Boars Well UWR

Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve

off Kings Road, BD2

What a difference a few days can make. Long johns give way to sun cream in a blink of an eye. Boar’s Well is best enjoyed in the sunshine, so it was nice to have a good day for our first visit in ages. 

We were cutting back some very robust bramble from the path, as well as overhanging tree branches. We also gave a spring cut and rake to the meadow – maybe a bit later than ideal but as the meadow is now dominated by common hogweed, it felt better to do it than not. 

We saw both Comma and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies whilst eating lunch (a fine looking picnic) and are pretty confident that female brimstone flew past. The robins and warblers were singing away, and the wild cherry and blackthorn blossom were looking pretty.  


Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve

off Kings Road, BD2

End of the dayEnd of the dayThe last of our pond and meadow sessions for this year. We do not undertake regular maintenance at Boar’s Well anymore, and it was a lovely autumn day to return. 

The pond was much clearer than in most years. Perhaps this was because we did a thorough job last year, or perhaps the shade from the overhanging branches is limiting the reed growth.  We cleared the reeds to form a passage through the water and also cut back some of the overhanging branches. 

The meadow is also suffering from tree growth. The two willows on the edge of the meadow are now of substantial size, casting shade on the meadow. We cut back some of the lower branches but this will only have limited effect. Regardless, we cut back the entire meadow area with scythes and raked off the arisings. Terry made a good job of reclaiming the edges from encroaching bramble. 

The mower was used to cut some of the main path, and some monster brambles, that were on the way to forming a thicket across the path, were cut.

It was nice to talk to a couple of regular walkers who told us that Sparrowhawks have nested at Boar’s Well this year and they also see Tawny owls and Woodpeckers as well as Long-tailed Tits and other small birds. And just for the record – not a midge in sight!


Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve

off Kings Road, BD1

Returning today the Boar's well site we had quite a successful bounty of timber to bring back to Culture Fusion building for storage to be turned into charcoal.

As normal, out of courtesy we made an effort to improve the path in the reserve removing vegetation and clearing away allowing access to be made easier.


Boar's Well Urban Wildlife Reserve

Although we no longer have a management role at Boar’s Well we wanted to make sure the pond and meadow were still managed for the benefit of the wildlife. We made a good job of the pond, ensuring it retains some open water. The meadow cut was less successful, in fact we didn’t do it, purely because I had a mechanical breakdown (!). 

We had a few issues with padlocks, keys and petrol today, but on a positive note this was another lovely sunny day with lots of late Speckled Wood, Comma and Large White butterflies as well as flocks of Long-tailed Tits. 


Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve

Parking at Coleman St/ Lawson St

We are no longer the managers of the Reserve but decided to undertake a little bit of maintenance of the pathways, and at the same time try and 'tidy up' the trees that had been felled under the electricity pylons. We will use some of the timber for charcoal making and some benches. 

We took the opportunity to check on the meadow. We found some Yellow Rattle seedlings growing strongly, but areas of the meadow are being taken over by hogweed. Although we might not be here as regularly this summer we do hope to continue to manage some of the habitats to ensure they continue to provide valuable urban wildlife spaces.

It was a bit chilly today but there were some signs of spring; Willow Warblers, Jays and Chiffchaffs and a small veined white on Lady's Smock.

When we got back to Culture Fusion we planted some veg seeds. Rocket, beetroot and lettuce were planted in the beds, and courgettes, beans, peas and butternut squashes were sown in pots and protected by the cold frame.

Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve

off Kings Road near junction with Canal Road

A team of eight had several tasks to carry out today. We were clearing pathways of leaves and mud, collecting timber to make benches for the Bowling Community Orchard, and a general tidy. We thinned out some willow and bramble and trees from the edge of the pathways. 

We were accompanied by several inquisitive robins which made members of the team smile. A local lad passing by said that he had seen lots of foxes in the vicinity.


Boar's Well

Boar's Well, off Kings Road near junction with Canal Road

A small group of six volunteers undertook the autumn tasks of clearing the pond and clearing the pathways. 

Once a year we pull The Reed Sweetgrass from the pond in order to maintain open water. Today we also cleared brambles and balsam from the water inflow – the Boar’s Well. 

The path team worked at Coleman Street end uncovering old steps that had been neglected for years and were covered in bramble. This task was not completed and we plan to carry on with this in the winter.  

