Posts Tagged ‘Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group’

Woods Estate Agents, Bradley Stoke, Bristol

April in the Three Brooks nature reserve

Posted on Sunday 13th May 2018 at 11:30 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of the new pond that has appeared beside the main path behind BSCS.

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

Green Gym

The Green Gym have, as always, been very busy. Our tasks this month have included clearing the school bank of bramble, removing burnt-out motorbikes, cleaning off graffiti, making a new pond, planting rowans and starting the annual slog of Himalayan balsam bashing. Considering the weather we’ve had, it is a little early for balsam bashing, but, armed with hoes, we like to remove the first growth as soon as it appears. It’s an uncommon method but one that seems to be paying off as each year we have less and less balsam to contend with. The team have also created a new pond alongside the main path (behind BSCS), although maybe the underground spring created it, we just tidied it up a bit! We were asked to remove the attractive tree in front to get some light onto the water but we decided to remove the dead and unattractive blackthorn behind it instead and we now have a sizeable pond. We have in the past found a couple of newts in the water here, but as we’ve been asked not to put in plants but to let it colonise naturally, it will be a long time before it would be a suitable habitat for them to breed in. As well as some pretty ancient litter, we also found a professional dog walker’s collar and returned it, but no good deed goes unpunished and now we just need to find for her the other four that her charges left behind!

Green Gym have also managed to plant on the side bank of the Tump another 20 rowan trees supplied by SGC. The previous 60 supplied by BSTC were too small to be planted in established grass, so were planted around the community orchard. At the new site we also found an old established den, made from motorway fencing and neatly decorated with the carpet from under our harrow, and two areas where the grass had been set alight. Hopefully, the occupants will be too busy to trash the new trees, but only time will tell.

More: Wessex Water have finally removed all their equipment »

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Concern over “oil spill” in Stoke Brook

Posted on Saturday 21st April 2018 at 11:44 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo showing a rainbow sheen on the surface of the water at one of the weirs on Stoke Brook.

Rob Williams of Bradley Stoke’s Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group writes:

As the snow disappeared  at the beginning of March and everybody breathed a sigh of relief that they could go back to work and school on the Monday, the melt-water was bringing an unwelcome delivery for our local nature reserves. Somewhere upstream of Forty Acres in Stoke Gifford, an oily substance had found its way into the Stoke Brook and was flowing downstream through the area.

The Environment Agency were contacted, as they are responsible for investigating pollution events in the water courses. South Gloucestershire Council and the town council were also informed and there were many messages and comments on the TBNCG Facebook page. The concern and interest from the public has been enormous.

The Environment Agency, along with Wessex Water, have spent many hours out searching for the source of the pollution. It may sound like a simple job to walk back up the brook until the culprit is found, but the brook is culverted under the railway and splits in several places. The oily substance is a light hydrocarbon and easily mixes with water, only showing on the surface where the water flow is slow. This means that booms or sponges in the brook won’t retain or absorb the oil and therefore haven’t been deployed.

The extent of the leak appears to be diminishing at the time of writing [mid-March] and there have been no visible effects on the local wildlife, yet. With events like this, it is very important that the public help by reporting direct to the Environment Agency. Investigations can then be conducted straight away.

If you spot a worsening of this spill, please phone 0800 807060 and quote incident reference number 1594021. Please also report any future spills on the same number.

Photo: A rainbow sheen on the surface of the water at one of the weirs on Stoke Brook is a tell-tale indicator of a pollution incident upstream in Stoke Gifford  or Filton

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 11). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,200 homes in Bradley Stoke and Little Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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March in the Three Brooks nature reserve

Posted on Thursday 5th April 2018 at 9:27 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of people tobogganing on the Tump.

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


I’m not sure who were the most excited to see the snow, the children or the dogs! Although for many, both two- and four-legged visitors, this was the first time they had seen proper snow, and they were all determined to make the most of it.

While Juniper Way and the community orchard (behind Bradley Stoke Community School) both have small slopes, the Tump slope proved the most popular, and it was heaving with squealing youngsters trying out their toboggans. We were pleased to see parents standing in front of the boulders at the bottom to avoid any crashes, and to my knowledge the only thing that got hurt was the parents’ pride when racing their kids to the bottom and being soundly beaten. No names mentioned!

We were really pleased to see that, unlike other places, our reserve was not left littered with rubbish and broken toboggans, so either the litter fairy cleared it all away or we have much more considerate residents here in Bradley Stoke – you’re all greatly appreciated. By the way, a set of car keys was found on Juniper Way; are they yours?

For the first time in 12 years I cancelled our weekly Green Gym. Stepping outside to be greeted by -13°C gusts, knee-deep drifts of snow and a car that wouldn’t start, I was persuaded that maybe we should give this one a miss. Harry and I had attended a first aid course the night before, but it didn’t cover frostbite, so I think it was a wise decision. Well done to Frank though, who didn’t see the early email and battled his way through only to realise that the rest of us were wussies!

Our Saturday workday was also affected, as it wasn’t possible to coppice trees in deep snow, so we took a walk around the reserve, clearing patches of snow and putting down seed for the birds. Our swans Brooke and Nugget were also fed; we thought of breaking the ice so they could get to the bench, but they managed to find us so we left it and then adjourned to the pub to thaw out.

We were a bit concerned to see very small (children’s) footprints on the ice on the newt pond though. Our ponds can be quite deep and, judging by the hole, the ice wasn’t thick enough to support the child’s weight. Fortunately, it looked as though only a foot went through, but it’s something we’d suggest they don’t try again.

More: Vandalism in the reserve is "hugely demoralising" »

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February in the Three Brooks nature reserve

Posted on Monday 12th March 2018 at 9:34 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of volunteers standing behind canoes used to collect rubbish from the lake.

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

Our February workday concentrated on the Tump. I’m told that 24 came out that day, including two newbies. They cleared bramble from the top path and both sides of the steep path leading from the top of the Tump down to the lake to make it a lot wider and allow people to zig-zag up and down if they wish, which will spread the wear on the path. I’m told that a little owl box was installed and that Robin mapped the paths which criss-cross the Tump, which showed that we have too many paths across the middle – which could explain the loss of our skylarks [they have previously nested here]. I’m informed that by lunchtime they thought of going home but decided that they couldn’t get any wetter if they tried, so stuck it out until 4pm. I’m also told that if I rub it in that I spent the day in a warm and dry museum celebrating the Chinese New Year with my Rainbow Guides, I will not last the week!

I would like to say thanks to the chap who found the little owl box in his father’s garage and who donated it to us. When I remember his name, I will!

The lake and flooding

On Sunday 18th we had an additional committee-only workday to clean the lake. Rob brought in a couple of canoes and we managed to collect eight bags of rubbish from the water, which sounds a lot but is less than in previous years. We also cut back the overhanging trees which catch litter and other floating debris, which in turn slows the flow of the water. On the island, we cut back bramble and last year’s reeds, which we used to make two swans’ nests, one in the sun and one higher up. We are hoping that Brooke will take an interest and possibly accept a new mate, although, like her, we think he would have to be a pretty special cob to fill the gaping hole left by our Bradley. Thank to you the homeowner who allowed us to leave our pile of rubbish by her driveway so that it could be easily collected the next day by Streetcare.

More: ‘Robocut’ makes short work of scrub in Bowsland Meadow »

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