Boar's Well Urban Wildlife Reserve

Boars Well pond clearance in Oct 2005Boars Well pond clearance in Oct 2005Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve sits on the hillside above Canal Road. It is council land and the responsibility of the Countryside and Rights of Way team. . Our key tasks involve keeping the pathways acceBEES have been involved in the management of the Reserve for the past 8 yearsssible, controlling the spread of Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam, management of the wildflower meadow and the pond.

The Reserve is on a south facing slope and is a popular site for butterflies and birds. Kestrels nest on or near the site each year and can often be seen hunting over the hillside.


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Conservation Work

Friday 10th June 2011: Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, King’s Road, Bradford, BD2

finding Japanese Knotweed in the section near Coleman Streetfinding Japanese Knotweed in the section near Coleman StreetThis was our first visit of the year and 19 volunteers were involved in access and biodiversity management. 

We cut and cleared overhanging branches along the main path and the footpath connecting Bolton Road and King's Road. We also continued our programme of invasive species control - cutting and pulling Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed in order to give the diversy range of native species a better chance to thrive. The areas of Japanese knotweed continue to be challenging to work in - the terrain is steep and uneven and the nettles are abundant. The remaining knotweed is on the whole fairly feeble but is still clinging on.

However, we were certainly taken aback by the quantity of balsam - a massive reduction in the numbers from last year. Very encouraging. We wondered whether the severe weather during the winter could have affected the seed bank (although the plant is from the himalayas) - I have had a quick internet search to see if other sites have found a similar reduction this year but there are not a lot of reports. We will be able to compare with other sites in Bradford that we are familiar with but at this stage I think it looks like the persistence and thorough work that we have undertaken in recent years should be congratulated.

The yellow rattle that was sown two years ago in the meadow area is doing very well indeed.

Friday 16th Sept 2011: Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, King’s Road, Bradford, BD2

clearing the nettles and bindweedclearing the nettles and bindweedToday we worked with 10 volunteers to start the autumn management tasks. The last cut of the Japanese Knotweed at the three sites towards Coleman Street were completed. We pulled some Himalayan Balsam - it is disappointing how much has come into flower since our early season excitement about getting on top of it. The plants that were removed had some seed pods but we felt that if they ripened once pulled at least we limited the area over which they would spread.

We also made a start on meadow cutting, concentrating on the area outside the site on King's Road which was cut with scythes and raked to ensure the fertility does not build up which will benefit the grasses at the expense of the wildflowers. The main meadow will be tackled in October. We cut a significant pathway between Spink Well and the pylon to remove nettles and bindweed, as well as clearing around the well head.  Although valuable plants for wildlife these species are dominating others and reducing the number of flowers along the pathway. There are plenty more nettles and bindweed on the banking.

Two years ago we seeded some yellow rattle and the initial clumps are establishing well. To aid the spread of the plant we collected seed from the dry pods and introduced these into new areas where we had scraped away the vegetation.

In addition we cut along the entire path, removed overhanging branches and collected a significant amount of litter.

We were kept company today by a noisy gang of jays and few speckled wood butterflies.

Have you ever seen common blue butterflies at Boar's Well? If you have we would like to hear from you.

Fri 1st June 2012: Boars Well, Kings Road, Bradford, BD1. Also Global Food Friday, Centenary Square

The group were at Boar’s Well today. We started out programme of removing the Japanese Knotweed. There remains a persistent number of the plants in several locations these were cut. After this we made a start on the Himalayan Balsam, this was pulled up. The pathways were cut back using the mower and the overhanging branches trimmed back. The overgrown area near the Spinks Well was cleared to create more open space. There was of course litter to collect along way. By the end of the day the site was looking more attractive for visitors and the habitats will also benefit.

We also had a stall at the Global Food event. This was well attended event by members of the public. It was an opportunity to gauge interest in a future community apple café idea, plus promote Apple Day 2012 and other BEES projects and try some delicious cakes with ingredients locally grown.

Today we worked with 13 volunteers.  

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Friday 21st September 2012: Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve

Today we undertook the early autumn tasks of pond and meadow management.

Once a year we reduce the quantity of reed sweet grass from the Boar's Well pond to ensure there is open water. We also managed to make a start on cutting back some of the vegetation, mainly bramble and rosebay willowherb, that is covering the banking and 'waterfall'.

The meadow areas - in the centre of the site, the King's Road entrance and at the 'picnic area' - were all cut and raked off. This reduces the build-up of fertility which benefits the wildflowers in the meadows. Bramble which was encroaching on the meadow areas was cut back.

As well as these two tasks, the main path was cleared of overhanging branches, and a final cut of Japanese knotweed was undertaken (I'd like to think for the last time, but it requires someone to take on chemical injection control to enable us to stop cutting. These discussions need to be pursued through the winter with the Council).

The amount of Himalayan balsam was a bit depressing, but the large flocks of long tailed tits were a delight.

Today we worked with 12 volunteers.

