Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area

Environment Agency staff volunteering at Brackenhill ULAEnvironment Agency staff volunteering at Brackenhill ULABEES have a mangement agreement with the Council's Countryside and Rights of Way team to manage Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area. It is the area adjacent to Brackenhill Park in Great Horton and is managed to maximise the wildlife potential of the site. Our key jobs in the past year have been to repair the drystone wall along Greenfield Lane, to uncover and repair footpaths and steps and to control the litter and Japanese Knotweed.

In the forthcoming year we plan to further repair sections of pathway and to improve the quality of the pond. The Environment Agency carried out a survey of the pond last year and found, despite first appearances, that there is sign of invertebrate life in the pond. We hope to improve the amount of oxygenating and marginal plants.

Brackenhill Pond Survey

Geolocation

53.782423, -1.787295

Conservation Work

Brackenhill Park

Westcroft Road, BD7

Not quite the weather you would hope for for hay making! Drizzle and rain all day, and warm – the second week running the midges have been irritating (very irritating), so hooray for Sue has bought us some Skin So Soft which is a great repellent. 

We really just wanted to concentrate on cutting and raking the wildflower grassland today. But inevitably we had to clear some litter first – including mattresses, baskets and the inevitable shopping trolley. We had to leave another trolley in the pond as we had not gone equipped, and there was a burnt out scooter that was just too heavy for us to get it up the hill to where the Clean Team collected our hoard. 

We used the auto-scythe and hand scythes to cut the grass and then raked the cuttings to mulch the trees. There is plenty of knapweed, meadow sweet and meadow cranesbill and meadow vetchling in the grassland, and this management work will help preserve suitable conditions for these wildflowers to continue to thrive. 

 

Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area

Westcroft Road, BD7

Our focus today was to cut the meadow in order that the flowers, and their supply of nectar for the insects, continue to thrive. There is a lot of Meadow Cranesbill, Meadowsweet, Knapweed and Scabious. The functioning autoscythe did a good a job of the main area, with the hand scythe being useful on the verges, though the encroaching brambles first had to be cut with loppers. 

It is a shame that some inconsiderate dog owners are less than attentive to clearing up after their dogs, which made task of raking the grass unpleasant in places. Although it is October, the weather was more like that of traditional hay making season; it was hot work out of the shade.

We also cut the Japanese Knotweed near the gate and cleared a bit of litter. We were concerned to see that the pond was very dry. We know this has occurred within the last 10 days as we undertook a newt rescue last week to help a local resident who was worried about pollution in her garden pond, and its long term future. Rachel and Bella transferred 100s of newt tadpoles into the pond. Let’s hope the lack of water is short term and the invertebrate pond ecology survives. 

 

Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area

Great Horton, Westcroft Road

The main task today was to cut the top areas of wildflower meadow, in order that the flowers continue to thrive amongst the grass.  We used the auto scythe to cut the grass and then raked off the arisings to reduce the build-up fertility in the soil. 

There was also a substantial amount of litter to collect including four mattresses, a divan base,  a tent, sheets  and blankets. Thanks to the Clean Team for collecting these items and the numerous bags of litter.

In addition we cleared cut back some over grown hedging and mended the gate on Westcroft Road. 

Today we were a group of 11 volunteers. See more pictures here
 

Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area

West croft Road, Great Horton, BD7

 Our task today was to cut and rake off the meadow areas to benefit the grassland flowering plants.  First though we carried out some litter collecting. This involved retrieving tyres and a shopping trolley from the pond plus other large bits of rubbish scattered around the site.  We then set about main task, once the autoscythe got started. The grass areas were cut leaving the flowers that were making an appearance. We saw plenty of Meadowsweet, Celendine, Vetch, Cranesbill and a single Cowslip. This is all encouraging for a good show of colour during the summer with plenty of nectar for insects. 

We were again supported by the Clean Team who collected the litter. The Council Wardens also made a visit, so we were able to discuss the suitability of a dog fouling bin for the site.

Today we were a group of 9.

