Butterfly Bank  - photo above shows a Small Blue on the BB on 23 May 2023

The Brilliant Butterflies Project was set up in 2021 and worked with Croydon Council and local communities to create more wildflower areas for butterflies and other insects. They selected a site in our car park field on which to build a Butterfly Bank. The intention was that when the Project ended in 2022 the maintenance of the BB would be taken on by FSW.

They created a chalk bund in our car park field on 19th  April 2021. See the section Creating the Chalk Bank 19 April 2021 below for details of the construction work.

On Sunday 25th April this was sown, by FSW volunteers, with butterfly friendly seeds and planted with 250 small plug plants of various wildflower species (Birds-foot Trefoil, Cowslip, Knapweed (greater & lesser), Ox-eye Daisy, Rock-rose, Scabious, Thyme and Yarrow) to supplement the chalk grassland seed mix. This will help support many species including the Small Blue Butterfly. See the section Planting the Chalk Bank 25 April 2021.

The Kidney Vetch and Marjoram plug plants that should have been included were not available this season so in 2022 the FSW purchased another set of 144 plug plants of Kidney Vetch, Marjoram, Wild Thyme, Rock Rose, Hairy Violet and Small Scabious. These were planted on the BB on a workday on 8th May 2022. See the Workdays page for details.

We were advised that the Butterfly Bank would take a year to establish and 2 or 3 years to thrive. We were assured that the low nutrient chalk would ensure that, thereafter, the wildflowers will last for many years with very little maintenance.

However, by the end of 2023 it was clear that the chalk bunds sited around Croydon were not achieving the objective of keeping down grass and encouraging wild flowers. Our bund was clearly very overgrown with grass with few of the original plants thriving. One of the Friends knew of a much more successful butterfly bank elsewhere that was not composed of chalk. It was decided that she would work on a small area of our bund, digging out the grass, fertilising with top soil and well rotted manure and replanting with butterfly friendly flowers. This work is described in the 2024 section below

Please do not walk on the planted area and keep your dogs away.

Entries below show development of the chalk bank in reverse order with the most recent at the top.

2024

BB and LG Plants introduced Spring 2024.pdf BB and LG Plants introduced Spring 2024.pdf
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Type : pdf
24/5/24

A total of 14 flowers opening on the BB so far this year in order of sighting (np = new planting):

1 - Dandelion - 4/3/24
2 - Buttercup - 7/4/24
3 - Coltsfoot - 10/4/24
4 - Common Sorrel - 10/4/24
5 - Horseshoe Vetch - 18/4/24 (np)
6 - Salad Burnet - 18/4/24 (np)
7 - Mouse Ear - 4/5/24
8 - Rock Rose - 5/5/24 (np)
9 - Kidney Vetch 10/5/24
10 - Ox-eye Daisies - 18/5/24
11 - Greater Celandine - 18/5/24 (np)
12 - Mouse Ear Hawkweed - 19/5/24 (np)
13 - Dropwort - 23/5/24 (np)
14 - Wild Pansy - 24/5/24 (np)
24th May - report by Valerie Baldry

I worked on the BB this morning. I had transplanted a tiny wild pansy which had self-seeded on a path at OLF. I didn’t think it would survive as it was very puny but it is flourishing on the bund and flowering. I have cleared a bit more of the grass off the bund as some of the plants we want will soon be available. I have also planted a bit of unwanted bird’s foot trefoil from my son’s garden and put some  yarrow back into the bund which had been unavoidably taken out with the grass.

Before
After
23rd May

First butterfly of the year spotted on the BB - a Common Blue.

Dropwort flower spotted amongst the new planting - making a total of 13 species seen in flower.
Dropwort on the BB - 23rd May 2024
Common Blue butterfly on the BB - 23rd May 2024
18th & 19th May

Three more plants now in flower on the BB - Ox-eye Daisies (left below) - well established from past years - and Greater Celandine & Mouse Ear Hawkweed (right below) , both planted this spring.  
Above - Ox-eye Daisies on BB - 18th May 2024
Above - Mouse Ear Hawkweed on BB - 19th May 2024
Below - Greater Celandine on BB - 18th May 2024
12th May

We got so much done this morning I could not believe it. I had great help from Kay and Jenny but also Robin (who is doing the Duke of Edinburgh’s award) and her mother, Katy.
We have planted the following since we started working on the bund:
 
