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 24, 2019

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Awards presented at Wapley Bushes Work Morning on 30 November

Our recent work morning started with the Chairman of Dodington Parish Council, Cllr David Lane (left), presenting the volunteers of Wapley Bushes Conservation Group with the Nature Reserve's  latest award certificates. The Reserve has once again won the Green Flag Community Award and two Outstanding Neighbourhood Awards from South West In Bloom.

Cllr Lane thanked volunteers, saying "Your hard work is very much appreciated by local people who visit the Nature Reserve. We're proud of what you have achieved"

By the time we started work we were joined by a number of new people - there were 17 volunteers in total, including a number of families. The volunteers planted 30 trees of varying species in the Ancient Woodland as part of our Ash Dieback Replacement Programme, and generally tidying up the Reserve.

We're just starting our busy season. Our next work morning will be on Sunday 16 February, meeting at 10.00 am at the Nature Reserve sign at the gate next to the pedestrian crossing on Shire Way, Yate. We always have work that's suitable for everyone. It's a friendly group and we welcome families to come and take part.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve Work Morning - Saturday 30 November

This work session will be a morning of woodland planting to enhance biodiversity plus general maintenance and tidying up the reserve prior to the winter season.

Please wear walking or wellington boots and bring some gloves. Meet at the Shire Way entrance to the woodland, south Yate, BS37 8US, 10.00 am.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Splendid Halloween Family Owl Prowl at Wapley Bushes

Ian McGuire arriving in character

Our Family Owl Prowl on Halloween went very well, There were 35 of us including lots of children, mainly in Halloween costume. The children loved exploring the “spooky woods” in the dark - I think the adults were more nervous than they were!

The Owl Prowl was led by Ian McGuire of Wild Owl TV (dressed as the Grim Reaper!), who showed us lots of pictures on his iPad and explained the different species of British owls and the different habitats they prefer.

Ian played recorded owl calls to try to attract our local tawny owls who live in Wapley Woods. He also called them very successfully by voice, striking up a few different "conversations"

We only had one brief glimpse of a tawny owl, but we heard lots of them calling back to us. Probably 5, including a male/female pair close together. Thank you Ian for a very successful evening!

Can you spot yourselves in local professional photographer Rich McD's photos, taken under very difficult conditions?


Friday, October 25, 2019

Kingsgate Park Nature Reserve Ponds Workday - Postponed to Sunday 27 October

Due to heavy rain being forecast for Friday night and Saturday morning, we are postponing this work morning until Sunday 27 October. 

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

Meet at the Scott Way entrance to Kingsgate Park, Scott Way, Yate, BS37 4NW, 10.00am (Parking is available at the entrance of Shackleton Avenue)

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Family Owl Prowl at Wapley Bushes - Thursday 31 October (Halloween!)

Family Owl Prowl led by Ian McGuire, including mobile PowerPoint presentations.

Very suitable for families - children love to explore the “spooky woods” in the dark.

It’s Halloween evening - costumes optional! Meet at 7 pm at the Shire Way gate.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Kennedy Way Pond Workday - Saturday 5 October

We shall be carrying out general management works on the reserve including vegetation clearance at this local wildlife haven. Meet at the Kennedy Way Pond, Link Road, Yate Shopping Centre, 10.00 am

Parking is available at the Yate overflow car park, which is also on the eastern side of Link Road, BS37 4AY.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Bicycle Safari (nature ramble on wheels) - Sunday 29 September

Enthusiastic local families listening to
Ian McGuire at last year's Bicycle Safari

Local cyclists will be able to discover the green spaces of Yate and Dodington on a family-friendly cycle ride on Sunday 29 September. The Bicycle Safari will be led by local wildlife educator Ian McGuire of Wild Owl TV, exploring the nature that lives alongside us in our town.

The ride will set off at 11.00 am from Riverside Car Park next to Yate Cinema, BS37 4AY. Cyclists can meet the South Gloucestershire Council Bikeability Team from 10.15 am onwards, to have their bikes checked or find out more about safe cycling with family and friends. Children are very welcome but under 12s must be accompanied by an adult.

The event is organised by the Joint Cycleway Group, which has members from local councils and cycling organisations and meets regularly with South Gloucestershire Council. They lobby for new and improved routes for cyclists, and run events to encourage cycling in our area.