We sowed some yellow rattle seed on the meadow, removing some of the dominant hogweed at the same time. There were plenty of long tailed tits to keep us company.There were plenty of long tailed tits to keep us company. 


Boar's Well

Boar's Well, off Kings Road near junction with Canal Road

Today we continued our summer management of Boar’s Well with the usual routine of clearing and mowing the paths and meadow areas. We also took on the challenge of tacking the Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam. So we split into 2 groups and began to remove the knotweed, which had taken steps to grow in the most difficult of places.


As we cut the knotweed back, making sure to leave in one location the group move town the gate, cutting back more and more of the invasive plant. Along the way we also pull balsam from the ground, and collected the litter. Soon we managed to cut back the knotweed we could see and remove the balsam in the area we found it in, and headed back to Culture Fusion.


Today we had a group of 6


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Boar's Well Urban Wildlife Reserve

Near Canal Road/Kings Road junction

Today was an unusual task for us here at BEES as it was our last task with Nick, but our task at Boar’s Well was a fitting way to send him on his way to new pastures. Our main objective was to clear the paths of nettles brambles and other vegetation and make them accessible for the public, so we split into small group and began to clear the paths.


Some used loppers and shears to remove overhanging branches and larger bushes, whilst others used the sickles to sweep away the grass and nettles. Like many of our sites we also did some litterpicking and removed Himalayan Balsam, and mowed a strip alongside the path.


Once the task was finished we returned to Culture Fusion and had our final farewells with Nick for his years of dedication to BEES, and headed to the Lord Clyde in true BEES fashion.


Today we had a group of 13


Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve

Kings Road, BD2

Today we carried out several winter tasks on the site. We continued with work that we started last year to get more light along the path and for the ground flora. Several Hazel trees were coppiced. They will regrow with even more stems in the future. We will use the timber for making charcoal later in the year. Interestingly the tree was in flower which is to be expected mid-February.

Another group carried out some hedge laying nearby. Using billhooks we laid a good section of the hedge, some of the stems were relatively small so we were able to complete what looked a good section and there is more to be completed another time. It will provide a good habitat as it regrows because there will be more age structure to the woodland.

Whilst this was going on, some other people concentrated on clearing up the litter and fly tipping. Unfortunately there was more than expected today and the Clean Team were on hand to take it away from the site. Although rain threatened a few times, it never came to anything and we only saw one person walking their dog.

Today we worked with 9 volunteers.

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Friday 4th October 2013 Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, King’s Road, Bradford, BD1

There were several tasks undertaken on this visit. The entrance meadow was cut and raked off, this will enable to flowering plants to grow again next year. At last count there were over 20 different wildflower species, so this is worth maintaining as it is in such a prominent position. On the site the pond was cleared of the plants that are least beneficial and this will give the others a chance to grow next year which provide nectar sources for visiting insects. Further cutting and raking was carried out on the meadow area. We also cut the Japanese knotweed and some remaining Himalayan balsam.

Today we worked with 8 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day and site.

Friday 13th September 2013 Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, Kings Road, BD2

Some of the group made a start cutting the meadow areas around the site. There are four of different sizes to be tackled. As the entrance one still had some flowers in bloom, we started on the “picnic area” the scythes were put to work and the cuttings were raked off. It was here that we found lots of discarded beer bottles which took a good deal of time collecting and sorting to be recycled. The next area that we cut was the smaller area at the top of the site, which had suffered from bramble encroachment. But Scabious, Knapweed and Yarrow have been in flower this year. The bramble was cut back which will hopefully allow the flowers to spread next year. In the afternoon we started to cut the main meadow area, which this year has been dominated with Hogweed and Yellow rattle has been seen, we will finish this on our next visit. Other members of the group were busy too and pulled areas of Himalayan balsam, cut the path edges and overhanging branches and collected the litter.

Today we worked with 11 volunteers.

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Friday 16th August 2013 Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, Kings Road, BD2

comma on buddleiacomma on buddleiaOur most important job today was to get round as much of the himalayan balsam as possible. It had grown since our last visit. We wanted to concentrate on the areas where the plant grows on the upper slopes, so that the seeds do not get sown back across the site with the prevailing wind. A good number of us set about this task, scrabbling up and down slopes, and dodging or not the nettles. While the others worked to keep the paths open, first scything, then mowing the grass at the sides and then cut cutting back the overhanging vegetation. Little bits of litter were cleared, more work to extend the ditch and open up the grass area adjacent to Spink’s Well. But on the plus side there were a few butterflies about notably comma, peacock and whites. The Rowan trees are laden with berries and buddleia full of flowers, all of which are welcome at the site.