Centaury, Clustered Bellflower, Dropwort, Dwarf Thistle, Lady’s Bedstraw, Common Rock-Rose
Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Horseshoe Vetch, St. John’s-wort, Rough Hawkbit' Bird’s-foot Trefoil
Sainfoin, Selfheal, Salad Burnet, Small Scabious, Saw-wort, Common Vervain, Hairy Plantain
Greater Celandine , Viper’s Bugloss

So far nothing has died but fingers crossed. 
There are also a couple of things that I am not certain about. I will check them again when they are bigger or flowering. I will be adding  marjoram as soon as it becomes available and also Sneezewort, Common Harebell, Field Scabious, Fox and Cubs, Pasque Flower, Devil’s-bit Scabious, Wild Thyme, Tufted Vetch and Wild Pansy.  

A lot of the bigger plants were free as I transplanted them from my son’s garden.  
The Greater Celandines had self-seeded into a path I was weeding so were free but may not survive.  The Hairy Violas Ted wants will not be available until next year.  

5th May

Work by Valerie Baldry & Jenny Bean - planting and weeding.

Another flower spotted amongst the new planting today was this Rock Rose (below) which was planted last week. 

Rock Rose on the BB - first seen on 5th May 2024
Above - Kidney Vetch on BB - 10th May 2024
Below - Mouse Ear on BB - 4th May 2024
Salad Burnet on the BB - seen on 18th April 2024
Common Sorrel - seen on 10th April 2024
Horseshoe Vetch on the BB - seen on 18th April 2024
Coltsfoot - seen on 10th April 2024
Buttercup - seen on 7th April 2024
Dandelion - seen on 4th March 2024
21st April report by Valerie, photo by Kay

Work by Valerie Baldry, Jenny Bean and Kay Ellis

Kay, Jenny and I spent another few hours battling with the chalk. However, we were much encouraged by seeing that, so far, nothing we planted has died and some plants are doing really well and are even flowering. We have cleared another small area and have 12 little plants waiting to find a home there when we have finished working on the  ground. I want to add some marjoram and hairy violas (and perhaps more horseshoe vetch) when I can  get hold of them but apart from that I believe we will hold back for a while and just weed, water and cosset  what we have already planted.

18th April report by Valerie. photos by Kay

Work by Valerie Baldry, Jenny Bean and Kay Ellis

Kay, Jenny and I worked very hard this afternoon and Kay has taken before and after photos. We have planted an area of the bund with 3 salad burnets (cut right down), 3 centaurys, I lady’s bedstraw, 3 dropwort and 2 rock roses. These  are all very large plants and we will have to see how they cope with being transplanted. We dug an immense amount of manure into the cleared area so fingers crossed.

The good news is that the horseshoe vetch which we planted in the flat area is still alive and now has flowers! There are also flowers on the salad burnet. I have purchased 12 more plants from the farm but we did not have the time or energy to put them in today. I bought 3 vipers bugloss, 2 St John’s wort, 2 sainfoin, 1 rough hawkbit, 1 more small scabious, 2 lady’s bedstraw and a bird’s foot trefoil. When we find some more time and energy we will clear another patch and put them in. I am also considering planting two more areas of horseshoe vetch if what I have done with the first patch of three plants continues to work. 

14th April Report by Valerie

Jenny and I have worked valiantly today clearing a small area of the bund near the entrance. We have dug some topsoil and manure into the area we have cleared of grass etc and will return tomorrow afternoon to see how it looks. It is all experimentation really to see what combination of chalk and soil and compost works best. It will be a matter of waiting and seeing.

We intend to try and relocate to the bund some established plants: 3 centaury, 3 salad burnets, 3 rock roses and a large lady’s bedstraw. 

Jenny and I will be working on the bund tomorrow afternoon. We will also be there on Thursday afternoon and I think Kay may be joining us. Kay and I will be working there Sunday morning. Don’t expect any rapid progress though.  It is hard work..

On 7th April Valerie and Kay, extended the planted area - planting the following - 3 Dwarf Thistles, 3 Horseshoe Vetch (which may not survive there but worth a try), 1 Common Vervain, some more Dropwort and one more Mouse-eared Hawkweed. 

