising events or leading school groups that visit the reserve. I have rarely considered my visual impairment to be a barrier but rather an opportunity for new ventures. The award is aptly called ‘Eyecan’. I very much hope that my achievement will be an encouragement to others."

More information can be found on the Lancaster Visitor site.

Fairfield Calendar 2016 and Christmas Cards on sale!

We still have some Fairfield 2016 calendars and Christmas cards, new for this year. Both calendars and cards feature stunning photographs of the orchard and nature reserve taken by local members.

After a week or so, if we have any calendars left (they all sold out last year!), they will go on sale at the Visitor Information Centre at the Storey. As the Information Centre take a percentage, we may need to charge a little more for the calendars if you buy them from there.

If you would like to order directly from us, they are still £8 a calendar and £4 for a pack of 6 Christmas cards. Please email fairfieldassociation2014 AT gmail DOT com, leaving your name, address and telephone number and the number of calendars and/or packs of cards you'd like to order.

For those of you who have pre-ordered our cards or calendar, we will be in touch soon to arrange collection/delivery.

Many thanks to all who submitted their beautiful photos to us for consideration.


Mandy Bannon sent the following update about the evening:

    "Thanks to all who came to Write Around Fairfield - a great success. Special thanks to our amazing writers, super duo Asmara and Ian for his inspiring photographs."

Dallas Road School win BBC 'Schools Digital Wildlife' award, using Fairfield Orchard!

We were delighted to hear that Dallas Road Primary School, Lancaster were named joint winners in the national BBC Schools Digital Wildlife Award (Key Stage 1). The innovative presentation that won the award, entitled ‘Magical Minibeasts of Fairfield Orchard’, represented a collaborative effort between teachers Emma Hudson and Adam Newton, the children, and Fairfield Association webmaster Julia McDowell.

Using iPods and iPads, the children created their own video documentaries of insects, using Fairfield Orchard as the setting. Julia, who is conducting research into mobile learning and the environment, said “It was great seeing how motivated the children were when they did this activity – creating their own films really made them focus in on the insects and the environment around them. Being able to use the Orchard as their outdoor classroom really enriches the curriculum and provides an valuable local learning space."

The presentation (best viewed at full-screen) can be found at: BBC Award Winners

Easter Egg Hunt, Fairfield Orchard, Easter Monday, 28th March 2-4 p.m.

Our annual egg hunt will take place this year on Easter Monday afternoon, 28th March in the Fairfield Orchard.

As in previous years, there will be the increasingly popular Easter Bonnet competition and refreshments will also be available.

Can you help?

The success of this event very much depends on the valuable help those of you who assist with the afternoon. We need:

  1. Four people who can give 1.5 hours of their time to serve refreshments (1.30 – 3 pm or 3 – 4.30 pm).
  2. Three people to act as stewards. An easy job of being at the orchard entrances to ensure that some of our over enthusiastic hunters do not stray! (from 1.45 – 3.45 pm).
  3. Help to move equipment and erect/dismantle marquees (at 12 noon and at 4 pm).
  4. Two people to help set out the hunt and give out clue cards (from 1 pm – 3.30 pm).

And finally but very important - the afternoon would not be complete without these! Can you make a cake or biscuits for the refreshment stall?

If you would like to help can you please contact Tony on 36426 or email: ajea DOT finn AT tiscali DOT co DOT uk.

 Easter Egg Hunt Flyer

Carol Singing - 24th December, 5pm, Sunnyside Lane

Meet 5pm outside Edenbreck Cottage (previously known as the white farmhouse end of Sunnyside Lane, LA1 5ED)

Torches/lanterns useful, song sheets provided. Children are VERY welcome as are any friends, relations, neighbours. You are welcome to come decorated in tinsel, intensely sober hats etc.


A celebration of Fairfield Nature Reserve in words and music

Thursday 19th November, at The Storey’s Auditorium 7.00pm - 9.00pm

A lively evening of stories, poems and music – come and join us for readings from our talented Fairfield writers. Our work has sprung from a series of creative writing workshops where we’ve drawn inspiration from the landscape, flora and fauna of Fairfield Nature Reserve. Featuring photo imagery and a chance for you to pen a line or two of poetry, this promises to be a Fairfield event like no other!

