Nature conservation group report for August

Photo of a group of people standing around a bug hotel constructed from wooden pallets.
Green Gym volunteers with the insect hotel they created at Braydon Gate.

By Sara Messenger of Bradley Stoke’s Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group.

Our Thursday Green Gym continues to grow with many new members enjoying all that the group has to offer, from exchanging recipes and birthday cards to discovering new creatures, alongside the social and health benefits, and doing our bit for the community. We also help the economy by trying to consume our own weight in chocolate biscuits!

We took a break from our usual routine and entered the mayor’s scarecrow trail. We hope you all enjoyed our entry ‘Little Miss Muffet’ (see photo below); the squirrels certainly seemed to enjoy helping themselves to her ‘curds and whey’. The large spider came from my attic but Miss Muffet and the baby spiders were created from scratch by Freya and Gill Smith. Although when I suggested that they could be rigged to drop down on children sitting on the small tuffet, I was told that it would be cruel. I have yet to work out if they meant to the spiders or the children!

Photo of a scarecrow.
Little Miss Muffet scarecrow created by Bradley Stoke Green Gym.

Serious stuff

It hasn’t been all just fun and games, we have also put up some leaflet dispensers, cleared paths, repaired the outdoor classroom sign, scythed the orchard, reinstated two insect corridors, removed trees infected with ash dieback, installed some log seating and instigated the repairs to the bridge at the bottom of the school path. The sudden drop has been replaced with a gentle slope which I agree is now not so much fun for our younger cyclists but is a vast improvement for anyone using a mobility scooter or a pushchair.

Another first for the Green Gym was creating the large pallet insect hotel at Braydon Gate (Brook Way entrance). Not only has it created a home for everything from hedgehogs to hemiptera, but the top has been planted with red clover, kidney vetch, creeping cinquefoil and anything else that we thought the bees and butterflies would enjoy. It had been placed there to stop any unwanted vehicles accessing the reserve as South Glos Council have never found the right time to replace the barrier, so we were disappointed to find the hotel had been moved but we have returned it to its original place and are hopeful it will now stay there.

The wet weather has dampened the activities of some of our vandals but we have still had to deal with graffiti, fires, broken glass and litter, damage to signage and the weir, as well as some very unacceptable threatening behaviour. However ,it has all been cleaned, cleared, repaired and reported and we are hopeful that September will be a quieter month.

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Radio project

Thank you to everyone who talked to Bradley Stoke Radio (BSR), who were collaborating with Stellaria Media’s project ‘Patches of Land’ which is 100 two-minute radio features, supported by the Audio Content Fund, and broadcast on community radio stations.

BSR also worked with PhD student Jack Greenhalgh on his freshwater ecoacoustics project. It was fascinating to hear the pond life beneath the surface. The rasping of the water boatman was expected, but listening to the blanket weed popping as it created bubbles of oxygen in the mid-afternoon sun was quite a surreal experience. Unfortunately, our euphoria soon plummeted as our lake had the day before been polluted with sewage caused by an overflowing sewage pipe and when Jack tried to record there, we were all stunned to hear nothing but an ominous silence.

• How to contact the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group…

t: 07497 006676
e: info@three-brooks.info
w: www.three-brooks.info
Facebook: Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group

This article originally appeared in the September 2021 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on pages 30 & 31). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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