We were blessed today with some fine weather and beginning to think that it doesn’t rain on us at Boar’s Well, or is it too soon to say??

Today we worked with 11 volunteers and welcomed 3 new people.

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Friday 19th July 2013 Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, Kings Road, BD2

Our work at the site continued today, and we soon got organised with the tasks. The edges of the path were mowed and branches cut back, this improves the access to the site. Some areas of himalayan balsam were pulled up, but it is noticeable how this year there is less about on the site than other years. Litter was cleared and taken to the entrance where the Council’s Clean Team came and removed it. The area adjacent to Spink’s Well was cut and by doing this it opens the area up and gives other plants a chance to establish, currently the meadowsweet is developing well. The meadow area is looking different to other years with hogweed the dominant plant, but there is also yellow rattle and knapweed present, which are good sources of nectar. It was also pleasing to see that the hedge we cut and layed in December is growing well and there is a photo of it.

Today we worked with  7 volunteers.

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Friday 21st June 2013; Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, Kings Road, BD2

Today we were joined by a group employed by the Environment Agency. This gave us a good number on site and we were able to get a lot of maintenance jobs carried out round the site. As usual at this time of year the focus was on pulling the Himalayan balsam and a team were able to cover a large part of the site in some of the more inaccessible areas. The path ways were also cut back and the main one mown, this involved a good deal of cutting back vegetation, some of which required a saw, but mostly this could be done with loppers, shears and the mower. Good attention was given to the main entrance ways and this improves the profile of the site. Fly tipping and litter was removed, we were able to shift a couple of easy chairs, tyres and other rubble which was collected by the council’s clean team. In addition we were able to cut back and open up the area around Spinks well and sort out flooding to the pathway near Boars well. We will be back again in a few weeks but today’s attention made a real difference and a big thank you to the folk of the EA.

Today we worked with 22 volunteers.

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Friday 14th December 2012; Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, King’s Road, Bradford, BD2

Our tasks today were to continue with the hedge laying and to coppice the cornice area. We soon got into the hedging, cutting pleachers and staking the trees to create a living barrier, it was made easier as we had cleared the line out before. By the end of the day we had cut and laid about 20 metres and the work was looking like a hedge. This will benefit the site, by increasing the light getting to the ground and provide another habitat. While further on the site the cornice was coppiced by cutting the stems at ground level using saws and loppers. This will increase the light levels to the ground, add colour to the site as it regrows and stop it becoming woody.

We thought that we would be lucky with the weather, but we were not and were rained on most of the day, which is why the photos have not come out very well.

Today we worked with 6 volunteers.

Click here to see the other photo of the day

Friday 2nd November 2012: Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, King’s Road, Bradford, BD2.

Our task today was to prepare the hedge line that we will lay later in the season. This meant that we cut the lower branches of the hawthorn and removed the dog rose.  Also we started to prepare the coppice area of Hazel close to the hedge.  By doing this we open up the pathway to light, allow other vegetation to develop as well as create a different habitat on the site. After this preparation it was noticeable how much more light was entering the area. We also used the scythes to cut back the nettles along the pathway which will help us for when we mow the edges next year.

Today we worked with 6 volunteers and it felt like winter had joined us.

Click here to see other photos of the day.


Friday 21st September 2012: Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve

Today we undertook the early autumn tasks of pond and meadow management.

Once a year we reduce the quantity of reed sweet grass from the Boar's Well pond to ensure there is open water. We also managed to make a start on cutting back some of the vegetation, mainly bramble and rosebay willowherb, that is covering the banking and 'waterfall'.

The meadow areas - in the centre of the site, the King's Road entrance and at the 'picnic area' - were all cut and raked off. This reduces the build-up of fertility which benefits the wildflowers in the meadows. Bramble which was encroaching on the meadow areas was cut back.

As well as these two tasks, the main path was cleared of overhanging branches, and a final cut of Japanese knotweed was undertaken (I'd like to think for the last time, but it requires someone to take on chemical injection control to enable us to stop cutting. These discussions need to be pursued through the winter with the Council).

The amount of Himalayan balsam was a bit depressing, but the large flocks of long tailed tits were a delight.

