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.)
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!
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.
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
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.
WRITE AROUND FAIRFIELD SHOWCASE - update
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:
Four people who can give 1.5 hours of their time to serve refreshments (1.30 – 3 pm or 3 – 4.30 pm).
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).
Help to move equipment and erect/dismantle marquees (at 12 noon and at 4 pm).
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.
WRITE AROUND FAIRFIELD SHOWCASE
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.
- 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.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.