Posts Tagged ‘Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group’

Nature conservation group update for January

Posted on Thursday 7th February 2019 at 8:46 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of participants on the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group hedgelaying weekend.

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

Annual New Year hedgelaying weekend

We are now in our ninth year of hedgelaying along the entire length of Bradley Stoke Way and I think we’re getting the hang of it! Green Gym went in over Christmas and cleared 65 paces along the fence on the reserve side and Robocut was bought in to clear some of the large blackthorn patch that has in recent years crept across the verge. This, combined with the weather being kind to us, meant that we managed to lay 65 paces of hedge, which is a new record for us; we only stopped because we ran out of trees! Last year (2018) saw 42 paces and 2017 saw 32 paces, so we’re taking bets as to how far we get next year!

Photo of a bottle of homemade sloe gin.

As always, on the Sunday a hot lunch was cooked for us on site by our quartermaster Rob Williams, and as dusk began to fall we toasted our new hedge with his homemade sloe gin.

We have taken down our hedgelaying banner and replaced it with one of our generic reserve banners. Apart from our banners, the reserve now has no signage, as all the wooden reserve signs and the large Run England sign were removed many months ago by South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) and have yet to be replaced. Our notice board at the lake was disposed of by Wessex Water, and although SGC promised us several new boards, they have yet to make an appearance.

We have asked that the reserve be signposted on the brown information sign as you enter Bradley Stoke from Aztec West, but it was suggested that we don’t have enough footfall to warrant that (although I’m fairly sure we match the library for visitors), so we will have to remain for the moment a hidden gem!

More: Savages Wood, state of the lake and resident swans »

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Conservation group review of the year

Posted on Saturday 5th January 2019 at 9:54 pm by SH (Editor)

Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

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

Well, that was a busy year, although I’m not sure where half of it went! And don’t even start me on the challenges that the weather sent our way. It has really been a two steps forward one step back sort of year, but maybe that is part of the fun. Despite the rain, the thorns and the aching feet, there is much fun to be had as part of our Green Gym and our Conservation Group. There has to be, or we wouldn’t do it. We’re all volunteers juggling work and family with our commitment to the reserve and all those swim, walk or fly within it.

I can tell you that the TBNCG has this year put in 1,800 hours and that Green Gym has put in 1,850 hours, but I don’t like to think of what we do just in those terms. Our unit of production isn’t the hours we work, but the intangible difference we make during those hours. Something I feel that the landowners, South Gloucestershire Council (SGC), sometimes lose sight of. Although I’m asked each quarter to log the number of hours we’ve worked (their equivalent of GNP), regretfully I’m never asked what our ‘GN satisfaction’ is, or for our ‘GN sense of achievement’. We do what we do not to bolster their figures, but because we feel it matters, because we enjoy it and learn from it, because it’s interesting, because we’re glad to be part of something bigger than ourselves and because when we’re gone we know that something we did made a difference, to ourselves, to the reserve and to our community.

The new year (2019) will, for several reasons, be quite a challenging year for our small committee. Although Martin Luther King gave the “I have a dream” speech, not the “I have a plan” speech, we have been working hard on several plans which we hope to see finalised. (We’ve quite a few dreams as well, they’re just harder to get SGC to agree to!)

If we can finalise the funding, we have plans to finally get the lake dredged and to have several new paths put in, mainly in Savages Wood and, hopefully, around the lake.

We hope to improve the Tump for the grizzled skipper butterfly and for the skylarks, and to improve the brooks for the water voles. Hopefully, we will also be allowed to put in a couple of otter holts and I have an ambition to see hares once again streaking across the Tump. This is in addition to our agreed five-year management plan and the accompanying five-mile-high pile of paperwork!

We hope you enjoyed the reserve as much as we did in 2018 and that maybe 2019 is the year that you come and join us, either on 5th/6th January for our annual hedgelaying weekend or on another of our workdays or walks.

• How to contact the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group…

t: 07497 006676
Facebook: Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group

This article originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 19). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH (except August), to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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Busy times in the Three Brooks nature reserve

Posted on Sunday 14th October 2018 at 10:30 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of moth expert Peter Cranswick with one of his traps. Photo of volunteers installing marker posts around the perimeter of the Tump.

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

The weather has recently seemed determined to push our group’s rather limited resources to their limits – we’re either been rescuing creatures from dried out ponds in the heatwave, wading through deep water caused by blockages and heavy rain or dealing with fallen trees caused by high winds!

Three Brooks lake

We’ve had some help with SGC’s Robocut being back on site –  you may have seen it clearing the area they call ‘the bun’. This is where the silt was left when our lake was last de-silted, which we think was in 2002, but no one seems sure. The plan is to see how much space there is in the hope that when the lake is again de-silted, the silt can be left here instead of being taken off site. The first step to clearing the lake is testing for contamination and hydrocarbons. This has been done and has come back negative, now all SGC need to do is finish their ‘method statement’ and find a large pot of money! One of the fishermen told me of a lake that was effectively cleared for free as the cost was offset by the silt being sold to a fertilizer company, an idea I think should be looked into. We’ve also discovered our silt traps aren’t silt traps at all, just bends in the brook, which could go some way to explain the state of our lake. Thank you to everyone who has been petitioning SGC to get our once lovely lake restored to its former glory. Whatever you’ve been doing, it has worked.

Several of you have spotted the egret at the lake and some think they may have seen a pair; please keep the reports and photos coming in ( and we’ll keep our fingers crossed that our newest visitors stay.

On the 29th August we received reports from dog walker Andrea of contamination in the brook at Sherbourne’s Brake. We reported it to the Environment Agency and we’re hoping no lasting damage was done. It’s not the first time we’ve had this problem in our brooks, caused by what appears to be someone pouring paint or cleaning fluid down one of the road drains, although I’m sure if they were aware that these drains feed into the brooks, they wouldn’t have done it. If you should spot a problem, the Environmental Agency incident hotline number is 0800 807060.

More: The Tump, moth trapping, harvesting and becoming a teenager »

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Flaming June in the Three Brooks nature reserve

Posted on Wednesday 18th July 2018 at 11:35 pm by SH (Editor)

Slow worm.

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

Green Gym

We’re always quite busy at this time of year, but this time I think we’ve surpassed ourselves! Our Green Gym ate a lot of cake as we’ve had several birthdays (Geoff, unlike me, doesn’t look a day older) and we had our annual garden party hosted by David and Hilary Baker. Sadly, it was also a farewell party as they are upping sticks and moving away. They will both be greatly missed – Hilary as a wonderful hostess and David for his immense knowledge of the reserve. However, we did manage to work off some of the cake, as we were told that a tree had fallen over the path by Campion Drive, and although SGC had been notified, it was still there. We headed down and SGC and their contractors arrived just as we had finished cutting it back! We bribed, sorry rewarded, them with cake and they chipped all they could and drove the chippings down to the lake so that we could cover the muddiest parts of the lake path to make it safe for the 10k run. We know the run is billed as ‘multi terrain’, but the state it was in would have done neither the runners nor our paths any favours.

More: Lake life | Graffiti and other ASB | Slow worms »

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