Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve, near Yate and Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire.

The Nature Reserve is run by the Wapley Bushes Conservation Group, a small group of volunteers.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Lots of butterflies

Meadow Brown
Lots of butterflies in the lower meadow in the last days before the grass is cut. Here's a meadow brown, sunning itself on a leaf. You only have to walk through the long grass to set the butterflies flying.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Looking back and planning ahead

We had a meeting on site last week to discuss the management of the meadows. The timing of the grass cut is important in keeping the diversity of the plants and grasses. In particularly we were talking about meadowsweet, an invasive grass. At the moment we have meadowsweet in patches on about a tenth of the lower meadow, but we have to be careful that it doesn’t spread further.

I do a photo-shoot around the reserve every month, and in recent years I’ve tried to take some several “comparison” shots from the same locations each month. Looking back at photos from this July and the previous July, I found that there’s been very little change in the main patch of meadowsweet over the year. The meadowsweet is the white patch in the meadow on the photos.

We decided to keep an eye on the distribution of the meadowsweet, and possibly to try a selective second cut in September on one of the meadowsweet patches.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Report - Wapley Wander guided walk

Last Sunday a group of parish councillors and wildlife enthusiasts explored the countryside around Wapley, on a guided walk led by Paul Hulbert. The first part of the walk covered the Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve, and we looked at the recent successful work to deepen the top pond and encourage wildlife (The photo shows the walkers checking out the work at the pond - normally it would be completely dry at this time of year)

We then carried on to Wapley church, hearing about its history and the connection with Sir John Codrington, the standard bearer to Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt. We walked beyond the church on some of the footpaths across farmland - we noticed how one local farmer has constructed an excellent pond for wildlife, with lots of marginal plants that attract birds and other wildlife. We hope our top pond becomes as good in due course!

This is a marvellous walking area. We like to encourage people to get out and about in the countryside. If you're interested, lots of walk leaflets are available from the Tourist Information Centre in Chipping Sodbury.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Getting drier

The dry weather is finally having an effect. The top pond has shrunk appreciably, but this time last year it was bone dry. The work we had done last winter to deepen the pond has obviously helped.

I saw a buzzard above the Upper Meadow. The buzzards nest on a farm down the lane, but they rarely stray over the Nature Reserve because that’s the rooks’ territory. This buzzard looked round a little nervously, saw a single rook heading out from the wood, and fled immediately. Although it was three times the size of the rook, the buzzard knew that a squadron of rooks would be on call to chase it away.

The meadows are full of flowers – particularly the lower meadow - with lots of insects visiting them. Butterflies are flitting frantically from bloom to bloom, but bees take their time and allow you to photograph them. Take a look at the meadows before the grass is first mown.