BEES UNR

BEES Urban Nature Reserve

Laisteridge Lane

27th Oct 201727th Oct 2017We haven’t been to the Reserve much this summer, with none of our regular schools groups visiting due to the anti-social behaviour that we have had to deal with. So when we arrived it was looking a bit unloved and abandoned. However, it was amazing what we achieved – all the meadow areas and paths were cut and raked, and over hanging branches cut back.

We decided not to remove vegetation from the pond as it was quite sparse in relation what we normally experience at this time of year. However, the lower pond was covered in a film of oil so we did need to address this. We used newspaper and paper towels to absorb the oil. We didn’t have enough to finish the job, but made a good start.

 

Whilst sitting for lunch we were aware of the lovely autumn sunshine, but none of it is reaching the ponds or grassland (or us). We will schedule a couple of days in the winter to coppice hazel on the bank and remove a few other trees. The long-tailed tits kept us company all day. 

BEES Urban Nature Reserve

Uni campus of Laisteridge Lane

Marsh CinqefoilMarsh CinqefoilDo you know what rotting chicken carcasses smell like? I’m sure can imagine it, but I advise you not to. We arrived at the Reserve prepared to be disappointed by the state of the place after a prolonged period of anti-social behaviour (drug use and discarded paraphernalia), but had not come prepared for the stench of repeated fly-tipping from All Saints Road. Luckily the breeze meant the smell was intermittent (or is that wishful thinking?). 

On the plus side there was no sign of dangerous rubbish. And the marsh cinquefoil and other flowers were looking good. A water lily opened slightly in the afternoon sun, the greater spearwort will be out in the next week as will the flag irises. And we saw a frog for the first time in years. The newt population looks good. One of the ponds looks unhappy – a murky sandy colour. We will add some oxygenating weeds to see if that helps, and in the winter we will do some tree thinning on the bank to increase the light levels getting to the pond.  

We gave the paths a thorough cut and dug out some of the mat of arch angel in the woodland area. 

 

BEES UNR

Laisteridge Lane, BD5

Today’s tasks were to clear some of the vegetation from the ponds and the pathways and verges. 

We want to make sure some open water is maintained in the pond to suit some of the dragonfly species and other aquatic life. Waders and long gloves kept us (mostly) dry. We concentrate on the Bogbean as this is dominating both ponds and forms a dense mat of roots, hard to remove. We replaced as much of the Marsh Cinquefoil as we spotted. This lovely plant has colonised well which we are pleased about. 

The land based team did a great job in cutting back comfrey, thistle, bindweed and grasses from the entrance section, around the ponds and into the woodland. 

There is a theme emerging this autumn. The hungry midges. This time we had the Skin so Soft to hand, but couldn’t get it out of the bottle! The midges are definitely not the worst thing. There is continued drug use on the site. We avoided the area beyond the medlar tree, where a significant number of needles were identified. The clearance is going to take a more focused approach. Luckily we are receiving help form the police and the cleansing department so we hope that the problem will be resolved by next spring. 

 

BEES Urban Nature Reserve

off Laisteridge Lane, BD5

Returning the Laisteridge Lane site we set about today's task of general pathway clearance and general maintenance of the nature reserve.

A broken bench within the seating area beside the ponds was dug out and replaced with a home-made one thanks to the efforts of some of the team.

Removing some of the more dominant plant species, our volunteers concentrated on improving the wildflower diversity by planting the varieties we brought to the site, along with redistributing some of the wildflowers from different areas of the nature reserve.

However the management of the railway line and meadow area had to be cut short due to the discovery of an overgrown secluded spot which appeared to show signs of extensive drug use. Efforts to do a good litter clean-up was further hampered due to a large amount of waste which seemed to contain rotten down cannabis plant matter and needles.

 

BEES Urban Nature Reserve

Laisteridge Lane, BD5

A day to wash away the cobwebs! 

Our task was to increase the amount of sunlight reaching the pond and meadow areas. This involved felling sizable ash and willow trees, and removing spreading branches from the hornbeam next to the meadow. The long handled saw was very useful for removing ash growing over the path and pond. We practised our bird’s beak cuts in order to control direction of felling, and were pleased with the amount achieved through the day. We also removed piles of compost left from our autumn pond clearance day.

It was a pretty wet start to the day, and despite the rain clearing by mid-morning, the paths became very muddy and slippy through the day. Long-tailed Tits buzzed around above our heads, the thrushes were vocal, and we were pleased to have good site and sound of a Great Spotted Woodpecker calling loudly from a tree adjacent to All Saints Road. 

See some more pictures here

 
 

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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 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 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 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 19th February 2010: BEES Urban Nature Reserve, University Campus, Laisteridge Lane, Bradford, BD5.

Today we were able to carry out a number of maintenance tasks that will make the site easier to use for visitors during the year to come. We thinned out Ash tress, by repotting seedlings which we can use on other sites, and coppicing larger ones that we will allow greater variety in time. Litter and flytipping was removed which included a suitcase and a dressing table mirror. A fallen tree was removed. Several habitats were created which we found time consuming as we wanted to create good examples. Some of the vigorous growing plants were checked to allow better access during the summer months. We also welcomed two other visitors who are keen to showcase our work, a photographer and local radio reporter.

Today we worked with 19 volunteers, including 3 other European nationalities and 2 new volunteers.

See other pictures of the day by following this link.

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

 

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.

BEES Urban Nature Reserve

Laisteridge Lane

We returned to the Reserve to continue with the tree thinning to allow more light onto the woodland bank and into the ponds. Coppicing the hazel and some ash on the bank has made a big impact. 

On the woodland side of the pond we tackled the large overhanging willow. We successfully removed one large branch, but this was really at the limits of our ability and endurance with hand tools. There was one ash we had our eyes on but have realised that if we are going to tackle this we will need help from a chain saw (and operator). 

Although things have improved a bit, there is still evidence of drug use.  It seems sensible to seek some funding to buy in a cleansing service, a tree surgeon and some timber to place some of the benches.