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.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Treat yourself to a remote view of Slimbridge

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge is a fascinating place, especially in this cold weather. Here is a video of the birds being fed on the Rushy this morning:

What's more they also have live webcam feeds of Swan Lake and the Rushy - you can watch the daily wild bird feed at 4pm, or watch the wild birds anytime of the day or night! (Note - the webcam page needs Flash, and takes a few seconds for the video feeds to load - please be patient)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wapley Bushes in the snow

A few photos from today's walk in the woods and meadows.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Report from work morning 20 November

A well-attended work morning saw us tackling planting on the woodland edge alongside the Lower Meadow. We planted 150 trees, and as usual they were all traditional species for the habitat: Wayfaring tree, spindle, hazel, hawthorn, purging buckthorn, dogwood, and guelder rose.

Malcolm sorts out the trees
Our volunteers get stuck in
Pat's picked out a tree
And Isabel has planted hers

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Major path works complete

The new surface of the Ride should be much
less slippery in winter and safer for walkers

The reconstruction of the Ride – the path between the two woodlands – has now been completed.

This is thanks to a £10,495 grant from SITA Trust to fund the ‘Track to the Top’ project. The scheme was also supported by a community contribution of £1,200 from Wapley Bushes Conservation Group.

Some 40 metres of muddy path within the woodland was dealt with at the same time. A big thank you to our colleagues from South Gloucestershire Council, who provided invaluable design and technical advice.

News update

Apologies for the upper path in the wood being blocked by a fallen ash tree – tree surgeons are very busy at this time of year, and it took a while to get them on site. Our periodic tree survey is being carried out to identify any dangerous trees.

Meanwhile, the recent Fungus Foray was very well attended. Many thanks to our expert Justin Smith!

And please don't forget our work morning next Saturday (20 Nov) - see you there? As usual we're meeting at 10 am at the Shire Way gate.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Westonbirt Arboretum Spectacular Enchanted Christmas 2010 - 26 Nov onwards

Take a walk along the famous Illuminated Trail and see the National Arboretum lit up at night. There’s also the opportunity to visit Father Christmas plus lots of other festive excitement - carols from local choirs and bands, roast chestnuts, mulled wine and great gift ideas from the Christmas Market and Forest Shop, which will stay open until 8.30pm selling fantastic presents and decorations.

The tickets costs are: adults £8, concessions £7, children £4, and the tickets can be bought online from October onwards (http://www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt) or through the box office on 01842 814612.

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening from 26 November to 19 December 2010
5.00 to 8.30pm (last entry at 7.15pm), Westonbirt Arboretum, A433, 3 miles south west of Tetbury,  Gloucestershire.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Wapley Bushes Work Morning - Saturday 20 November - update

This workday will be a morning of tree planting, plus general maintenance work and tidying up the reserve prior to the winter season. Please wear walking or wellington boots and bring some gloves, and preferably a spade if you're intending planting.

Meet at the Shire Way entrance to the woodland, South Yate, 10.00am.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Excellent Wapley owl prowl - but don't forget Foray for Fungi tomorrow Mon 1 Dec)

There was an excellent turnout for last week's Wapley Owl Prowl - more than 40 people! Many thanks to Ian McGuire.

Tomorrow - Mon 1st December - we have a Fungus Foray led by Justin Smith. Last year's event was fascinating, and we saw many species we'd never even noticed before.

Come and join us, meeting at the Shire Way entrance to the reserve, Shire Way, Yate at 2.00 pm. The event will last until about 4.00 pm.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Coppicing and Shelter Building, Lower Woods - Sunday 7 November

Enjoy a fun day out in Lower Woods learning about the traditional art of coppicing, the use of coppice products and help with the care of this 700 acre nature reserve. You can also have a go at building your own shelter.

There will be baked potatoes in the bonfire to enjoy at lunchtime, but please bring drinks and other food.  This event is suitable for adults and children over 14 (if accompanied by an adult). All tools, training and equipment provided. Please wear waterproof footwear as this reserve can be damp.

