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.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Wapley Meadow Flower Walk, Saturday 12 May

We shall be having a spring walk around the meadows and woodland to have a look at the different types of wildflowers that are on display. Do come along and learn more about our native flora. Please wear walking boots or other stout footwear.

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

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ridge Wood Wild Flower Walk, Sunday 29 April

Discover this local woodland in Spring with this guided walk, starting at 2.00pm at the northern Greenways Road kissing gate entrance to Ridge Wood, Yate.

Ecologist Rupert Higgins will lead the walk through Ridge Wood Local Nature Reserve to discover bluebells, wild garlic and primroses. Walkers can also discover more unusually named woodland plants such wood anemone and dog’s mercury.The walk has been organised by South Gloucestershire Council and the Friends of Ridge Wood.

The route is just under a mile and follows the main path through the woodland. There will be a chance to find out more about how this site is managed through the council’s management plan. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Help survey our Heritage Orchards!

Traditional orchards are a much loved part of our British heritage and countryside providing fruit and peaceful places to enjoy, as well as food and shelter for hundreds of rare plants and animals.

Since 1950 Natural England estimates that overall orchard area in England has declined by 63%, and it's probably higher in our area because of all the building developments.

The People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) recently carried out an England orchard inventory, listing 321 potential traditional orchards in South Gloucestershire covering an area of 127.9 hectares. So far, owner questionnaires have revealed that 8% of traditional orchards in South Gloucestershire are in excellent condition, 40% in good condition and 52% in poor condition. 12 traditional orchards were in Environmental stewardship comprising 9.10 hectares. Further information about the national survey can be found at www.ptes.org.

The South Gloucestershire Orchard survey will now build on the work undertaken by the national survey and aims to fill the gaps, where survey data has not been verified and by identifying orchards that have been left out.

South Gloucestershire Council currently have a work placement volunteer who is looking at the 1915 maps to find out just how many orchards have been lost locally. It's early days but the losses for most parishes look to be around 90% which represents an area of anywhere between 3ha (Bradley Stoke) and 60ha (Thornbury).

Could YOU help with this community project? South Glos is currently looking for volunteers to take part in the survey and help verify the orchards in the parish.

You can find out more about the survey here. If you are interested in helping with the orchard survey  please email Sarah Wells sarah.wells@southglos.gov.uk or John Morris johnv.morris@southglos.gov.uk, or call 01454 863581.

South Gloucestershire Council offer small environmental grants for community groups or landowners wishing to restore or create traditional orchards, just like the one created at Wapley last year. Contact John Morris on 01454 863581 or email johnv.morris@southglos.gov.uk for more information, or download details from: www.southglos.gov.uk/environmentalgrants.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

More photos from the extra March workday at Wapley

Lovely photos here from Isabel Ryan, showing work on the Orchard for the Future at Wapley.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Gluttons for punishment - more planting the week after!

Only a week after the mass planting on Mothers Day, we were back at Wapley for a "bonus" workday on 25th March. We put up some bird and bat boxes...

We planted some replacement fruit trees in the Orchard for the Future, plus a horse chestnut tree donated by a local resident...

And we put the finishing touches to the Jubilee Hedge!

Mass planting marks the Jubilee

Wapley Bushes' Jubilee project is complete! 800 trees have been planted to produce a new hedge on Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve.

The hedge was planted by a combination of volunteers and local contractors. More than twenty local people and Wildlife Trust members got together on Mothering Sunday (18th March) and planted a hundred yards of hedge in less than three hours.

This hedge will be an excellent wildlife habitat and food source in the years ahead for mammals, birds and insects once it has become fully established. All the plants in the hedge mix are native species such dogwood, hazel, hawthorn, etc. and they will ensure that the hedge has a high wildlife value.

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This project shows what can be achieved when lots of organisations and individuals get together. Wapley Bushes Conservation Group coordinated the work, which included preparation work funded by Dodington Parish Council. Local contractors Landcare Tree Nursery supplied and planted half the trees, paid for by a Biodiversity and Landscsape Grant from South Gloucestershire Council.

The trees planted by our volunteers came from the Woodland Trust’s Free Tree Packs scheme. That initiative was jointly funded by the furniture group IKEA and three volunteers from the IKEA Bristol store also turned up to help with the planting and with putting the rabbit guards around the plants.

The new Jubilee Hedge marks the boundary of the Centenary Wood, which was planted by volunteers in 1994 to mark 100 years of Dodington Parish Council. The Woodland Trust scheme aims to plant six million trees to mark the Queen's Jubilee.