Local councillor Paul Hulbert, the Secretary of the Joint Cycleway Group, said "We've run Bicycle Safaris for the past two years and they've been very successful. This year we're exploring the south and west of the town, down to Wapley Common and then across to Yate Common. We're so lucky to have these marvellous green areas"

"This year's Bicycle Safari is being financed by Yate Town Council and Dodington Parish Council. We're very grateful to South Gloucestershire Council's Bikeability Team for providing instructors, and to Yate Shopping Centre for letting us use the Riverside Car Park for the start and finish"

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Report from Wapley work morning Sunday 8th September

The weather was kind to the 8 volunteers who tackled some valuable tasks at Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve. The usual September task was clearing out the bed of the seasonal stream that flows down through the Ancient Woodland, so that it doesn'r overflow into the surrounding vegetation. This time we also had to saw off two trees that had fallen across the stream.

Another significant job was cutting a corner of the orchard area that had been missed when the mowing was done - hence the very traditional scene in the photo above (though as we didn't have scythes we resorted to slashers instead)

Monday, September 02, 2019

Talk and slide show “The Wild Owl TV Garden” - Wednesday 18 September

Talk and slide show “The Wild Owl TV Garden” by Ian McGuire at St Nicholas Family Centre at 7.30 pm. Find out how you can encourage animals to visit and breed in your garden.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Sustainable September - events in Abbotswood and nearby

Abbotswood Action Group have announced their programme of events for "Sustainable September" - there's lots to interest all the family. The first event is this Sunday, 1st September:  “Lines In The Landscape: A time trail walk exploring how people and nature interconnect in our modern town and countryside” The walk will set off from outside St Nicholas Church, Abbotswood at 2 pm.

A walk of about two hours at a gentle pace from Abbotswood to Wapley Bushes and back. Discover disused streams and ancient hedges in the built-up area, and see how wildlife and people use pathways, beelines and wildlife corridors in the Nature Reserve. Please wear suitable footwear and dress according to the weather.

If you’re interested, other events during the month include wildlife talks and a Bicycle Safari (think “nature ramble on wheels”)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Wildlife talk and slideshow - "The Conservation of British Owls” - Thursday 12 September

We've had some success in recent years in attracting owls to Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve.  Local owl expert Ian McGuire will be telling us more about the different types of owls and how we can help look after them. He's an entertaining speaker and he will be showing some of his excellent collection of photos.

The talk starts at 7.30 pm on Thursday 12 September in the Shire Way Community Centre, Shire Way, south Yate.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Wapley Bushes work morning - Sunday 8 September

Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve Workday - We shall be undertaking the annual stream clearance and other reserve maintenance walk on this autumn workday.

The stream that runs down through the woods after heavy rain needs to be cleared of leaves and other debris each autumn - if we didn't, it would flood into the area nearby and affect some locally rare plants.

We will also have the usual range of lighter tasks such as litter picking and trimming back paths - something for everyone.

Please wear stout footwear. Meet at the Shire Way entrance to the woodland, south Yate, BS37 8US, 10.00am.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Wapley Woods survey for Ash Dieback - public event - Wednesday 14 August

Ash Dieback Disease is geeting closer to our area. Although we're already planting large numbers of replacement trees in Wapley Woods, we want to know whether we already have any traces of the disease in the woods, and to learn how to recognise it.

Please come along on our Ash Dieback Tree Survey walk with Chris Wright of Silverback Arboricultural Consultancy. Meet at the Shire Way entrance to the Nature Reserve, south Yate, BS37 8US at 10.00am.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Very good Wapley work morning on 14th July

Twelve volunteers came along to our work morning, and we really got a lot done in the fine weather. The greenery has been growing at a rate of knots, so we needed to clear the brambles from round the young pear trees in the hedge at the bottom of the Lower meadow. We also trimmed back the edges of some of the main paths and did a "deep clean" litter pick in some of the less obvious places.

Our seasonal task was pruning the stoned fruit trees to ensure that they grow strong and straight. We also had to prop up an apple tree on the Common that had so much fruit on it that it was leaning over. It didn't help that the ground is cracking and so the original tree stake had become loose.

Despite all the hard work, we had time to admire the early stages of this season's apple crop.

Heritage variety apples in
the Orchard for the Future
We also paused to admire the many, many butterflies and flowers in the grasslands.