This event is free but donations are welcome. For more information, and to book your place on this event quoting event code COPP10 01, please contact Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust on 01452 383333.
Meet at  Meet at Lower Woods Lodge, Inglestone Common, east of Wickwar, South Gloucestershire (OS Grid Reference ST 746881), 10.00am to 15.00pm (booking in advance required).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wildflower planting, Yate Common on Saturday - all welcome!

Please come and help the volunteers of the Friends of Yate Common doing some wildflower planting this Saturday (23 Oct) and help make this popular area ever better.

Meet at 10.30 am at the Reed Pond.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kingsgate Park Ponds Workday - Sunday 31st October

We shall be undertaking maintenance of this important amphibian site including the cutting back of vegetation. Please wear gloves and wellington boots.

Meet at the Scott Way entrance to Kingsgate Park, Scott Way, Yate 10.00am.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's Your World - a successful event!

Thanks to all involved in the It's Your World environmental event at Yate Sports Centre today.

It was good to see just how many local and regional environmental organisations there are. Quite a lot of the people attending are involved in several of the local groups - we have quite a "Green Network" in our area!

Lots of people stopped at the Wapley Bushes display and asked us about the Reserve - some had visited before, and some didn't even know the Reserve existed. Hopefully we will get a few extra visitors in the coming months!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wapley Bushes Foray for Fungi - Monday 1st November

Get to know the difference between mushrooms and toadstools on a mycological adventure with Justin Smith.

Meet at the Shire Way entrance to the reserve, Shire Way, Yate, 2.00pm to 4.00pm.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ridge Woods Twilight Owl Walk - Wednesday 27th October

Come and join Ian McGuire for a twilight owl prowl through Ridge Woods Nature Reserve  and hear him call for the resident tawny owls.

Meet at the Quarry Road entrance to Ridge Wood, Chipping Sodbury,7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wapley Bushes Owl Prowl Monday 25th October

Take a twilight walk with Ian McGuire and hear him call for tawny owls. You won’t go home disappointed. Please wear warm clothing and stout footwear.

Meet at the Shire Way entrance to the reserve, Shire Way, Yate, 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

It's Our World - big local environment event Oct 16th, Yate Leisure Centre, 10am - 1pm

Come and join about 30 local environment organisations at this major event. There will be all sorts of stalls, children's activities and a talk by BBC Weatherman Richard Angwin!

Come and find out how you can get involved in looking after our local environment and help safeguard our world for future generations.

10 am - 1 pm Exhibition (Sports Hall)

10 am - 1 pm Produce market and outside events (West Walk)

10 am - 1 pm Children's trail and activities (Sports Hall)

11 am            Schools Poster Prize Presentation (Sports Hall)
by Richard Angwin (The BBC Points West Weather Man!)

11.15 - 11.45 am  Talk by Richard Angwin on the weather and climate change.

Check out the It's Our World website here

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wapley Bushes path works about to start!

The works on site will start next Tuesday, 5th October.

They should last approximately 10 days, weather permitting.

During that time the Ride will be closed and walkers will be asked to use the path through the Woods instead.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

£10k funding boost for Wapley Bushes project from SITA Trust

Dodington Parish Council has received a £10,495 funding boost from SITA Trust to fund a project called ‘Track to the Top’. The money will be used to rebuild a well-used public path in the Local Nature Reserve. Until now the path to the upper meadow has had no drainage, resulting in water flowing across the path and, in the winter, making walking extremely slippery and dangerous.

Wapley Common is a beautiful area of open and wooded land which lies between the Shire Way estate in Yate and the hamlet of Wapley in the rural southern edge of Dodington Parish.

"The Ride is an important route for walkers and for vehicles used to maintain the Reserve" explained Cllr Paul Hulbert. "Without it we would have to take heavy machinery across flower-rich meadows, which would damage them".

For several winters the Ride has been closed for safety because of mud

SITA Trust provides funding through the Landfill Communities Fund. Funding is available for community and environmental groups to carry out a range of improvement projects.

The scheme is also being supported by a community contribution of £1,200 from Wapley Bushes Conservation Group, who manage the Local Nature Reserve on behalf of the Parish Council.

