An update from Sara Messenger of Bradley Stoke’s Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group.
Our January workday was, as always, two hedge-laying workdays instead of one day. Using traditional methods, we continued laying a hedge along the length of Bradley Stoke Way. To all of you who saw it, we know it looks brutal and you may think the trees won’t ever recover, but look again soon and you will see the hedge once again burst into life. The work was hampered not by the cold this year but the mud. The top path is, in places, ankle deep in water and mud. So much so, that it was suggested that it looked less like a path and more the battlefields of the Somme and that we should name the hedge ‘Hawthorn Ridge’!
For our February workday, we had planned to coppice in Webb’s Wood, although we soon changed our minds as storm Henry was still raging about our ears! The storm had bought down many trees in Webb’s Wood, so we spent most of the day clearing up the area, blocking off a path (at the request of SGC) and removing ivy from some of the trees. Although ivy is a great habitat for birds, insects and some small mammals, and the flowers provide nectar late into the year, once it reaches the crown of a tree it should be removed as the evergreen leaves act like a sail in high winds, catching the wind and bringing down weaker trees. During the day, the lake level rose by almost two feet and the water at the bottom of the tump path didn’t so much tumble over the edge but stampeded over with great force!
The committee had an extra workday and gave up their Valentine ’s Day to give the lake a spring clean. Rob Williams bought along four of his kayaks and soon he, Robin, Rachel and Gill were paddling around the lake clearing litter, while the others cleared the surrounding areas. As well as the ubiquitous traffic cones, balls and debris we found a child’s buggy (minus child), a cowboy hat, a barrel, part of a motorbike and a crocodile! Robin managed to land the reptile safely and he has now been ‘re-homed’ (the crocodile, not Robin).
Our plans to have our cygnets ringed came rather unstuck as we discovered they had already flown off to find their own territory, leaving their parents Bradley and Brooke to enjoy a brief respite before the next clutch arrive. We won’t be caught out again this year and have already pencilled in a weekend in July to ring the new cygnets.
Photos: Kayakers clear the Three Brooks lake; “reptile” found in the lake.
This article originally appeared in the March 2016 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.