On 19th March Valerie and Kay, planted the following - all from 9cm pots and purchased for £40:

3 Clustered Bellflower, campanula glomerata 
3 Drop Wort
3 Mouse-ear Hawkweed
3 Self Heal
6 Salad  Burnet
3 Small Scabious
3 Saw-wort
On 19th March Valerie Baldry and Kay Ellis started work on the BB by clearing grass and digging over the chalk. Arisings were removed to the edge of the woodland at the side of the field.

They were dismayed at the density of the chalk - with almost no soil mixed in. They propose to bring some topsoil to mix in before planting and perhaps well rotted manure to spread later.
2023

 27 species seen in flower so far this year on the BB (* = not seen on the BB before)

Bindweed, Field *
Birds-foot Trefoil
Buttercup, Bulbous *
Coltsfoot
Common Sorrel
Common Wintercress* (a new species for our wood)
Corn Chamomile
Cowslip *
Dandelion
Dock, Curly* (a new species for our wood)
Groundsel *
Hawkweed *
Hairy Bittercress *
Hedge Mustard
Kidney Vetch
Marjoram *
Medick Black *
Nipplewort*
Ox-eye Daisies 
Ragwort
Scabious
Spiny Sow Thistle *
Thistle
Viper's Bugloss
Wild Carrot*
Wild Thyme
Yarrow

1 species of butterfly photographed this year on the BB
Small Blue

In addition 2 gatekeepers and 3 Meadow Browns were seen on the BB on 20th July by Steve Bolton. No other sitings were reported.


26 July - Wild Carrot on the BB for the first time. Easily identified by the tiny pink dot in the centre of each umbel.
22 July - Marjoram on the BB for the first time.
Drone photos 15th July 2023

These drone photos, bNeil Rodgers show the current state of the BB. Note the drone pilot in the top left of the top one. Photos from 2022 and 2021 are shown right for comparison.
July 2021
July 2022
Work Session 2nd July 2023

The Work Team made a start on repairing and improving the fence around the Butterfly Bank. The old fence -posts were leaning badly and the surround was so think with grass growth that the BB could hardly been seen.

New posts were fitted along the top and the outer perimeter was strimmed to remove the long grass.

See the Work Sessions page for further  details.
9 July - Field Bindweed & Ragwort
4 July - Thistle
27 June - Yarrow back again.
26 June - Wild Thyme back on the BB. This was planted as plug plants last year.
20 June - Dock, Curly - spot the curled lower leaves which give this plant its name. This is a new species for our wood.
20 June - Corn Chamomile back - on the edge of the BB
17 June - Viper's Bugloss on the BB (blue flowers in centre). This was seen on the BB last year and was a first for our wood.
17 June - Nipplewort - appeared today on the BB for the first time and also in Court Wood Grove where we have seen it in previous years (yellow flower).
13 June - Scabious seems to have appeared here before anywhere else. There will be lots in the fields soon.
8 June 2023 - Birds-foot Trefoil on the BB for the first time this year.
8 June 2023 - Prolific growth now on BB
1 June 2023 - General View of the BB showing lots of Ox-eye Daisies.
1 June 2023 - Spiny Sow Thistle on BB.
1 June 2023 - First sighting of Hedge Mustard this year. BB was full of it last year.
25 May 2023 - Hawkweed on the BB for the first time. Although widespread in the fields it has not been on the BB before.
23 May 2023 - Looks like the Butterfly Bank has been successful with the first Selsdon Woods born Small Blue (male) seen this morning. After seeing them for the first time in summer last year we hoped there would be both sexes and there obviously was. Also seen on the BB today is Kidney Vetch (right) - the food plant of the caterpillar of this species.
20 May 2023 - Black Medick (below) - appearing on BB for the first time this year.
7 May 2023 - Common Sorrel (below) now showing some colour on the BB.

And Common Wintercress (right) - a new species for our wood..