Friday 21st June 2013; Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, Kings Road, BD2

Today we were joined by a group employed by the Environment Agency. This gave us a good number on site and we were able to get a lot of maintenance jobs carried out round the site. As usual at this time of year the focus was on pulling the Himalayan balsam and a team were able to cover a large part of the site in some of the more inaccessible areas. The path ways were also cut back and the main one mown, this involved a good deal of cutting back vegetation, some of which required a saw, but mostly this could be done with loppers, shears and the mower. Good attention was given to the main entrance ways and this improves the profile of the site. Fly tipping and litter was removed, we were able to shift a couple of easy chairs, tyres and other rubble which was collected by the council’s clean team. In addition we were able to cut back and open up the area around Spinks well and sort out flooding to the pathway near Boars well. We will be back again in a few weeks but today’s attention made a real difference and a big thank you to the folk of the EA.

Today we worked with 22 volunteers.

Click here for other photos of the day.

Friday 13th September 2013 Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, Kings Road, BD2

Some of the group made a start cutting the meadow areas around the site. There are four of different sizes to be tackled. As the entrance one still had some flowers in bloom, we started on the “picnic area” the scythes were put to work and the cuttings were raked off. It was here that we found lots of discarded beer bottles which took a good deal of time collecting and sorting to be recycled. The next area that we cut was the smaller area at the top of the site, which had suffered from bramble encroachment. But Scabious, Knapweed and Yarrow have been in flower this year. The bramble was cut back which will hopefully allow the flowers to spread next year. In the afternoon we started to cut the main meadow area, which this year has been dominated with Hogweed and Yellow rattle has been seen, we will finish this on our next visit. Other members of the group were busy too and pulled areas of Himalayan balsam, cut the path edges and overhanging branches and collected the litter.

Today we worked with 11 volunteers.

Click here to see the other photos of the day.

Fri 13th Feb 09 Boar’s Well Urban Nature Reserve, Kings Road, Bradford, BD1

Tree thinningTree thinning Today we carried out tree thinning on an area of woodland along the path at this site. The aim is to increase biodiversity by letting more light through the canopy. Hopefully this will encourage more low level plants. Litter picking was also carried out and it was satisfying to see a completely litter free strip of thinned woodland at the end! We also pruned the Buddleia area near the picnic meadow to open up the pathways and create some low level flowering of the shrub in the summer. Then there was enough time to weed the central steps and assess their state of repair. There were a good number of our regular volunteers. We saw a few wonderful, bright red bullfinches which was a bonus.

A problem on the site is the excessive amount of dog fouling. The cause became clear as two men with 7 huge dogs rumbled through. It seems the site is ideal for a dog walking business as they can easily get away with not clearing up the mess. Today we were watching our every step on what is a very large site! The dog walkers didn't think much of our polite suggestions to scoop the poop. In fact we were told where to go and in no uncertain terms that removing the deposits wasn't going to happen!


Friday 19th June: Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, Kings Road, BD2

Cutting Japanese KnotweedCutting Japanese KnotweedToday we commence our annual programme to control both Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed on the site in order to encourage greater biodiversity. We found that Japanese Knotweed was particularly vigorous in a number of areas, as can been seen from the picture it was taller than we were. The difficulty of the work from stinging nettles and the terrain have been rewarded as the areas of Birch planted six years ago and the Rowan more recently are now growing well enough to compete with the Japanese Knotweed, but we will still knock it back. We mowed the edge of the path for the site which has a good effect on the meadow and opens up the width for the public. A group also cleared the path up to Bolton Road.  And I am pleased to report the amount of dog fouling has reduced in response to our efforts to talk to dog walkers and place signs at the entrances.

Today there was 13 volunteers.

See photos of the meadow and Birch trees taken on the day 

Friday 18th Sept: Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, Kings Road, BD2

Friday 18th September 2009 Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve: Pond clearingPond clearing

 Today carried out pond management to remove the dominant plants and create an improved habitat. We also continued our work to remove the invasive Japanese knotweed on the site, cut and raked two meadow areas which will improve the potential for wildflowers next year and in one area planted locally sourced Yellow rattle seed to add to the diversity.

Today we worked with 11 volunteers and introduced our new long term volunteer Raquel seen in the pond who will be working with BEES until July 2010.

Click here for more pictures of the day 

Friday 18th June 2010: Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve

smiling in the drizzlesmiling in the drizzle Today we began our summer management programme to ensure access to the Reserve is good, and to help the biodiversity of the site by controlling the Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam. Luckily it was raining in the morning so we were dressed in long sleeves - this protected us from the worst of the nettles even though many of us complained of sore wrists by the end of the day.

The Japanese Knotweed, though significantly reduced from when we began our campaign many years ago, is still hanging on. It would be good to explore injecting herbicide into the hollow stems to try and tackle the last bits as the task gets more unpleasant the more other species are colonising amongst it. We would not want to spray it on the leaves as this would be detrimental to the other plants.

One team of volunteers cleared over hanging branches and mowed the path edges.

It was pleasing to see that the yellow rattle seed that that we sowed last year has germinated and the plants are flowering. We will need to poach the soil later in the summer so new seed will germinate.

13 volunteers were involved today.