Successful path cut at Farnborough Gate

On Tuesday we were unexpectedly at Farnborough Gate due to a change in task plans. As you will see from the photos this was a benefit as the path did need a good bit of TLC.

It was a lovely warm day for it and our hard working volunteers really went to work improving the path. Our machinists Paul, Melvyn, Mike and Chris did a quick job of cutting back the vegetation, whilst David, Eric, Sarah, Vic, Tony, Jon, Sean and Gerry tidied up the mess and dealt with the thicker branches the machines couldn’t handle with hand tools and the pole saw. Gillian did fantastic work litter picking the area and we ended up taking five full bags of litter with a couple of cones and a bike.

The before and after photos show the instant gratification the team got from their hard work, the path is now tidy and light. Very well done everyone !

Assistant Ranger Bobbie

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Change of location for Volunteer task tomorrow 09/07/19

Due to unforeseen circumstances we have had to change the location and the activity of the volunteer task tomorrow. We try to avoid doing so as much as possible but on this occasion it is unavoidable.

The task (was Queens Avenue) is now going to be cutting back paths at Farnborough Gate North with Bobbie. Please park at the free, public Ringwood Road car park (GU14 8BG) located here:

http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?x=487361&y=157114&z=106&sv=487361,157114&st=4&ar=y&mapp=map.srf&searchp=ids.srf&dn=686&ax=487361&ay=157114&lm=0

Farnborough Gate now has a 4-hour maximum stay so this is the next best thing.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us on 01252 331353 or 07703449287.

Thank you for your understanding.

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New Volunteer Programme July 2019

Please click the link below to discover Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership’s programme of volunteer tasks this July 2019.

BVCP Volunteer Task Programme July 2019

What tasks are being run near you?

This months tasks feature several sites we don’t often visit

Litter pickers having too much fun!

Blackwater Valley Countryside Volunteers litter picking the Blackwater River path

General task information:

  • We provide tea, coffee, biscuits, tools and training
  • Please bring lunch (if you want to stay for the afternoon) and clothing suitable for the weather
  • If you are under 16 please bring an adult who can stay with you for the task

If you’ve never volunteered before and would like to join or simply know more please contact us via;

  • Office number: 01252 331353
  • Email: blackwater.valley@hants.gov.uk

Ranger Jenny

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Paving the way to improve Ash Green Meadow

Ash Green Meadows has had a new lease of life this week thanks to our dedicated Rangers and Volunteers. In the SW corner wildlife area, the surfaced path and boardwalk loop had a grass section, which could become muddy and hard to access in the winter (or wet June). To tackle this we laid a new 63m footpath and bridge ramps to complete the surfaced loop and make the meadows more accessible.

Stu did a fantastic job running the project on the ground, which kicked off with moving a mere 24 tonne sacks of scalpings down onto site with the tractor! The Blackwater Valley Countryside Volunteers came out to help in the rain to start off the new path and bridge ramps, laying shuttering and terram, then barrowing scalpings on top.

Work commences from either end

Today we were joined by 23 enthusiastic colleagues from SC Johnson who got stuck in working in the sunshine. Thanks to the earlier tasks, we were able to start path construction from either end with Stu & Paul, with the team set the challenge of avoiding a comedy zigzag in the middle. Meanwhile Jenny and Jeremy took a group off to cut back the overgrown bye-way track.

Just a few more barrow loads

Levelling off the scalpings

Thanks to Jo and Kate from Employee Volunteering for facilitating the task, and for securing a donation of £850 towards the material costs. Also to Colin from the BVC Trust for liaising with us to develop the project.

The new sparkly path

I’m very pleased to say that the path is joined up and we’ll pop down next week to top it up a bit. Thank you to all the volunteers and rangers, especially Stu, who did a fantastic job.

Senior Ranger Stuart

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Holly Lodge Animal Explorers at Snaky Lane

This week sixty year 5 pupils from Holly Lodge Primary School joined us at Snaky Lane Local Nature Reserve to survey the animals.

The children counted birds then charged around with sweep nets  to unearth wildlife in the meadow, including Beetles and Grass Hoppers. Meanwhile other pupils pond dipped discovering lots of aquatic life like; Pond Snails, Caddis Fly Larvae and even a couple of Smooth Newts.