4 May 2023 - Surprisingly, we have not seen any buttercups on the BB before, although they're widespread in fields. At last there are now 2 Bulbous Buttercups on the bund.
11 April 2023 - Ted walked to the Butterfly Bank and planted two pots of Horseshoe Vetch (donated by Valerie) on the flat part and watered them in. One settled a bit lower and got covered by wet chalk. Photo shows one of the new plants on 13/4/23.
11 April 2023 - Also now on the BB what looks like a Cowslip. If so a new species for the BB and not one included in the initial seeding. Lots of Dandelions there too today.
1 April 2023 - Groundsel peeping through the chalk - a new species for the BB and not one included in the initial seeding.
25 March 2023 - Hairy Bittercress on the top of the bank  - a new species for the BB and not one included in the initial seeding.
20 March 2023 - The first flower spotted on the Butterfly Bank this year a Coltsfoot.
(A second appeared a few days later in the same place as seen on 13/3/22.)
2022

Sunday 27th November 2022 - The Work Session team gave the Butterfly Bank a thorough haircut removing all the arisings to Greenhill Shaw woodland. 

It now looks much tidier but there is plenty of vegetation ready to grow next spring. Another sign of digging was found  in the northerly corner.
Thursday 6th October - Linda Morris made a start on an Autumn tidy of the Butterfly Bank. She began by tackling the tall bare twiggy stems of the Hedge Mustard - putting the cuttings outside the fence to be cleared away at a later date. The fence had been flattened in several places. Further thought will be given as to fencing for the coming year. The burrows seem to have been enlarged.
21 August 2022 - After 2 months with virtually no rain everything on the BB is looking pretty dead. However, a shower 2 days ago resulted in the revival of one or two scabious flowers and on one I spotted this Gatekeeper. It is a terrible photo taken at a distance with my phone but as this is the first Gatekeeper recorded on the BB I thought it was worth showing. This raises the total number of butterfly species seen on the BB this year to 5.
Small Blue
SmallTortoiseshell
Small White
Large White (seen on the Butterfly Walk 9/7/22)
Gatekeeper
23 July 2022 - A second hole appeared - seen to the left of the original in this photo.
22 July 2022 - There is now a burrow in the Butterfly Bank with clear signs of digging in the chalk. It is near the westernmost corner close to the white notice asking folks to keep off. We  shall watch it closely for any developments.
Butterfly Bank - July 2022
These photos by Ruth Budd show the state of the bank in July 2022. The bank is almost entirely covered with tall plants - the dominant being the Hedge Mustard with the flowers now over. The grass in the surrounding field remains uncut but a path around the bank has been trodden down.
The picture below - taken from the same location as the one above - shows what the BB looked like exactly a year ago in July 2021.
The drone photos below, by Neil Rodgers, give a different perspective - showing how, although the raised bank is well covered, there are gaps in the flat area where some chalk can still be seen. 
13 July 2022 - Ragweed now growing on the BB. This is widespread in the fields.
1 July 2022 - A thistle on the BB. This is well developed and so has obviously been there for some time but was probably initially taken for Knapweed which is widespread on the BB.
1 July 2022 - Total species seen so far

PLANTS 24
Autumn Hawkbit, Bird's Foot Trefoil, 
Coltsfoot, Corn Chamomile, 
Cornflower, Corn Marigold, 
Dandelion, Groundsel, 
Hedge Mustard, Kidney Vetch, 
Knapweed, Knotgrass
Ox-eye Daisy, Poppy
Ragweed, Salad Burnet, 
Scabious, Scarlet Pimpernel, 
Smooth Sow Thistle, Speedwell
Thistle, Viper's Bugloss, 
Weld, Yarrow

BUTTERFLIES 4
Small Blue, SmallTortoiseshell
Small White, Large White (seen on the Butterfly Walk 9/7/22)
20 June 2022 - A clump of Wild Thyme showing today. This was one of the species planted as plug plants on April 14th - now growing strongly:-)
16 June 2022Third Butterfly on the BB - Small Blue - Seen for the first time in our wood on Kidney Vetch - its known food plant.This butterfly is scarce and in serious decline so we are delighted to see it.
Thanks to Ruth Budd for the photos. 
8 June 2022 First Butterfly on the BB this year - Small Tortoiseshell
14 September 2021First Butterfly ever seen on BB- Small White 
10 June 2022 - A couple of purple Poppies on the BB buried behind the Hedge Mustard. We've had red and orange Poppies but these are the first of this colour.
31 May 2022 - A flower new to our wood - Viper's Bugloss now flowering on the Butterfly Bank. This was not in the list of seeds supplied to us last year so probably arrived with the chalk. Thanks to Ruth Budd for the photo.
29 May 2022 - Scabious also now flowering again (almost).
26 May 2022 - Scarlet Pimpernel now back again. Thanks to Ruth Budd for the photo.
22 May 2022 - Two more of last years's species now showing flower - Knapweed and Yarrow. Thanks to Ruth Budd for the photos
8 May 2022 - Three further species are now in flower this year on the BB - Poppy (seen last year), Kidney Vetch and Salad Burnet. This raises the total number of species seen in flower so far to 21. Thanks to Karen Fox for the photos