With music from the gifted local duo Asmara.

Birdwatching Walk, Sunnyside Lane, Saturday 7th November, 9.30 am

Jon Carter (RSPB) will be leading a birdwatching walk next Saturday, meeting at the Sunnyside Lane entrance to the Orchard. This is a chance to catch sight of some winter visitors, so bring your binoculars!

Talk about Exmoor Ponies, Storey Institute, 22nd October 7:30pm

Margaret keeps a herd of Exmoor Ponies at Silverdale where they help maintain the lovely Gaitbarrow Reserve. She will talk about the breed and their role in conservation. This is an ideal opportunity to learn about the ponies which will be grazing in the reserve.

Apple Day, Saturday 26th September, 2 - 5 pm

The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness will soon be upon us! So too, will our Apple Day which will be held in the Orchard on Saturday 26 September from 2 – 5 pm. This is a great family event so come along and enjoy the afternoon.

There will be apple games and activities, storytelling and of course refreshments.

Other attractions include the Lancaster Beekeepers, who are coming with their display of beekeeping, and John Wilkinson, a local woodturner, will have a stall of his work for sale.

As usual, for this to be another successful Fairfield event, we need your assistance. We require help on the day with the following:

  • Erecting marquees, transporting equipment and setting up games: from 12 noon and dismantling at 5 pm.
  • Serving refreshments. If you can spend an hour of your time between 1.45 – 5 pm, we would be very grateful.
  • Supervising games and activities (William Tell crossbow shoot, apple bobbing, ‘apple ladder’ game).
  • Cakes. Our events would not be complete without all the delicious cakes and biscuits that many of you make for us. These can be brought along from 1 pm.
  • Music. If any of you Fairfield musicians would like to come and sit on a bench or in the log circle and provide us with some atmosphere during the afternoon you are most welcome!
  • Crafts. If you have a craft or skill that you would like to show and sell your wares please let us know.

If you would like to help with or need more information about any of the above, please contact Tony Finn, tel: 36426, email: ajea DOT finn AT tiscali DOT co DOT uk

Many thanks and we look forward to seeing you on the day!

Kwik Cricket, Girls Grammar School Playing Field, Sunday 6th September, 2pm

Fairfield Green vs. Orchard Green. Teams to meet at 1.30 on the field.

Players entrance fee: £5 (to include cricket tea of sandwich, cake & drink).

Want to play? Contact Geoff Orr: 07969 836909

Come & watch & cheer them on (bring chairs, cushions, rugs etc to sit on).

‘Cricket tea’ available to purchase throughout the afternoon.

Help needed:

  • Volunteers (3 or 4 people) to serve the teas to players and spectators.
  • Donations of plates of sandwiches, e.g. cheese, tuna, ham, veggie, etc.
  • Donations of cake, buns, scones etc (cut/buttered etc if needed, ready to be served and possibly that could be frozen should rain postpone to the 13th). Please name your plate/tray & cover with clingfilm/foil.

Please contact Hilary Short h.short AT lancaster DOT ac DOT uk or 63890 if you can help.

Volunteers also needed to help with setting up the mini-marquee, tables, urn, kit; sound system for commentary etc before the match and taking it down afterwards. Please contact Mick Short m.short AT lancaster DOT ac DOT uk or 63890.

NOTE: if weather is bad we will host the event on Sunday 13th instead!

Open Day, Lancaster Beekeepers, Sunday 19th July, 10:30am-4pm

Have you ever wondered about the lives of bees and what goes on inside a beehive?

Accompanied by experienced beekeepers, this is a unique opportunity to visit our Apiary, learn about the life and work of honey bees, look at their environment, the kinds of plants they need and explore inside their world.

All are welcome and there is no charge for this event although donations are welcome. There will be bookable “Bee Tours” for which numbers are strictly limited to 20 people per Tour.

 Lancaster Beekeepers Open Day flyer

You may remember that in the summer of 2012, when we took over Fauna, lots of people came to dig out the ragwort that had infested the fields (we took out a volume of ragwort equivalent to the size of a house that year!). Now Mick Short is looking for ragworting volunteers again to help tackle the wet areas of Big Meadow and Upper Sourholme (the field between the Wildflower Meadow/Lucy Brook and the Aldcliffe Road gardens). We think we are now reducing the ragwort significantly and want to push on to a final (semi-) victory. The land is bound to be boggy so you will definitely need wellington boots. Long trousers and long-sleeve shirts are also strongly recommended as there could be deer ticks around.