Today we worked with 12 volunteers.

Friday 10th August 2012:Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, King’s Road, Bradford, BD2.

We returned to the site today to carry out further management work. And, were greeted by the new sign on the entrance meadow, which needless to say has not enhanced the display of wild flowers.  However, the group soon got stuck into the various tasks that were necessary. The path edges were cut back and mown to make the site more accessible. Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam were removed to improve the chances of other vegetation thriving. Plus litter collected from various areas to improve the site. 
By the end of the day the group of 10 volunteers had made a positive difference to the site.
More evidence of our funny summer was had, if it were needed as it was a nice hot sunny day today.

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Friday 6th July 2012:Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, BD2.

My how it rained today! It was raining as we loaded up the tools and set off to site. But a group of 7 volunteers were undeterred. Some of whom had not been to the site before, so there was a brief reminder of the local history to the site and the key conservation features. Our main task today turned out to be the cutting back of the pathways along the site. It was surprising but since our last visit some sections of the path were impassable. The branches were weighed or beaten down by the rain while the grass, nettles and brambles had grown up and over the pathway. This all was cut back so that the pathway would be useable again. Also we cut the areas of Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam that we are working to control. On the plus side there was little litter on the site, probably due to the weather recently there had been fewer visitors. The rain did not let up all day and it was still coming down as we put the tools away. So well done to all for seeing the task through to the end.

Due to the conditions, no pictures were taken.

It was Kaz’s last today, so we all said goodbye and wished him well for the future and his return to Japan.

Fri 1st June 2012: Boars Well, Kings Road, Bradford, BD1. Also Global Food Friday, Centenary Square

The group were at Boar’s Well today. We started out programme of removing the Japanese Knotweed. There remains a persistent number of the plants in several locations these were cut. After this we made a start on the Himalayan Balsam, this was pulled up. The pathways were cut back using the mower and the overhanging branches trimmed back. The overgrown area near the Spinks Well was cleared to create more open space. There was of course litter to collect along way. By the end of the day the site was looking more attractive for visitors and the habitats will also benefit.

We also had a stall at the Global Food event. This was well attended event by members of the public. It was an opportunity to gauge interest in a future community apple café idea, plus promote Apple Day 2012 and other BEES projects and try some delicious cakes with ingredients locally grown.

Today we worked with 13 volunteers.  

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Friday 27th Jan 2012: Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, King’s Road, BD2.

explanation of tasksexplanation of tasks Today we tackled two main tasks. We did a significant amount of litter picking throughout the site; there seems to be have been a considerable amount of fly tipping on the site over the past few months, but also more litter is exposed in the winter months when the leaves are off the trees. The other task was some tree thinning to create a healthy and diverse woodland. One group of volunteers worked in the area near the meadow, while another group worked on some bigger trees around the pond. This will allow more light into the pond and woodland floor. Some of the timber felled was split and sawn ready to take to the charcoal kilns. It was a good demonstration of how much easier some timbers are to spilt, i.e. the sycamore, and how it can be easier when the timber is fresh. (Though some of the more knarled willow was a challenge – overcome by channelling thoughts (?) about Liverpool’s (unknown at time of splitting) imminent win over Man Utd).

A further patrol cleared damaged and overhanging branches from along the length of the footpath.

Today we worked with 18 volunteers.

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Friday 14th Oct 2011: Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve

the congested pond at beginning of the daythe congested pond at beginning of the dayToday we completed the annual tasks of clearing some of the reed sweet-grass from the Boar's Well pond, and meadow cutting.

The meadow was cut with the auto scythe and then the arisings were raked off - this is essential to prevent a build up of the fertility of the soil which would benefit the grasses in the meadow and reduce the number of wildflowers as they will not withstand the competition.

We also undertook the usual patrol to collect litter and remove overhanging branches from the footpath.

The noisy jays were present again.

See more photos here

Friday 16th Sept 2011: Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, King’s Road, Bradford, BD2

clearing the nettles and bindweedclearing the nettles and bindweedToday we worked with 10 volunteers to start the autumn management tasks. The last cut of the Japanese Knotweed at the three sites towards Coleman Street were completed. We pulled some Himalayan Balsam - it is disappointing how much has come into flower since our early season excitement about getting on top of it. The plants that were removed had some seed pods but we felt that if they ripened once pulled at least we limited the area over which they would spread.

