AS THE days get longer and slightly warmer, the gardens and their inhabitants are beginning to wake up.

It’s our chance to take a stroll in the fresh air and recharge our batteries following what has been a long winter.

During April the local Scout group and Guide leaders collected all the wood from the banks of the River Aire which has been lying there since it was washed down during the winter floods, and had a bonfire which you might have seen or even got involved with.

The clean-up is a long, slow process but very necessary as the riverside walk is one which is dog friendly and enjoyed by friends and families all year round. It is also home to wildlife and birds including kingfishers.

The monthly river fly checks have also now started. You might have seen Nick carrying them out – the riverbed is disturbed and the subsequent plume of sediment collected.

He also checks for eight different species including fresh water shrimps, cased caddisfly larvae, caseless caddisfly larvae and stonefly larvae plus various winged nymphs.

This all gives an accurate picture of what can be expected at any given time of year on a month-by-month basis. Any dramatic changes can indicate pollution changes.

The Environment Agency analyses and records the results, and sets trigger levels for each location.

This will be especially important this year as nesting sites and riverside wildlife homes will have been damaged in the floods, and it is possible that there was additional pollution created at the same time.

The gardens are also coming alive and during May: we will be introducing some garden tours and talks. Watch this space and our website for more details.

One species which is especially important for the gardens are the bees. Did you know that at East Riddlesden Hall we are home to the beehives of the Airedale Beekeepers group?

From May to August there will be a series of walks and talks to explore the Wonderful World of Bees. The dates are May 23, June 6, June 27, July 4, and August 1.

Each one will be slightly different so check the website for further details. All the talks and tours are from 1.30pm to 3pm and some are aimed specifically at children.

Another by-product of spring is when we discover what has potentially been eating our textile collections and furnishings.

Over the next few Tuesdays a different room in the house will be the subject of scrutiny, and a talk on how we care for collections and any specific conservation issue which is necessary to implement in each room.

In May we will be introducing some practical ‘have a go’ textile craft sessions which are relevant to the manor house’s historical background.

Have you missed any of our previous Fame articles in the Keighley? If so, simply visit your, click on What’s On then Out & About, and you’ll find a host of articles about the National Trust manor house.