"We are very grateful for SITA Trust’s support – this is one of our largest projects, and we couldn’t do it without them" said Tim Fairhead of the Conservation Group. "As well as improving access, upgrading the Ride will preserve the vegetation of the woodland edge and maintain it as one of our best areas for butterflies and other insects"

Technical support and advice is being provided by South Gloucestershire Council, the other partner in managing the Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Rained off...

Unfortunately today's work morning (5 September) was rained off. There was some heavy rain early this morning, and as we were intending to do stream clearing it would have been dangerously slipperly.

Please watch this space for details of other forthcoming events.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Wapley work morning tomorrow - 5 September

There will be a Wapley Bushes conservation work morning on Sunday 5 September. We'll be meeting at the Shire Way gate at 10.00 am, and aiming to finish by about 12.30 pm.

We will be doing some general conservation work such as tidying up a small stream that is the habitat of a very rare plant.

Please come along and help! Tools are provided, but you'll need to wear wellies or stout footwear and appropriate clothing.

Our autumn/winter programme will be published here shortly - watch this space!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

"Little and large" mammal sightings at Wapley

I had two striking mammal sightings at Wapley today. I was driving along Besom Lane, and two roe deer - hind and fawn - crossed the road 20 yards ahead of me. They paused and looked at me and then dived into the Picnic Area hedge.

They obviously knew where they were going - I later saw that there are several established tracks through the thicket and out onto the clearing.

About 10 minutes later, on the Common, I saw a shrew running across the grass. So, sightings of the Reserve's largest and smallest mammals in just a few minutes.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A great walk at Wapley Bushes - species galore

We had a fascinating walk this afternoon exploring the meadows and woods at Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve. We were pleased to welcome guests from Cabot Group of the Wildlife Trust.

Among the many butterflies we spotted was this magnificent marbled white.

We also encountered a range of other insects such as these burnet moths.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Last chance to see - before the Wapley meadows are cut

The meadows are looking magnificent now, but we have to cut them in a few days for the optimum crop of wild flowers and grasses next year.

So either check the meadows out during the course of this week, or come along on our Sunday afternoon guided walk - 18 July 2 pm at the Shire Way gate.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Biodiversity Walk at Wapley - Sunday 18 July 2pm

Explore Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve in the company of experts who can tell you about our local flora and fauna.

Everyone welcome - meeting at the Shire Way gate. Please wear suitable footwear.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Flowers and insects galore - report from evening walk 22 June

We had an excellent walk last week with Rupert Higgins of Wessex Ecological Consultants - he really made us look at the meadows in particular with new eyes.

Left is a bee orchid that we found in the Lower Meadow.

Our next event will be an afternoon Biodiversity Walk on Sunday 18 July, starting at 2pm from the Shire Way gate.

Experts in all sorts of flora and fauna will help us learn more about this fascinating area.

Please come and join us - no need to book, just turn up!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wapley Bushes Nature Reserve - evening walk, Tuesday 22 June, 7pm

Please come and join our evening walk round Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve with Rupert Higgins of Wessex Ecological Consultants, the expert who has just revised the Reserve Management Plan. This will be an opportunity to find out about how the Reserve is looked after and our plans for the next five years. Everyone welcome - meeting at the Shire Way gate. Please wear suitable footwear.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Educational events at Wapley

Sure Start is the Government’s programme to deliver the best start in life for every child by bringing together early education, childcare, health and family support. Wapley has recently hosted two Sure Start forest skills training events and a Dad's Group event.

As part of the Healthy Schools Initiative Abbotswood School is now joining in work with the Reserve's Nature Journal, like the schools that took part last year.  As well as regular class visits to the reserve there will be a Parents Group session in June.

The Wapley Bushes Conservation Group and Dodington Parish Council are glad to see these community education programmes making use of the Reserve, the Common and the Picnic Site, which are managed to provide opportunities for conservation, education and recreation.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dates for your diary - Nature Reserve events

Tuesday 22 June 7pm – Evening walk round the Reserve with Rupert Higgins of Wessex Ecological Consultants, who has just revised the five-year Management Plan

Sunday 18 July 2pm – Biodiversity Walk with experts on various types of flora and fauna

Sunday 5 September 10am – Conservation Group Work Morning (ditch clearing etc)

It has been decided that future work mornings will alternate between Saturday and Sunday mornings to suit people who can't make one or the other. Further work mornings will be held on Sat 20 November, Sunday 23 January and Saturday 5 March.

