Posts Tagged ‘The Willow Brook Centre’

Woods Estate Agents, Bradley Stoke, Bristol

Birdwatchers’ anger as berry trees felled

Posted on Friday 14th April 2017 at 9:07 am by SH (Editor)

Birdwatchers taking photographs of waxwings in the car park of the Willow Brook Centre, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook Centre has come under fire from birdwatching enthusiasts for chopping down around 20 rowan trees whose berries had attracted a flock of rare migrant waxwings over the winter months.

Just days after crowds of waxwing-seeking photographers in the shopping centre’s car park had made headlines in the Journal and been featured on BBC Radio Bristol, contractors at the site began felling the trees, resulting in a torrent of criticism on social media.

Birding enthusiasts noted that the centre management had previously welcomed their presence and praised their photos of the “beautiful birds”.

The Willow Brook Centre responded by saying that the rowan trees were being removed because they were in “poor condition”, with half their number having been removed two years ago and replaced with a species “more suited to poor drainage / little root space”.

In a more comprehensive statement published two days later on the Willow Brook Centre website, it was explained that tree surgeons called in to assess around a dozen rowan trees on the site had found them “dehydrated, undernourished and in a poor way”.

Centre manager Andy Wynn said:

“We fully appreciate it is a disappointment to cut down the trees, and therefore the habitat of these birds, however, given the condition of the rowans, we were left with no option but to remove them.”

More information and related links:

More: Birdwatchers’ reactions to the tree felling (on social media) »

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Twitchers flock to Willow Brook car park

Posted on Thursday 9th March 2017 at 10:26 pm by SH (Editor)

Birdwatchers taking photographs of waxwings in the car park of the Willow Brook Centre, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

Anyone driving past the car wash in the car park of Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook shopping centre in recent weeks and seeing tens of photographers lined up on the edge of the road might be forgiven for thinking a film star had popped in to have their Rolls-Royce valeted. The reality, however, is that the guys (and gals) with the long lenses had them trained on a number of small berry-laden trees that have been attracting a rare visitor (of the feathered variety) to the area.

The birdwatching world in the south-west had been awash with reports of sighting of waxwings, starling-sized birds having a prominent punk-like crest and brightly coloured wings, with waxy-looking red tips on the flight feathers.

Waxwing on a tree in the car park of the Willow Brook Centre in Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

Waxwings are native to Scandinavia and Russia but, in winters when local supplies run low, they migrate to milder climates in search of food.

Their favourite winter food is fruit, in particular the berries of rowan and hawthorn trees, which explains their presence in the Willow Brook Centre car park, where there are many rowan trees planted between the rows of parking spaces.

Waxwings are most often seen in the north of the UK and on the east coast, but in years when berries are particularly scarce, they move further inland in search of sustenance.

The last major ‘irruption’ (influx) of waxwings was in the winter of 2012/13, when several sightings were recorded in Bradley Stoke.

One of the photographers we spoke to at Willow Brook, Mark Jones, told us he had travelled from Berkshire in search of the elusive birds, of which there are thought to be just a few thousand scattered across the country. He said:

“The flock that has been seen in Bradley Stoke is made up of around 15 birds – not a big number at all, and because they only come over once every four or five years, it’s really great to have the opportunity to see them.”

“They’re so striking – they’re one of those birds where you think: ‘Wow, that’s really pretty’”.

“They do seem to turn up in the same places whenever there’s an irruption. It seems they’re able to smell out which are the ripest berries, so you must just have the ripest most well-done berries around here!”

More: Photographers are welcome, says shopping centre manager »

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Willow Brook Centre all lit up for Christmas

Posted on Friday 25th November 2016 at 6:26 pm by SH (Editor)

Brother and sister Callum and Chloe Cockle, who switched on the Christmas lights at the Willow Brook Centre in Bradley Stoke.

Brother and sister Callum and Chloe Cockle had a thrilling start to Christmas when they switched on the lights at Willow Brook Centre on Saturday 19th November.

Callum (9) and Chloe (7), from Southmead, won a competition on the Willow Brook Centre’s Facebook page to be chosen to turn on the Christmas lights alongside Santa Claus at a fun day of seasonal activities.

The festivities started at noon when Bradley Stoke Radio began an afternoon of live music from local artists and bands in the town square.

Inside Willow Brook there was lots of great free entertainment for youngsters including a free Christmas craft workshop and walkabouts from a beautiful stilt-walking Christmas Tree Fairy and a roller skating snowman

Children also met Snow Princesses and their happy snowman friend. And young fans joined in a sing-along to songs from Frozen.

This Saturday, 26th November, Santa will open his grotto in the Willow Brook mall at 11am to take present requests. Tickets are £4.50 and include a small gift. The grotto will also be open on Sunday 27th November and then every day from Saturday 3rd December until Christmas Eve.

There will also be a Christmas market this Saturday and Sunday (26th and 27th November) with lots of unique handmade and vintage gifts. The market will be open from 10am to 5pm.

For more details on upcoming Christmas events at the centre, visit www.willowbrookcentre.co.uk or find the Willow Brook Centre page on Facebook.

Photo: Callum and Chloe with Santa. [Photo credit: Dave Betts]

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The Willow Brook Centre lights up for Christmas

Posted on Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 11:22 pm by SH (Editor)

Snow princesses.

Families are invited to join the fun at the Willow Brook Centre on Saturday 19th November when Santa turns on the Christmas lights at 5pm.

The festivities start at noon when Bradley Stoke Radio celebrates with an afternoon of live music from local artists and bands in the town square.

Christmas tree fairy.

Inside Willow Brook, there will be lots of great free entertainment for youngsters from 2pm, including a free Christmas craft workshop and walkabouts from a beautiful stilt-walking Christmas tree fairy and a roller skating snowman

Children can also meet the Snow Princesses and their happy snowman friend. And at 3pm fans can join in a sing-along to songs from Frozen.

A week later, on Saturday 26th November, Santa will open his grotto at 11am to take present requests. Tickets are £4.50 and include a small gift. The grotto will be open every day from 3rd December till Christmas Eve.

There will also be a Christmas market on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th November with lots of unique handmade and vintage gifts.  The market will be open from 10am to 5pm.

For more details on the Christmas events, check out the Willow Brook Centre page on Facebook.

More info: Full programme for the lights switch-on event

Source: Press release from the Willow Brook Centre.

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Dragons fly into Willow Brook for Halloween

Posted on Monday 24th October 2016 at 8:30 pm by SH (Editor)

Halloween Spooktacular at the Willow Brook Centre, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

Families will be able to meet two beautiful baby dragons at a special Halloween event in Bradley Stoke this half-term.

The young dragons, or whelps as they are known, will be the stars of the Willow Brook Centre’s free Halloween Spooktacular on Friday 28th October.

The infant European dragons or Draco Occidentalis hatched in a small sanctuary in Wales, are known for their distinctive shape, gentle disposition and enthusiastic love of sausages.

These delightful creatures will be making three appearances with their mystical handlers during the day so everyone will get a chance to see them close up and learn a bit more about dragonology.

They will be joined by an amiable stilt-walking Devil and Witch pair, who will roam the centre trying not to scare anyone too much.

There will also be a free craft workshop for youngsters to make dragons and spooky masks. And there will be a spooky trail to win a Halloween treat.

Willow Brook Centre manager Andy Wynn said:

“We are looking forward to a magical Halloween Spooktacular. The baby dragons are sure to charm everyone at this year’s event.”

The event runs from 11am to 3pm.

Source: Press release from the Willow Brook Centre.

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