Everyone is invited to come and take part, though it will probably be unsuitable for pre-teenagers on account of the boggy conditions. Under-16s will need to be accompanied by a responsible adult. Mick will supply the FA ragforks, instructions on how to use them and bags to put the captured ragwort in.

The Grand Ragwort Blitz will take place every day from Tuesday July 7th to Friday July 10th, from 2.00pm to 5.00pm and 6.30pm to 9.00pm.

To give him an idea of numbers, Mick would be glad if you could let him know if you can help beforehand. His email address is: m DOT short AT lancaster DOT ac DOT uk and his phone number is 63890.

Open Garden Event at Carr House Farm, end of Carr House Lane, 27th and 28th June, 10am-5pm

Visitors to the Loxam family’s Open Garden this June will not only discover one of Lancaster’s hidden gems, they’ll also be boosting Fairfield Association funds. The Fairfield Association is providing refreshments at the Open Garden event, a biennial event part of the National Gardens Scheme.

A portion of the entrance fee and the whole proceeds from the refreshments will be going to the Association. The garden is lovely and well worth a visit. There will also be visits to the Fairfield nature reserve, and training will be given on wildlife blogging using our mobile hotspots. Entry is £4 for adults (children free).

How you can help

In order to make this event a success, we need your help! Cakes, buns and tray bakes will be gratefully received for both days. Please bring them along to the event or deliver to Andrew Brennand the night before at 49 Wingate Saul Rd. Thank you.

We will also need help on Friday evening - to erect tents and prepare the site; on Sunday evening – to take down everything; and on Saturday and Sunday - to run the refreshments stall. If you can help with any of the above, please email Andrew at brennand AT gmail DOT com.

Invertebrate survey cum bioblitz, Fairfield Nature Reserve, Thursday 4th June, 18:30-20:30

Meet by noticeboard at Orchard/Fauna footpath junction, SD469612. Parking on Sunnyside Lane, LA1 5ED. Organised in conjunction with North Lancashire Wildlife Group. Further information from Chris Workman on 67326. Bring suitable clothes and footwear for going into the fields and marshes.

Bird-watching Walk, Fairfield Nature Reserve, Thursday 21st May, 18:30-20:00

Join us for a bird-watching walk, led by Jon Carter (RSPB). Meet at the Sunnyside Lane end of Fairfield Orchard. The walk will last from 1 to 1.5 hours.

Fairfield Association Talks

Over the last year or so, many people have enjoyed talks on a variety topics related to the Fairfield Association which were held at The Storey. These were funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the grant received to help buy and prepare the land, known as Flora, to become a nature reserve.

There was such interest that more talks have been organised, though these events are now funded by the FA so a small donation to help with the costs of room hire would be appreciated:

  • A presentation of Fairfield related resources held by the Archives, Thursday 12 March, 7.30pm at The Storey (in The Music Room), Meeting House Lane, Lancaster

    Learn how to get the best use out of the Archive service, led by Vicci McCann, Senior Archivist at Lancashire Archives, Preston.

  • Visit to the Lancashire Archives, Thursday 19 March, 10.30-12 noon, Lancashire Archives, Bow Lane, Preston

    Learn about the wide range of historical resources, records and maps relating to the Fairfield Nature Reserve and area held at the Archives, led by Vicci McCann, Senior Archivist at Lancashire Archives, Preston.

     Fairfield Association Archive Events Flyer

  • 'Birdwatching in the nature reserve: Which birds to look for and how to recognize them, including their calls', Thursday March 26th, 7.30pm at The Storey, Lecture Theatre

    A presentation given by Jon Carter of RSPB and Ian Nieduszynski.

Introduction to Beekeeping, Truckhaven Conference Centre Carnforth, 14th March

If you would like to find out more about honeybees, why not come to the Lancaster Beekeepers’ introductory “Introduction to Basic Beekeeping” course on Saturday 14 March, to be held at Truckhaven Conference Centre Carnforth. If you have ever wondered about keeping bees and are curious as to what is involved then this one-day course for you!

