By Sara Messenger, Bradley Stoke Green Gym.
If you’ve spotted some strange chaps looking as though they’re auditioning for ‘Poldark: The Later Years’, it was, I suspect, the Bradley Stoke Green Gym, as they have been helping out SGC, Bradley Stoke in Bloom and Buglife.
Although Green Gym took over most of this area from the Patchway Conservation Group, an issue with the insurance supplied by SGC meant that we weren’t covered to work in this area, so until Bradley Stoke Town Council stepped in with a grant, we have been unable to do much this year.
Taking the lead from Alan Titchmarsh’s ‘Say no to the mow’ campaign, the grassy areas have deliberately been allowed to grow to their full potential with just the one hay cut a year, although previously the cuttings have been left where they fell, which isn’t ideal for wildflowers as they like a poorer soil. Buglife have a new campaign called ‘Urban Buzz’ which aims to “create amazing pollinator-rich habitats, creating corridors for bees, wasps, hoverflies, beetles, flies and butterflies to keep Bristol buzzing”, and lured by the magic word ‘free’, we agreed that The Common East was an ideal area for a joint project.
The Green Gym spent two weeks preparing the site by cutting down bramble and grass (and an occasional ground dwelling bee nest) and piling the cuttings ready to be removed. Machinery was bought in to scarify the area and children from a local school seeded it with yellow rattle, a semi parasitic plant that will reduce the amount of grass growing, in preparation for wild flower planting next year.
The pond here is looking very shabby, but as newts have been found in the pond we want to wait until ‘closed season’, which is typically November to January, before we do much tidying up.
We’re very grateful to Bradley Stoke Town Council for giving us a grant to cover insurance, membership of The Conservation Volunteers charity, leaflets, hi-vis clothing and our eagerly awaited green polo shirts, which has led to us being given a new name, ‘The Green Dream Team’!
Green Gym is a small, friendly group and is definitely more green than gym (with an average age of 62, Lycra is most definitely banned). Each week we undertake practical conservation tasks, with members doing what they can and stopping for tea and biscuits when they’ve had enough. Green Gym is free and open to everyone. We meet every Thursday from 10am to 1pm and we always start from behind the leisure centre. You wear suitable clothes and footwear and we provide the rest. Our email is email@example.com or you can call on the Three Brooks number 07497 006676.
We are always welcoming to new members, so why not come and join us?
Photos: Bradley Stoke Green Gym volunteers at The Common East.
This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 30). 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.