All events start from the Shire Way gate. More details will follow on all these events.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

New edition of the Reserve Management Plan on the way

Rupert Higgins of Wessex Ecological Consultants has been busy revising the five year Management Plan for Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve.

You can find out more by joining us on a evening walk with Rupert on Tuesday 22 June. We'll be meeting at 7pm at the Shire Way gate.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Report from 8 May work morning - good news and bad news

Our keen volunteers spent their Saturday morning clearing up litter on the meadows and in the woods. The good news is that there wasn't a lot of it - half a dozen bin bags.

The bad news is that there were half a dozen or more fire sites with smashed glass, melted bottles and cans - all dangerous for children and wildlife. We're talking to the Police and the Fire Brigade about the problem.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Wapley Bushes Work Morning this Saturday, 8 May - come and join us!

We're having a Saturday work morning this week, especially for people who can't make our usual Sunday morning sessions.

We will be doing a general spring clean of the Nature Reserve and cutting back some excess growth from the paths.

Please come and join us - we'll be meeting at the Shire Way gate at 10.00 am. please wear suitable footwear, but we'll provide the tools etc.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bluebells galore

There are masses of bluebells at Wapley at the moment, particularly in the woods and hedgerows. The best place to see them is along the lower path in the main wood. Spring has really sprung!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Evening birdsong at Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve

It's surprising what you can record with an ordinary mobile phone. This recording has just been slightly cleaned up and amplified using Audacity.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

We came, we saw, we planted

We had a big problem to deal with - an ugly corrugated fence at the bottom end of the Western Wood, put up by the adjoining landowner.

The morning of Sunday, 14 March saw an enthusiastic work party gather at Wapley Bushes for a coordinated planting operation on a bright, sunny day. Our task was to plant 60 shrubs and climbers. This is a particularly difficult area to plant in so the plants were specially selected to be both shade tolerant and good for wildlife.

Fortunately, we had a very good volunteer turnout and the task was completed well before midday ; congratulations to all involved in this very successful workday. Here are just a few parts of the stretch that was planted - we'll keep an eye on its progress and report back in due course:

The next work morning will be on Saturday 8 May, specially for people who can't make Sundays. We'll meet at 10.00 am at the Shire Way gate as usual - please check back here for more details in due course.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Work morning - Sunday 14 March

Come and join us for a morning of hedgerow and boundary planting. Tools will be provided, but please wear suitable footwear. We will be meeting at 10.00 am at the Shire Way gate.

For more details please ring Paul Hulbert on 07771 562505 - or you can just turn up on the day!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Grow Your Own Fence!

Photo: Some of the Conservation Group regulars building up the dead hedge
Originally uploaded by paulhulbert

We had a very successful workday today. A dozen of us coppiced a lot of the excess trees in the Centenary Wood, and dragged the material down to the lower end of the main wood.

There we constructed some fifty metres of dead hedging to protect vulnerable areas of the wood. Not bad for a morning's work!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wapley Work Morning - Sunday 24 January - come and join in!

Our next work morning will be on Sunday, 25 January. We will be doing some traditional woodland management - coppicing, in other words removing excess growth of self-seeded ash - in the Centenary plantation.

Then we'll will bring the brash - the cut material - down to places where we need to reinforce and rebuild dead hedging. Dead hedges are barriers made entirely from natural material, that we use to protect sensitive areas. Stakes are driven into the ground at intervals, and longer cut branches are woven between the stakes.

Please come and help, no experience necessary. We're meeting at the Shire Way gate at 10.00 am. You'll need to wear suitable footwear and warm clothing, but tools will be provided.

You can ring Paul for details on 01454 315851, or just turn up on the day.

Another note for your diary - the following work morning will be on March 14, when we shall be doing some hedgerow/boundary planting near Chris's Bridge.