Female Black-Tailed Skimmer with distinctive black ladder pattern on abdomen

There were also some dragonflies and damselflies flying around like this Black-Tailed Skimmer, whilst below the water we found several Common Darter Nymphs swimming around.

Thanks to Laura and Nicci for all their help.

Senior Ranger Stuart

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Blackwater Valley Rangers and volunteers take-on Invasive Species!

Invasive non-native species harm the environment and wildlife, are costly to the economy, and can even pose a risk to our health and way of life.

During Invasive Species Week (13-17 May), organisations across the UK, Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man work together to raise awareness and ask everyone to help prevent their spread to protect the environment and recreational spaces for future generations to enjoy.

Our Rangers and volunteers were busy along the length of the valley on a number of projects throughout the week.

In Wellesley Woods and in the Wellesley Green corridors Laura and  Stuart mounted a concerted attack on the False Acacia Robinia Pseudoacacia. Although it is generally uncommon in the wild, we have a significant amount of False Acaia at Wellesley.  Its rapid spread, suckering nature, ability to re-grow when cut down and spiny, impenetrable habit when established means that it is a major cause for concern. The Rangers have trialled different methods of removing this plant, including felling and digging out of the ground – both of which has produced vigorous regrowth. Following further research the Rangers are now trialling use of herbicide in selected areas and will continue to monitor the response from the plant.

Ranger Stuart applying herbicide.

Chalk Farm at Wellesley Woodlands has been invaded by Variegated Yellow ArchangelLamiastrum galeobdolon ssp argentatum. This innocent looking relative of the dead-nettles produces spreading stems (stolons) with beautifully variegated leaves and spikes of yellow flowers.

Once this species gets into the wild, it rapidly spreads and carpets the floor to the exclusion of other plants. The smallest stolon fragment with just one pair of leaves can grow into a new colony, and stolons break readily if the plant is pulled up. It’s usually found in shady habitats such as woodland edges, hedgerows, roadside banks and stream sides. This plant has been identified as such a critical risk that it is it is also an offence to plant or otherwise cause to grow these species in the wild.

Previous attempts to eradicate this plant with herbicide have failed, so Ranger Laura and the volunteers created a thick mulch of cardboard. This method has been successful in other parts of the UK – so we will continue to monitor the Variegated Yellow Archangel at Wellesley and share our findings.

  Volunteers preparing the cardboard mulch

Mulch in place

Himalayan BalsamImpatiens glandulifera, is the largest annual plant in Britain, growing up to 2.5m high from seed in a single season. This non-native plant spreads quickly and forms dense thickets, altering the ecological balance and character of wetland habitats. Many seeds drop into the water and contaminate land and riverbanks downstream, but the explosive nature of its seed release (seeds can be projected up to four meters away) means it can spread upstream too. It produces a lot of pollen over a prolonged season and is attractive to pollinating insects. There is concern that its presence may therefore result in decreased pollination for other native plants.

Stu, Jeremy and Bobbie mounted an attack on the Himalayan Balsam at Gerry’s Copse and Moor Green Lakes. With the help of our regular Moor Green Lakes volunteers Bobbie’s teams were able to pull-up a substantial amount of the plant before it had a chance to flower and spread its seeds. Regular removal throughout the summer months should prevent the spread of this plant.

 

 

 

Posted in Conservation, Gerry's Copse, Moor Green Lakes, River, Volunteers, Wellesley Woodlands, Wildlife | Tagged , | Leave a comment

New Volunteer Programme June 2019

Please click the link below to discover Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership’s programme of volunteer tasks this June 2019.

BVCP Volunteer Task Programme June 2019

Whats tasks are being run near you?

This months tasks feature path cutting and construction.

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Installing a bench at Gerry’s Copse

General task information:

  • We provide tea, coffee, biscuits, tools and training
  • Please bring lunch (if you want to stay for the afternoon) and clothing suitable for the weather
  • If you are under 16 please bring an adult who can stay with you for the task

If you’ve never volunteered before and would like to join or simply know more please contact us via;

  • Office number: 01252 331353
  • Email: blackwater.valley@hants.gov.uk

Ranger Jenny

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