Another chance to join the ‘Big Spring Clean’

Bradley Stoke Green Gym's Big Spring Clean.

Bradley Stoke residents have another chance to “spring into action” this weekend, by participating in the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group’s ‘Big Spring Clean’ on Saturday (5th April) between 10am and 12noon.

The event provides another opportunity for local residents to help clean up their neighbourhood and open spaces and it follows hot on the heels of similar initiatives organised by Bradley Stoke Green Gym, Bradley Stoke in Bloom and the Friends of Jubilee Green over the past few weeks.

Anyone wishing to take part should meet at the tool store behind Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre at 10am on Saturday. Litter pickers and bags will be provided and a limited supply of gloves will be available.

In the afternoon, the group will be undertaking bramble bashing, scrub clearance, turf cutting and ground disturbance in Bowsland Meadow.

Photo: Bradley Stoke Green Gym volunteers at their Bring Spring Clean event on 13th March.

Nature Conservation Group’s report for March by Sara Messenger

On Saturday 1st March, the workday was divided between coppicing and litter picking. Most of the group spent the day coppicing hazel trees in Webb’s Wood, where we would usually have been thinning ash but that activity is still restricted until the threat of ash dieback disease (chalara fraxinea) has passed. Did you know that Webb’s Wood dates back as far as 1725 but wasn’t part of the nature reserve until 2005?

The 1st was also the first of our ‘Big Spring Cleans’ (BSC), which saw the volunteers, lead by Gill Smith, collect several bags of rubbish each. For Joss, from LV= Insurance, this was her first BSC and she said: “I really enjoyed it (which sounds funny when you’re talking about litter picking!) The public that were passing were really grateful and said some lovely things about the effort the volunteers put in. It was quite satisfying and put a spring in my step for the rest of the day.”

Bradley Stoke Green Gym also ran a BSC on 13th March, with ten volunteers filling over 20 bags in just two hours. A black purse with a white edge containing named bank cards was found, if you think this might be yours, it has been dropped off at Southmead Police Station. Our thanks go to Streetcare who collect all the rubbish for us.

Our ornithologist Rob Williams tells us many uncommon birds have been spotted on the reserve this year, including nuthatch, redwing, a solitary male pheasant and a firecrest (Britain’s smallest bird), while on the lake, water rails and teal have also been seen.

Sadly, this year, we will not be having a Fungus Foray, following the news that Justin Smith, lead ecologist at Bristol Fungi, passed away this month, leaving a wife and son. Justin has supported South Gloucestershire Council over many years by offering his extensive knowledge during their autumn programme of nature walks. He led many forays around South Gloucestershire, in the local woodlands, community spaces and nature reserves, including the Three Brooks, helping us to discover the magical wonder of fungi.

He had an amazing ability to engage people of all ages in his passion for the natural world. As our colleagues at Avon Wildlife Trust have written, Justin made a huge contribution in a variety of roles including volunteer, Trustee of the Trust, tutor and recently as Woodland and Wildlife Officer for Bristol City Council. Justin’s enthusiasm, optimism and knowledge were an inspiration to many people and he will be sorely missed.

Ecologist Justin Smith on a 'fungus foray' in Bradley Stoke.

Photo: Ecologist Justin Smith (right) on a ‘fungus foray’ in Bradley Stoke’s Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve (2012).

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