Autumn Hawkbit, Bird's Foot Trefoil, Coltsfoot, Corn Chamomile, Cornflower, Corn Marigold, Dandelion, Groundsel, Hedge Mustard, Kidney Vetch, Knapweed, Knotgrass, Ox-eye Daisy, Poppy, Salad Burnet, Scabious, Scarlet Pimpernel, Smooth Sow Thistle, Speedwell, Weld, Yarrow

22 April - The Hedge Mustard is back - the second of last year's plants to return.
25 April - First Dandelion on the Butterfly Bank.This raises the number of species seen on the BB so far to 19
Autumn Hawkbit, Bird's Foot Trefoil, Coltsfoot, Corn Chamomile, Cornflower, Corn Marigold, Dandelion, Groundsel, 
Hedge Mustard, Knapweed, Knotgrass, Ox-eye Daisy, Poppy, Scabious, Scarlet Pimpernel
Smooth Sow Thistle, Speedwell, Weld, Yarrow
April 14th 2022
Took delivery of more plug plants to top up the planting on the Butterfly Bank. We were told to expect the balance of our plug plants in September 2021 but they never arrived. Now that the Brilliant Butterflies project has ended we can no longer get the plants from them so FSW has bought these.

Items
Unit PriceQuantity Amount
HAIRY VIOLET
£ 0.7224£ 17.28
SMALL SCABIOUS
£ 0.7224£ 17.28
KIDNEY VETCH
£ 0.7224£ 17.28
MARJORAM
£ 0.7224£ 17.28
ROCK ROSE
£ 0.7224£ 17.28
WILD THYME
£ 0.7224£ 17.28
Subtotal£ 103.68
Shipping & Handling
Standard Weekday Courier Delivery
£ 5.00
Total£ 108.68
April 10th 2022
First insect of the year seen on the BB - a 7 Spot Ladybird.
April 7th 2022
Groundsel. Not new for the BB but a first sighting for the year.
March 13th 2022
This small flower sighted in the south westerly corner of the BB is a Coltsfoot - easily identified by its unusual stem - see below.
This is a first occurrence of this species in or wood and not one listed amongst the plug plants and seeds planted last year. It may have come in with the chalk. This raises the number of species seen on the BB so far to 18.

Butterfly Bank - January 2nd 2022
On the first Workday of the year we gave the BB a bit of a trim, cutting back all tall growing plants to promote new growth when the spring comes.
2021

Butterfly Bank - December - 2021
Although frost 2 days before had seen off some of the flowers there was still plenty of foliage on December 1st even as we entered winter.

All species seen on the BB so far (17):
Autumn Hawkbit, Bird's Foot Trefoil, Corn Chamomile, Cornflower, Corn Marigold, Groundsel, 
Hedge Mustard, Knapweed, Knotgrass, Ox-eye Daisy, Poppy, Scabious, Scarlet Pimpernel
Smooth Sow Thistle, Speedwell, Weld, Yarrow
Butterfly Bank - November 1st - 2021
These lovely photos from Ruth Budd show continued flowering of the Butterfly Bank on November  1st.
Butterfly Bank - October 16-31 - 2021
Spotted a number of worm casts on the BB today - see centre of the photo. This is another sign of new life. A bank of chalk would not seem to be a very attractive environment for worms and it is perhaps surprising that the casts are so brown.
Butterfly Bank - October 1-15 - 2021
There are still flowers on the BB this month including this one which is new to the wood and new to me. It is a spiked flower that I have been watching, waiting for the colour of the flowers to show. They are now clearly yellow and can be identified as Weld - one to add to the Flowers Full List.
Also on 10th October I spotted this solitary red Poppy. We had a Poppy on the BB back in August but it wasn't a red one.
Butterfly Bank - September 2021
Plenty more growth on the BB this month as shown in the gallery below - photos by Ruth. New sightings are: Small White Butterfly, Ox-eye Daisy, Knapweed
Butterfly Bank - August 2021
The photo below shows the state of the BB on 12th August with some large plants now appearing and the general dusting of seedlings thriving. The gallery photos, most by Ruth Budd, show some of the identifiable plants (species seen by end of August recorded below).
Autumn Hawkbit, Bird's Foot Trefoil, Corn Chamomile, Cornflower, 
Corn Marigold, Groundsel, Hedge Mustard, Knotgrass, Poppy, 
Scabious, Scarlet Pimpernel, Smooth Sow Thistle, Speedwell, Yarrow
Butterfly Bank - July 2021
These photos by Steve Budd show the state of the bank in July 2021. There is sporadic growth of plug plants and some seedlings especially in the flat area. 

