BEES Urban Nature Reserve

Marsh marigold
Marsh marigold

BEES have created a small nature reserve on land rented from the University on the Laisteridge lane campus. The Reserve began life in 1990 and although it has seen several changes over the years, it still offers a wonderful space for wildlife near the city centre.

It consists of two medium sized ponds, an area of trees and wildflower rich grassland. The ponds host a large population of Brown Hawker dragonflies and several species of damselfly. Birds regularly seen include goldfinch, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, blackbirds and thrushes.

Our priorities for management this autumn are to remove some of the submerged and marginal vegetation to allow more open water. Unfortunately we have New Zealand Pygmy weed, an invasive non-native plant, in the pond which needs controlling. We will also manage the trees to allow more sunlight into the pond.

The Reserve offers a great opportunity for our conservation volunteer group and for local schools to visit for environmental education sessions which compliment the classroom curriculum.

See the gallery of photos.

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Breathing Places Weekend at BEES UNR

BEES Urban Nature Reserve, Summer Activities 2009

 

Geolocation

53.785131, -1.768405

Conservation Work

BEES Urban Nature Reserve

Access from Laisteridge Lane, BD5

Our last pond work of the year, and a good job too as the quite a few of the waders seem to be leaking, or just wet (sorry Amy!). Despite the conditions (wet feet, rain, pond) both ponds had a good clearance with the focus being ono the bogbean which forms a dense root mass which can be hard to remove. 

Tesco say they will come and collect the trolley that was in the pond. And we hope the ‘beavers’ don’t return to put all the logs back in the pond.

All the paths, meadow and parts of the railway cutting were cut and raked. 

In the winter we will be thinning some of the trees to let more light into the ponds and woodland floor.

 

15th May 2015

Laisteridge Lane, University campus.

15th May 201515th May 2015The tasks today will include path clearance (especially around the pond), management of the railway line and meadow, digging out the burnt remains of the bench and hopefully replacing it with a homemade one. we may also have some bark to barrow to replenish the paths. 

 

 

BEES UNR

University Campus, Laisteridge Lane, BD5

We planned to tackle several tasks on the nature reserve, today. After introducing the site to new people we divided into small groups to tackle the work. A group cut back the Laurel bush that we had started to cut several years ago. This will bring in more light to the site and allow the native whips planted to thrive. The decking platform which had become slippery and nearly unusable was covered in chicken wire to provide a non-slip surface. The tree identification signs were cleaned, replaced and repaired ready for visitors. Litter and fly tipping was collected from around the site, being winter it was more visible and unsightly than usual, so the place looked a great deal better with it gone. Finally we cut back some of the limbs of the Willow tree overhanging the top pond, this again will allow more light into the site and in turn benefit the pond habitat.

Today we worked with 11 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Fri 16th Jan 09 BEES Urban Nature Reserve, Laisteridge Lane

Using ash thinnings to prepare stakes for hedgelayingUsing ash thinnings to prepare stakes for hedgelayingThe tree surgeon has not yet completed the felling work on the Reserve so we altered our task to continue the improvement of the 'woodland' area. We continued to clear the snowberry to create a planting area for a greater variety of woodland flowers. We will not remove it all at once as its dense growth offers a nesting site for wrens, so the rest will be kept until our recent planting matures and provides an alternative. The hedge along the boundary of the site is mainly beech and is thin so we have decided to do some supplementry planting to create a denser hedge. Beech creates a dense canopy so we have high pruned to allow adequate side light for new saplings, which we will plant before the end of March, to establish. We also thinned some ash on the bank - these thinnings will be used for stakes next week. We cleared a lot of rubbish from the bank as well.

 

There were six volunteers today.

Friday 27th May 2011: BEES Urban Nature Reserve

Fourteen volunteers worked today on a range of tasks to get the Reserve ready for educational visits during the summer.

One of the key tasks that we aimed to do was clearing the Giant Hogweed (an invasive plant with an irritating sap). However it seems like the hard work over previous years has paid off and there were hardly any plants evident. The ones that remain are in amongst the stones and hard to dig out, but the are not growing strongly so it should be straight forward keeping them in check.

The paths were cleared and vegetation cut around the entrances and benches. It was disappointing to find two bird boxes damaged, however a third is housing a family of blue tits. The Reserve lived up to it's name - BEES UNR - there were a tremendous number of bumble bees, of several species. A chiff chaff was singing, a damselfly was spotted as well green veined-white and large white butterflies. We had a look at some of the creatures in the pond and visitors will have further opportunity to learn about the wildilfe on the reserve on July 23rd open afternoon as part of the Wildlife Wanders programme.

Unfortunelty I forgot to take any photos - I will post some at a later date.

Friday 19th October 2012: BEES Urban Nature Reserve, University Campus, Laisteridge Lane, Bradford, BD5

This is the season for pond management as it is the least disruptive time for the wildlife that lives there. And so we set about clearing the vegetation that was beginning to dominate to give the other plants and creatures a chance to thrive. This is particularly wet and dirty work as we have to get the plants by the roots which are well below the water surface. But with usual good spirits, the task was soon got under way. We had managed to clear the top pond before lunch and worked on the lower pond after lunch. We had certainly achieved what we wanted to as both ponds had areas of water with no plants that did not before. This will allow the creatures like to dragonflies to use the area and will allow for pond activities to take place in future. We also carried out some other necessary management task, like clearing fly tipping including a mattress and wardrobe, cutting the meadow and grassy areas and further reducing the snow berry in the woodland, this will allow the woodland flowers to grow like the red campion.

Following the task we held a User Forum at Culture Fusion. This gave us an opportunity to discuss the project and future developments. We were treated to tasty apply cake and fresh apple juice. Then Sue and Kat gave us a presentation of the project that they had attended in Spain which Montse had organised in the summer. It looked a really exciting project in the mountains of Catalonian, looking after the environment there.

Today we worked with 8 volunteers

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Friday 1st October: BEES Urban Nature Reserve, Laisteridge Lane, BD5

Working in heavy rainWorking in heavy rainToday was dominated by the heavy rain that fell throughout the day. However we perserved and continued with our work schedule. This was to work in the ponds to remove the dominant plants, these were bog bean and new zealand pigmyweed. The result will be to produce open water which is required by the dragonflies. Other jobs that were carried out were the cutting and raking of the meadow areas and the removal of flytipping.

The photo is such poor quality due to the rain.

Today we worked with 15 volunteers. 

 

Friday 4th Nov 2011: BEES Urban Nature Reserve, University Campus, Laisteridge Lane, Bradford, BD5

clearing the pondclearing the pondToday 14 volunteers undertook autumn management task on our nature reserve on the University campus. We worked in both ponds to remove some of the vegetation so that we keep enough open water to suit the dragonflies. We were surprised, and delighted, to see a dragonfly patrolling the pond, probably a brown hawker.

We also cut the meadow area and raked off the vegetation to prevent a build-up in fertility. There are rather too many nettle and docks in this area but we have been waiting to see what happens with the development of this land (it is no longer officially part of our reserve) before embarking a more radical change of management.

We also cut the vegetation around the ponds and on the railway line – this involved clearing a few birch seedlings that will overshadow the wildflowers.

A couple of volunteers remained at Culture Fusion with Nick to continue the tool storage construction.

See more photos here