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 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 15th May BEES UNR (Urban Nature Reserve)

first stage of steps completed, despite the conditions. Well done!First stage of steps completed, despite the conditions. Well done!What a day! As if the rain wasn't enough, the proposed line of the steps wasn't a slope but a rubbish tip. As the excavations began more and more debris was exposed - bricks, hardcore, chain link fencing, reinforced concrete posts and a mighty long stretch of scafolding pole. A massive effort was made to remove the pipe  but in the end we had to settle with cutting it off well below ground level and ensuring it was safely buried.

Digging in the rain soon created muddy, slippery working conditions so it is to the credit of the nine volunnteers with us toady that we managed to complete the first stage of constructing the steps by securing the risers (front of steps) in position. They will be completed on our extra task day on Wednesday June 3rd.

We had hoped to use ash branches that had been felled on site in the winter to construct the steps, but made a descision that there was not enough home grown timber to do a professional job. The timber will be used for charcoal production instead.

As well as working on the steps we dug out the Giant Hogweed. Living up to its name it was very big for this time of year. We know it will grow back but will persevere with our eradication programme.

Paths and overhanging branches were cut and more snowberry roots removed in readiness for planting wildflowers during our 'Dirty Weekend' (Springwatch) on 6th and 7th June.

See more photos in the gallery

Friday 25th Sept: BEES UNR (Urban Nature Reserve), Laisteridge Lane, Little Horton, BD7

Friday 25th September 2009 BEES Urban Nature Reserve: Pond clearing Pond clearing

 Today was the last in our series of Breathing Places tasks this summer. We made a focus on clearing the ponds of plants like Water soldier and Bog bean. These if left unchecked will dominate the other vegetation and cause the pond to dry out. By keeping the pond with areas of open water will provide a suitable habitat for insects like dragonflies and damselflies. We also cut and raked the meadow areas to improve the potential for wildflowers next year.

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

Friday 5th April 2013: BEES Urban Nature Reserve, University Campus, Laisteridge Lane, Bradford,BD5

We returned to our outdoor projects with a visit to the Urban Nature Reserve. We worked on several different areas of the site, like clearing more of the snowberry and replanting with Rowan in the woodland area. Wildflowers were planted in the woodland and the slopes around the ponds; these will provide good nectar sources for insects. Insect and mammal trapdoors were put in place around the site, pruning of the beech hedge which will allow light to the ground flora and litter removed. It was a good days’ worth of management tasks that will benefit the wildlife on the site and add to the experience of visiting groups in the coming months.
But the endless winter continues and we worked with snow on the ground, there were at least a few signs of spring appearing like flowering primrose.

Today we worked with 10 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.