Three Brooks orienteering and nature trail launch draws the crowds

Orienteering Course Launch

Bradley Stoke’s new orienteering and nature trail got off to a flying start on Saturday with 180 people taking advantage of the fine weather to try out the 22-checkpoint course laid out in the Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve.

Members of Bristol Orienteering Klub (BOK) and the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group were on hand to offer friendly help and advice to the many individuals and family groups attracted by the chance to discover unexplored corners of the nature reserve, which incorporates Savages Wood, Webbs Wood and Sherbourne Brake.

Volunteers from the Castlebeck CREATE project, who will help to maintain the facility, were also on hand to celebrate the launch and have a go at the course. The group is based at the Winterbourne View independent hospital, located in Bradley Stoke’s south-eastern corner.

Winterbourne View is a 24-bed unit specialising in the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of men and women with a learning disability. The purpose-built facility, which has been open for almost two years, has a staff of 53 specialist nurses, carers and support workers.

The CREATE project, operating in partnership with South Gloucestershire Council, allows Castlebeck to provide a new form of active community-based therapy for patients/residents and helps to improve staff satisfaction and engagement.

The volunteer team, formed of staff and residents working together on an equal footing, visits the nature reserve once a week to carry out maintenance activities that include general litter picking and cleaning the newly-installed orienteering posts. Each post is topped with a steel “rubbing plaque” illustrating an animal or plant that can be found within the reserve, but ironically some of the birds in the reserve seem to enjoy perching on the posts and fouling the plaques!

Orienteering and Nature Trail Launch

Liz White, manager of Winterbourne View, said:

“Our residents and staff are very pleased to be able to help look after this new facility and look forward to exploring all the different parts of the nature reserve. This is the first of many projects we hope to undertake as part of our commitment to looking after our local environment through partnership working with South Gloucestershire Council.”

Hazel Southern, CREATE lead for Castlebeck, added:

“This is a positive project for both our staff and residents to take part in and work alongside each other. It is very encouraging for our residents, who are particularly vulnerable, to work with an established community in such a positive way.”

“It’s also a fantastic opportunity for the adults Castlebeck supports to really achieve something long-lasting and for us as a company to give something back to the community in which we work.”

Maps of the orienteering and nature trail, together with details of suggested courses, etching sheets and notes for teachers/group leaders can be downloaded from the orienteering page on the SGC website. Information packs are also on sale at Bradley Stoke Library or from SGC on 01454 863592.

More photos of the launch event may be viewed in the BOK PicasaWeb Gallery [album; slideshow].

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