Meadow Brown butterfly
on Black Knapweed
Our next work morning will be on Sunday 8th September, meeting at 10 am at the Shire Way gate to the Nature Reserve. There will be something practical for everyone - please come along and meet our friendly group.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Wapley Bushes gains eighth Green Flag Community Award in a row

Members of Wapley Bushes Conservation Group showing off their eighth Green Flag Community Award at one of the Bug Hotels during their July work morning at the Local Nature Reserve.

Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve and the Orchard for the Future have been recognised as one of the UK’s very best green spaces. Today, a record number of parks and green spaces collect a Green Flag Award. 

This international award, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.

Wapley Bushes has won the Green Flag Community Award, a category for green spaces that are managed by voluntary and community groups. There are only eleven Community Awards in the whole of the South West. In fact there are only two Green Flag Awards of any kind in South Gloucestershire, the other one being Page Park in Staple Hill.

Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve is an area of meadows and woodlands which is very popular with local people of all ages. It is managed by the volunteers of the Wapley Bushes Conservation Group on behalf of site owners Dodington Parish Council.

Committee member Paul Hulbert said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive a Green Flag Community Award for the eighth time”

“Our local green spaces really matter to residents and visitors. They make a major contribution to health and wellbeing”

“This award celebrates the dedication that goes into maintaining Wapley Bushes to such a high standard - the real credit goes to our hard-working volunteers, and to Dodington Parish Council for their unfailing practical and financial help”

"Our reserve is a mixture of flower-rich meadows, ancient woodland and younger plantations. We work closely with South Gloucestershire Council and the Southwold Group of the Wildlife Trust, who provide us with very valuable advice"

The next work morning on the Reserve will be Sunday 8 September, meeting at the Shire Way entrance to the woodland, south Yate, BS37 8US, 10.00am. Extra volunteers would be very welcome – please contact Paul Hulbert on 01454 315851 for more details, or just turn up.


Members of Wapley Bushes Conservation Group showing off their eighth Green Flag Community Award at one of the Bug Hotels during their July work morning at the Local Nature Reserve.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Wapley Bushes Summer Fruit Tree Pruning - Sunday 14 July

Please help us look after the historic varieties of trees in the Orchard for the Future. As well as pruning stoned fruit trees such as plums and gages, we shall also be attending to odd jobs on the reserve such as litter picking, cutting back paths and other general maintenance. As usual there will be something for everybody!

Meet at the Shire Way entrance to the Nature Reserve, south Yate, BS37 8US at 10.00am.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Free Wildflower Walk on Yate Common - Tuesday 28 May

This guided wildflower walk will cover various grassland areas on Yate Common. Our guide for the evening will be local naturalist Pauline Wilson. The walk will start at 6.30pm and run to 8.30pm.

The meeting point will be the southern Road to Nowhere entrance to the Common where
there is some limited parking (please see https://goo.gl/maps/w96ncixAbXuXEqmi7

Free First Aid Course for environmental volunteers - Wednesday 29 May

Dodington Parish Council has arranged a First Aid course on Wednesday 29th May (next week) at Dodington Parish Hall, Finch Road, Chipping Sodbury, BS37 6JZ.

It is intended for allotment holders and people who volunteer of local open spaces.

The course will start at 7.00pm and finish at 9.00pm and it will cover:

Bleeding (types and how to stop)
Bandaging (compression, ambulance dressings, slings)
Fainting and seizures
Burns and sunburn
Recovery position
Calling 999
Heart attack & Defibrilation
Record keeping

Friday, May 24, 2019

Beating the Bounds of Yate Common, Sunday 26 May

Beating the Bounds is an ancient custom that is practised on The Common in Yate. The Reverend, Town Mayor, Friends of the Common and local residents will walk the boundaries of The Common.
Traditionally, children are turned upside down at the corners to teach them the boundaries of their Common, which they should protect (nowadays sweets may be used as an incentive)

Beating the Bounds of Yate Common starts at 3pm from the St Briavels Drive entrance of Yate Common. The walk is suitable for pushchairs and takes about 60 - 90 minutes. 

If you would like to find out more about the custom, please follow this link

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Meadow species planting on Wapley Common - 4 May and 17 May

We had 13 volunteers at our work morning on Saturday 4 May, when we put in several species of plug plants to enhance the diversity in the Orchard for the Future section of Wapley Common. As well as planting we did a "deep clean" of some of the harder to reach areas of the Reserve and cut back some overgrowth.

