Three Brooks nature group report for March

Volunteers from the Three Brooks Local Nature Conservation Group with rubbish collected during their Big Spring Clean.

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

Monthly workday and the Big Spring Clean

Our planned March workday, working on the marsh, hit a major snag. Although the work we do on the reserve has been agreed with South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) from a conservation perspective, there have been several legislative changes over the past few years and now all water based work must also be approved by their Drainage and Flood Risk Management Team. So, until the SGC team are able to assess our plans, our team will have to stay on dry land.

So, instead we had some March Morning Madness and went on a Big Spring Clean. We collected over 29 bags of rubbish, but without a single traffic cone or shopping trolley in sight! We arranged the collection with Streetcare who rather sheepishly told me on the Monday that they couldn’t find the bags. A quick visit confirmed that it wasn’t their map reading skills that had vanished but the bags. Jason Holcombe, who works for Bradley Stoke Town Council had seen the collection and had just sorted it before any of us were even on our second coffee. Jason surpassed himself on our next spring clean by collecting the bags even before I’d sent out the email!

As well as ordinary black bags, we have been given a box of dog poo bags, so if you see us out on the reserve please feel free to ask for some. We have so far collected over 50 bags from locations in and around the reserve, although we expect to collect a few more before the campaign finishes.

In the afternoon, using some willow that we had recently coppiced, we also put in a couple of benches along the path by Campion Drive. Although they weren’t finished in time for the weary Avon Valley 10k runners that passed by us, we did later manage to persuade a brave family to test them for us! As well as benches, I discovered this week another use for willow – there was an old tradition to bury your loved ones with a willow wand as it wards off ‘evil spirits’, although I can offer no proof that it works!


Bradley and Brooke have started to nest again and have sent last year’s cygnets packing, although like many teenagers they are not quite ready to be wholly independent and have only decamped as far as the brook between the lake and Sherbourne Brake / Braydon Gate. When we last saw them they were looking at us expectantly in the hope of a free lunch. Sadly, we had to disappoint them, but hopefully they have more luck with you.

Tree measuring event

As part of Science Week, we hosted a Tree Measuring drop-in session which was attended by over 20 people. Tree measuring isn’t quite as simple as it sounds, but Sarah Ayling, who works for the Dry Project, taught us how to identify and measure trees, what happens when there is a drought and the environmental benefits that trees provide

The trees measured have been added to their online map, as will their carbon and water storage calculations; I did say it wasn’t that simple! Sarah said: “Thank you so much for allowing us to join your group yesterday to do some tree measuring. It was really nice for me to meet so many interested and enthusiastic people.” Sarah is also putting together a tree measuring kit that can either be used by student ambassadors in schools or borrowed by local groups.

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Bench installed by volunteers from the Three Brooks Local Nature Conservation Group.

Photos: 1 Litter collected during the Big Spring Clean. 2 Bench installed on the path near Campion Drive.

This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 41). The magazine is 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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