Click here to view the rest of the day pictures

Click here to view the BEES Flickr account

 

Friday 18th January 2013: Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area, Westcroft Road, Bradford, BD7

Friday 18th January 2013The weather was a factor today with a cold blast bringing snow for us. Still a good number of hardy souls turned up for the task and we were able to get out as planned. But the Countryside Service was unable to join us due to the conditions. At site we were able to get warm with the work of cutting back the overhanging willow trees. These have been causing an obstruction for a while and someone had started to cut back in the summer causing all sorts of poor regrowth.  We cut the back the stumps using bow saws to allow the tree to regrow better, then we cut some of the bigger branches to allow more light into the area. At the end of the day the area looked much improved and we could see the wall and the fence line once again.  The timber that we cut was harvested and will be used for making charcoal later in the year. We also had time to collect several bags of litter and connect with a local resident who is a regular site visitor and will keep an eye on the site.


Today we worked with 7 volunteers.

Click here to see other snowy photos of the day.

Friday 30th August 2013 Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area, Westcroft Road, Great Horton, BD7

We did not cut the meadow areas today because of ongoing repairs with the autoscythe. But that does not mean we had nothing to do. We were kept busy tackling Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam, controlling there spread gives the other ground flora a chance to thrive. The hedge along roadside was trimmed, it is good to see it growing well after it was laid. Pathways through the site were cut back and kept open, which makes the site more attractive for visitors. Then we repaired some of the steps and pathways, were the surfacing had been washed down the hill from previous heavy rain. The steps were really awkward to walk on but are now a bit safer.  Plus litter was collected and we had filled about 10 bags by the time we had finished.

Today we worked with 10 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Fri 24th Oct: Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area

Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area 24 Oct 08 1Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area 24th Oct 08We spent the morning clearing litter and fly tipping from two parts of the site. It was really satisfying to clear the stream of tyres and gas bottles and see it running again. One tyre was so big it took five of us to lift it on the Clean Team's wagon. In the afternoon we concentrated on improving the previous work on the steps from the Havelock Street entrance and removing the Himalayan balsam from the edge of the meadow area. We had six volunteers on the day.

See other photos of the day in the gallery

 

 

Friday 21st Aug: Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area, Westcroft Road, Great Horton, BD7

Friday 21 August 2009 Brackenhill ULA: Hard at work on the stepsHard at work on the steps

 Another great turn out of volunteers today with 15 in total. We carried out a variety of our regular maintenance jobs at the site. There was the collection of litter with 12 bags, removal of invasive plant species at 4 locations, path and step clearance at Green Lane and the central footpath. We were able to complete a lot of work to improve the site. Worth noting that the hedge which we laid in the winter has leafed up and is looking in good condition, as are the trees which we planted 3 winters ago and the grass area has several native wildflowers including Knapweed.

Friday 5th February 2010: Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area, Westcroft Road, Great Horton, Bradford, BD7.

Cutting the pleacherCutting the pleacherToday we returned to the same site as last week to further progress the work that was started. One group set off to the main site to the ensure the footpaths were clear, repair a wall and return shopping trollies. The other group carried on with the hedge. They quickly got into the work from the skills gained last week. First there was clearing and trimming to be done, then pleachers were cut and lastly trees placed into the line of the hedge supported by stakes. At the end of the day I am delighted to report that we completed the whole section, a great achievement for the group. The hedge will grow and provide a different habitat and we will return in a few years to relay it. 

Today we worked with 15 volunteers.

Click here for some other great photos of the work. 

Friday 20th August: Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area, Great Horton, BD7

Steps after clearingSteps after clearingToday there were enough volunteers to split into smaller groups. One group concentrated on making sure the pathways remained accessible at the central steps and then the lane from the school. The next group focussed on the invasive plant species, with two patches of Japense Knotweed and two patches of Himalayan Balsam tackled. The others concentrated on collecting litter, which although did appear too bad still managed to collect over 12 bags, including two from the pond.

Today we worked with 12 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.