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

Friday 10th July, BEES UNR (Urban Nature Reserve), Laisteridge Lane, Little Horton, BD7

UNR Fri 10th July 09 2: Meadow CranesbillFri 10th July 09 Meadow Cranesbill

Today the focus was on a Breathing Place Open Day. We took the opportunity to survey the plants on the site and carry out pond dipping with visitors, a group from the YMCA and volunteers. Unfortunately we did not see any dragonflies or damselflies but we recorded 26 species of flowering plants, 13 species of pond plants and 21 species of trees on the site. An impressive number for a site so close to the city centre. We also carried out some management of the reserve. This included path maintenance, removal of giant hogweed and clearing around the Medlar tree. 

Thanks today to the 11 volunteers. 

 

See other photos of the day here or here

 

Friday 18th February 2011: BEES Urban Nature Reserve, Laisteridge Lane, BD5

collecting littercollecting litter Today we continued with our management programme of the urban nature reserve. In the woodland area we removed some of the snowberry bush because it was spreading and so this will give the opportunity for a range of plants to grow. Some of the ash trees were thinned and this will allow more light to enter and aid the ground flora. We collected litter and removed flytipping from around the site and then laid new woodchip to the steps and pathway. Today there were 20 volunteers and all this was completed by early afternoon, this allowed some of us to visit Brackenhill ULA where we collected 18 bags of litter while others constructed an owl box. Click here to see other photos of the day.

Friday 30th Mar 2012: BEES Urban Nature Reserve, University Campus, Laisteridge Lane, BD5.

Thirteen volunteers work at the Reserve today. We undertook a variety of tasks including a little bit of woodland thinning to allow more light to reach the ground flora on the bank and railway cutting. We transplanted some red campion from the woodland area to the banking.

We removed nettles from the meadow and snowberry from the woodland area. Litter was cleared from around the site and the steps and path were topped up with bark that had been donated from RG group at the new ASDA building site on Cemetery Road.

The primroses, marsh marigolds and blackthorn were in full flower. Not only did we hear a chiff chaff, which will have arrived from Africa in the last few days, but had a really good view of one. Bumble bees, honey bees and small tortoiseshell butterflies were enjoying the sun, and there was female mallard on the pond.

Friday 1st November 2013 BEES Urban Nature Reserve, University Campus, Laisteridge Lane, Bradford, BD5

More pond management was required today this time at the Urban Nature Reserve. We worked in both ponds and our aim was to remove the less beneficial plants like bog bean and water soldier. This will give the more beneficial plants like soft rush, lily, water mint and purple loosestrife a chance to develop. These are more beneficial to the aquatic insects. Plus remove some of the fallen leaves from the trees which reduce the oxygen in the water and cause the pond to silt up as they decompose.
Whilst this was underway others were removing the brash from the pruned Beech trees to create more useful habitat piles. Also, digging up the variegated archangel and replacing it with woodland flora like the red campion which gave an impressive display this year. The grass areas were cut and raked off and in the meadow area we were able to dig out some of the persistent weeds like dock.
Thanks to Andrew who surveyed urban ponds for a university project recently, was able to show us snails, beetles and insect larva and it appears the ponds are healthy for such an urban setting, but they will still need our careful future attention.

Today we worked with 10 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.