Butterfly Bank - first flowers, June 2021

This Ox-eye Daisy (right) was photographed by Ruth Budd on 11 June 2021 - the first flower to appear on the Butterfly Bank. Two more Ox-eyes appeared followed on 24 June by this Birds Foot Trefoil (below) - again photographed by Ruth.

Butterfly Bank greening after the rain 25 May 2021

The photos below taken by Ruth Budd show the response of the BB to a few days of heavy rain. The seeds have begun to sprout and even a worm has come to visit.

Fencing the Chalk Bank 9 May 2021

The ridge fence on the top of the bund had been knocked down so FSW decided to replace it with a perimeter fence. BB supplied some extra fencing as we had run out and the FSW workdays team erected this and relocated our earlier fence so that the whole bund was enclosed. This was done on a workday and is reported in full on the Workdays page.

The photograph shows the team working in the distance.

The past fortnight has been very dry and the FSW have been watering the plants. However, the last 2 days have seen a lot of rain and unless the drought resumes it should not be necessary to water much from now on.

Planting the Chalk Bank 25 April 2021

A number of FSW volunteers were ready and waiting by the toilet block when Laura Suckley from Wild London arrived in her camper van with the plug plants and trowels and dibbers. We opened the height barrier at the entrance to the car park to let her through. She drove up to the chalk bank and unloaded everything then advised us on how the planting should be done. The plants were to be spaced out over the bund and the flattened area and after that was finished she would give us all seed to sow. The plug plants comprised Birds-foot Trefoil, Cowslip, Scabious, Knapweed, Ox-eye Daisy, Thyme and Yarrow. We set to work, assisted after a while by an 8 year old girl and her mum who readily joined in.

While we were planting Neale undertook another job - the provision of a low fence along the top of the bund to deter dogs and people from running or walking over it.

Once the plugs were all planted we each took handfuls of seed and strewed it over the surface, raking it in with our feet to prevent it being blown away by the wind. A full list of all the plant and seed species is given in the link below.

The final job was watering in al the plants and seeds. Several folks had brought watering cans and Laura supplied a few more. Laura also had a large container of water but most of it had to be carried up from the toilet block. The weather has been very dry of late but Laura assured us that there would be no need for more watering for a while, even if the drought continued, as the plants are all very tolerant of dry conditions.

Many thanks to all who helped today and to those who took the photographs in the gallery below.

20 April 2021 
The gallery of photos below shows the completed chalk bank from different directions before any planting took place.
The photograph to the left, by Terri McNally, shows the team setting up for the construction work and that above the location and size of the new chalk bank relative to the field. Ted Forsyth watched the creation process and his report and photographs are shown below.

Creating the Chalk Bank 19 April 2021

I arrived in the car park field at 8.30am and found an assortment of vehicles already there. Steve Bolton, from Butterfly Conservation, and his two helpers were setting out the area on the ground where the bund and flat area were to go. 

Once that was done the area was surrounded by a temporary plastic fence then the digger was used to remove the turf layer.  The turf was then moved to create the bund and the digger was used to run over it to firm it before returning to scrape up subsoil which was spread over the new bund. The digger bucket was used to smooth out the soil over the bund surface. 

Two large tipper lorries arrived with their loads of fine chalk and tipped it in piles on to the flat scraped area. The chalk was transferred to the bund to cover it up to 30cm deep and the flat area was then smoothed out. I left at 11.48am before the work was actually finished but there was little more to do other than tidy up.