BEES Urban Nature Reserve

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 managment 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.

 

Location

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Task List - BEES UNR

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 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

 

Wed 3rd June: BEES UNR (Urban Nature Reserve), Laisteridge Lane, Little Horton, BD5

This is an extra day to ensure the Reserve is good condition for environmental education sessions. As well as practical sessions we will conduct a bird survey and spend time identifying plants, damselflies and butterflies.

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

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 26th Sept 09: BEES Urban Nature Reserve

Further maintenance of the site to complete the work started on 7th Sept. We will work until mid afternoon and then return to the office for the launch of the new website we have been designing.