For further information, contact Huston Clements: h.clements AT laposte DOT net or visit the Lancaster Beekeepers website.

Wassailing 2015

The Gladly Solemn Sound choir - photo by Helen Hicks

On Saturday 17th January, despite frightful weather forecasts, nearly a hundred people gathered in the orchard for the sixth annual Lancaster Wassailing. We've actually organised seven, but one year we had to cancel because of extremely bad weather.

We were determined not to cancel this year, even if the rain was falling upwards. Our resolve was rewarded by a fine and clear afternoon, so those assembled enjoyed the procession through the apple trees banging pots and drums and chanting, a Mummers' play from the Stone the Crows Border Morris side and some treacherous looking morris dancing, given how soft the going was underfoot.

An Oak King and Apple Queen were selected, the trees libated with cider-soaked toast, Knights and Ladies rewarded for their efforts over the year (thanks Tony and Jacqui Finn and David Elliott!) and Ye Olde Raffle took place. Everyone was able to participate in the drinking of the heady wassail brew and we all retreated to the snugness of the bonfire to enjoy singing from The Gladly Solemn Sound.

A grand day out - thanks to all who helped and participated!

Here are some of the photos taken on the day on our Picasa gallery (thanks Helen and Carole!).

Princes Trust volunteers to repair Orchard paths

From this Monday, 23rd February, to Tuesday 3rd March, Prince’s Trust volunteers will be repairing the Orchard paths. They are 16 - 25 year olds under the supervision of Morecambe Fire Service and will be improving the path quality that will particularly make it easier for wheelchair users.

Local Hedge Laying training and competition!

The hedge running alongside the Girls’ Grammar School playing field and walking/cycle path parallel to the railway line from Sylvester Street to Carr House Lane is to be laid. This is important to create a good wildlife corridor and safe haven for birds.

To make it more interesting, local charity Lancaster Green Spaces have applied for money to fund hedge laying training. The free expert tuition is taking place on February 27th & 28th, from 9.30am - 3.30pm, with prizes awarded for the most improved teams, donated by Lancaster City Council and Councillor Jon Barry.

You can come along to watch or if you would like to participate and learn this skill please contact Ian Procter, Fairfield Association Volunteer coordinator on sysaf123-volunteer AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk or on 07811970595.

 Hedgelaying poster

Amended Fairfield Association Constitution

At the AGM on June 12th we will be voting on an amended constitution. This is based on the new model constitution provided by the Charities Commission. If you wish to read the new constitution prior to the vote, please download it from the link below. We have also provided a jargon-free (as far as possible!) commentary on the document in order to explain what the changes mean and why they're necessary.

 Fairfield Association Amended Constitution.

 Fairfield Association Amended Constitution - Commentary

Anti-social behaviour

The play area and the Orchard continue to be immensely popular and successful. Unfortunately, from time to time groups of underage drinkers (mainly from outside the Fairfield area) congregate in the area because they have been moved on from elsewhere. The Association takes seriously all incidents of anti-social behaviour, bullying or anything else, and works closely with schools and the police to make sure that the play area and the Orchard continue to be accessible and friendly places for everyone to meet and enjoy themselves.

The whole of Fairfield is now an Alcohol-Free Zone.

i) if you see young people drinking, particularly in the early evening, if you see anybody vandalising the area or any other anti-social behaviour, please ring the police on (01524) 596649 (voicemail), or email If you would prefer not to draw attention to yourself by a visit from the police, simply say so when you make the call.

ii) If you see empty bottles on the Green, please put them in the bin.

iii) Please support the efforts of the police, by attending the monthly PACT meetings and making your experiences and views known. Our Police Community Safety Officer, Cath Elliott.

Please report damage to the play equipment to Andrew Brennand: (01524) 542795.

Keeping Up our Numbers…

We have raised a lot of money to provide the play area, Millennium Orchard and Fauna. But we still need your support if we are to build on our successes. In particular we need more active members. Under ‘Membership’ you will find a downloadable membership form and details of the scheme to pay annual subscriptions by standing order if you prefer. In the meantime, to join the Association please contact our Membership Secretary - see the Contact Us page.