An update from Sara Messenger of Bradley Stoke’s Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group.
For our February workday we had planned to coppice ‘Scholars Copse,’ the area of woodland behind the Community school, but because of Ash Dieback disease, authorities are still suggesting that ash trees are only felled if they are unsafe. So the group headed off to Bluebell Bridge, to continue cutting back trees and bramble from the edges of the brook. This not only gives us humans a better view, but also improves the biodiversity of the brooks.
A large amount of rubbish was cleared, including the obligatory shopping trolley, two children’s bikes and a mattress! Before we could even ask, all the rubbish was collected by the town’s Mobile Cleaning Operative; thank you Jason, we appreciate your “see it, sort it” attitude! We were only two members short at the end of the day, as they had been sent home early after Sarah (Marlor) slipped and filled her waders with cold stream water! Of course, Sarah says she was pushed!
Several dog walkers mentioned that they thought there was ‘a bit of a mess’ in the pump track area, so the group went to check. The affected area is where SGC had hired out woodland, to non-Conservation Group members, for ‘Chainsaw Training’. Several ash trees had been felled and brush & cut trees were strewn around the area, possibly scattered by teenagers. Whoever created the mess, Green Gym will soon go back and make the area safe again.
Green Gym leader David Baker, when he’s not being interviewed by Bradley Stoke Radio, is being invited to speak at the upcoming ‘Invasive Weeds Forum’ as his methodology for dealing with Himalayan Balsam is considered outstanding. We are very pleased to see that new members Rob, Colin and Cecilia have stuck with us despite the weather and GG has some new vocabulary; ‘a Sabrina Day.’ This is when the group gets posh chocolate biscuits, as, after receiving some advice from David, dog walker Sabrina gave us a welcome donation towards our biscuit fund!
As you walk along the paths on the reserve you may have noticed that they are just a bit wider than they were a while ago. This is because SGC, in the guise of the engaging Lee, have been flailing the paths on our behalf and they will return several times a year to keep them clear of bramble. The downside is that you can now see just how much litter has accumulated! In just a couple of hours over 13 bags of litter were collected from just around the lake. But we are hoping to clear the reserve by inviting the public to some additional Big Spring Clean workdays.
Although the offensive graffiti from the flyover bridge has now been removed, there continues to be far too much low level vandalism and anti social behaviour on the reserve. As well as the usual littering, graffiti and bird box smashing, an attempt was made to set 30 Argos catalogues alight, trees were hacked with a small axe and large amounts of empty beer cans, wine bottles and aerosol cans are regularly found. The area around the bench by Bluebell Bridge is often strewn with drug bags and the bin has been removed after it was set alight again, leaving it beyond repair.
Group’s 10th anniversary
On a more positive note, the Conservation Group will be 10 years old this year, the brave person who spent several very rainy nights camped out in the woods seems to have found better accommodation; 1st Alveston Rainbow Guides have sponsored another dormouse box; we have replaced part of the fence on Bradley Stoke Way and we are planning a series of guided walks around the reserve, including a summer stroll, four bat walks, an owl prowl, a reptile ramble and, at the request of some of our younger walkers, hopefully Ghost Stories in the Dark.
Photo: Conservation group members with rubbish cleared from the brook, which included a shopping trolley, two children’s bikes and a mattress!
Photo: Lee, who has been flailing brambles alongside the paths.
This article originally appeared in the March 2015 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.