Unfortunately one of our chosen species hadn't arrived, so we had another session on Friday 17 May. Six of us started at Dodington Parish hall, and planted all three species on the "Mini Meadow" next to the Hall - our present to the Parish Council.

Then four of us went on to Wapley Common and planted the remaining plug plants. The result is that we now have yellow rattle, oxeye daisy and knapweed (see photo above) in the third of the Orchard nearest to Shire Way - you won't see them until they've grown a bit. These plants will help encourage pollinators and discourage more invasive species. In future years we plan to do the same sort of planting on the other two thirds of the Orchard.

We finished off the session with a walk round the Reserve doing a site inspection. The icing on the cake was that we saw a Red Kite flying over the Common, with its distinctive forked tail.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve Workday - Saturday 4 May

This workday will be a combination of working with Dodington Parish Council on a deep spring clean of the reserve and planting out native plants in a grassland area. Please wear stout footwear.

Meet at the Shire Way entrance to the woodland, south Yate, BS37 8US, 10.00am.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Goose Green Workday - Saturday 13 April

We shall be undertaking reserve maintenance on this local grassland and wetland nature reserve such as path clearance plus litter picking. Please wear walking or wellington boots and bring some gloves.

Please meet at the bridge on the reserve, west of Oak Close, north Yate, BS37 5TN, 10.00am.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Trees and woodland planting - report from work morning 16 March 2019

Despite the threat of poor weather, the rain and wind held off. Eight of us put in 33 new woodland trees of various native species and 56 lesser celandine plug plants.

One of the plug plants

This session completes our winter 2108/2019 tree planting programme at Wapley - since early 2017 we've planted 230 saplings that will grow up into substantial woodland trees. We're planning to put in another 100 trees next winter.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve Workday - Saturday 16 March

We shall be undertaking more tree planting that will help to enhance the biodiversity of this precious nature reserve and doing a spring clean too. Please wear stout footwear.

Meet at the Shire Way entrance to the woodland, south Yate, BS37 8US, 10.00am.

River Frome Spring Clean work morning - Saturday 16 March

This is the annual spring clean around the River Frome Walkway area by Yate Shopping Centre. Everyone is welcome to help out to clear up our local environment and please wear sturdy footwear and bring stout gloves. Bin bags and litter pickers will be provided and this event is organised by Chipping Sodbury's Baptist Church environmental action group.

Meet at 10am at the Kennedy Way Pond, Link Road, Yate Shopping Centre (parking is available at the two car parks on either side of Link Road, BS37 4AY).

Friday, March 01, 2019

Ridge Wood woodland work morning, Sunday 10 March

10am -12noon, meet at the Melrose Close entrance of Ridge Wood local nature reserve, situated between Yate and Chipping Sodbury.

Work days are a fantastic way to make a practical contribution to the future of this important local nature reserve and are great fun. A range of activities will be undertaken, suitable for all abilities.

New volunteers are always welcome - no need to book, just turn up. Gloves and tools provided.

Further details and a map can be found on the Ridge Wood website: www.ridge-wood.org.uk
Email: info.forw@gmail.com

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Very productive work morning at Wapley on Sunday 17 Feb

We had an excellent tree planting session at Wapley on Sunday. Fifteen volunteers planted 33 trees and did a litter-pick as well. We were pleased to welcome four new volunteers including a family group.

In the core of the Ancient Woodland we put in 24 trees, a mixture of English oak, black poplar, linden, black alder and rowan (mountain ash). All of these will grow into substantial trees to replace anticipated losses of the high canopy due to Ash Dieback Disease, which is now only a few miles away. By using a wide mix of native species we are future-proofing the woodland against as yet unknown diseases, while providing a good habitat replacement for birds, insects and lichen.

We also put in 9 smaller trees in a gap on the woodland edge nearest to the Common where a big tree fell a few months ago - wild cherry, goat willow, field maple and common hazel.

Our next work morning will be on Saturday 16 March. As well as another 30 plus significant trees we shall be putting in some plug plants of typical ancient woodland species such as yellow archangel on the woodland floor, and doing some litter picking as well.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Wapley Local Nature Reserve Workday - Sunday 17 February

We shall be doing a mixture of tree planting on the reserve using native British trees plus cutting back  excess vegetation. Please wear stout footwear and bring gloves.
Meet at the Shire Way entrance to the woodland, south Yate, BS37 8US, 10.00am.