March in the Three Brooks nature reserve

Dewfalls Pond, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

An update from Sara Messenger of Bradley Stoke’s Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group.

The plan for our March workday was to improve the wetlands (the area by the Braydon gate entrance). We welcomed two newbies, Emma and Megan, and then headed off to the marsh, with a sort of plan! We’ve bought a book on wetland management but haven’t read it yet, so we cleared old vegetation from the channels so that you can at least see them now. Andy, Mark, Emma and Ceri cleared a huge blockage, we ‘wattled and daubed’ to slow the water down (it’s eroding the banks), we dug more channels and we litter picked, collecting over 13 bags of rubbish. Best finds of the day were two road signs, a boot, a dagger, a helicopter, a strange yellow creature and a woman’s headless torso, but don’t worry they were all plastic! For those who have been here before, we only found a few coconuts, instead of the dozen or so we usually find; neither did we find any of the frogmen who had been seen cleaning out culverts.

Another task this month was to move our tool-store as the leisure centre have more building works planned and we would have lost access for several months. We took the opportunity to have a good clear out, although our plan to leave enough space for our new brush cutters failed, as although it all came out, it didn’t seem to all go back in!

Green Gym

Thursday’s Green Gym group had an another ‘away day’ at Dewfalls Pond in an attempt to restore it to its former glory. Some bramble was cleared away, wild flower seed was planted and the pond was restocked with a wide variety of plants, supplied by John V Morris of South Gloucestershire Council (SGC). John took the opportunity to get out of the office and came along to help and to check on the previous improvements, a new hibernaculum and a newly planted hedge line of hawthorn and other native bushes. Although, to put it politely, the water was “a bit nippy”, we found several smooth newts and we hope the great crested newts will also soon make a welcome return.

Earth Hour

For the first time, we hosted an Earth Hour ‘Picnic in the Dark’ and joined in with a record-breaking 178 countries and territories around the world who took part in Earth Hour on Saturday 19th March. Globally, over 400 iconic landmarks switched off their lights, including famous UK buildings like Brighton Pier, Big Ben, Blackpool Tower and Buckingham Palace. The weather was kind and we all had a thoroughly enjoyable evening, consuming vast amounts of ‘smores’, chocolate cake and hot chocolate. The evening was enhanced by the rosy glow from the fire pit and the lanterns made for the event by Rainbow Girl Guides. Although we forgot the spooky stories and the cloud rather hindered our attempts at star gazing, we didn’t mind, as the highlight of the evening was the glow in the dark bowling. Andy was winning until I lost the ball in the dark and we had to call it a day. Next year we’ll have to work out how to make the ball glow too!

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Photo: Dewfalls Pond

This article originally appeared in the April 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.

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