We also made a start on meadow cutting, concentrating on the area outside the site on King's Road which was cut with scythes and raked to ensure the fertility does not build up which will benefit the grasses at the expense of the wildflowers. The main meadow will be tackled in October. We cut a significant pathway between Spink Well and the pylon to remove nettles and bindweed, as well as clearing around the well head.  Although valuable plants for wildlife these species are dominating others and reducing the number of flowers along the pathway. There are plenty more nettles and bindweed on the banking.

Two years ago we seeded some yellow rattle and the initial clumps are establishing well. To aid the spread of the plant we collected seed from the dry pods and introduced these into new areas where we had scraped away the vegetation.

In addition we cut along the entire path, removed overhanging branches and collected a significant amount of litter.

We were kept company today by a noisy gang of jays and few speckled wood butterflies.

Have you ever seen common blue butterflies at Boar's Well? If you have we would like to hear from you.

Friday 12th Aug 2011: Boars Well Urban Wildlife Area, King’s Road, Bradford, BD2

mowing the path edgemowing the path edge Today we continued our site maintenance at the site to improve the habitats. This included mowing the path edges and cutting back overhanging branches to keep the accessways open.  We also pulled himalayan balsam that was present, there is still plenty more on the site but good progress appears to be made in several areas. Plus we removed several bags of flytipping.

Today we worked with 10 volunteers

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Friday 8th July2011: Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, Kings Road, BD2

cutting balsam under the central pyloncutting balsam under the central pylonNine volunteers braved the heavy summer showers today to continue with our summer management of the site.

We returned to the three areas of Japanese knotweed between the central entrance and Coleman Street, though there had been very little regrowth since our visit in June. Having had success in reducing the amount of Himalayan balsam along the path we ventured up to the extremes of the slopes, in the depths of the willowherb, nettles and brambles to catch the last plants at that end of the site. Of course there some will have been missed but when we think back to the time we were using a scythe to cut through meadows of balsam we have come a long way in efforts to eradicate it.

The path was cut and over hanging branches removed and general litter clearance was undertaken.

Despite the rain there were many butterflies, mostly ringlets and large white, and many species of moths. The chiff chaffs were keeping us company.

Friday 10th June 2011: Boars Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, King’s Road, Bradford, BD2

finding Japanese Knotweed in the section near Coleman Streetfinding Japanese Knotweed in the section near Coleman StreetThis was our first visit of the year and 19 volunteers were involved in access and biodiversity management. 

We cut and cleared overhanging branches along the main path and the footpath connecting Bolton Road and King's Road. We also continued our programme of invasive species control - cutting and pulling Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed in order to give the diversy range of native species a better chance to thrive. The areas of Japanese knotweed continue to be challenging to work in - the terrain is steep and uneven and the nettles are abundant. The remaining knotweed is on the whole fairly feeble but is still clinging on.

However, we were certainly taken aback by the quantity of balsam - a massive reduction in the numbers from last year. Very encouraging. We wondered whether the severe weather during the winter could have affected the seed bank (although the plant is from the himalayas) - I have had a quick internet search to see if other sites have found a similar reduction this year but there are not a lot of reports. We will be able to compare with other sites in Bradford that we are familiar with but at this stage I think it looks like the persistence and thorough work that we have undertaken in recent years should be congratulated.

The yellow rattle that was sown two years ago in the meadow area is doing very well indeed.

Friday 29th October: Boar’s Well Urban Nature Reserve, Kings Road, BD2

autumn coloursautumn coloursToday our work was to manage the vegetation on the site. We cut and raked off three areas of grassland, these were the central meadow area, which showed some signs of grazing, the area at the site entrance and the area near the old car park. They will benefit from this management technique to keep the fertility low and create the right conditions for a mixture of wild flowers and grasses to grow next year. We also worked in the pond to clear the encroaching vegtation and keep areas of open water which will be a benefit to species like damselflies in the future. Three frogs where spotted using the pond which is a good sign of the health of the pond. There was also a litter collection , and we managed to collect several bags of litter and flytipping from around the site. Today although the weather was gloomy the site looked great as the trees took on their autumn colours, the picture is of Guelder Rose with ripe berries and colourful leaves.

Today we worked with 17 volunteers.

Click here to see other pictures of the day.

Friday 10th September: Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, Kings Road, BD2

Clearing the pathClearing the pathToday we continued with our management programme at the site, concentrating on the control of invasive plant species. Not so much Japanese Knotweed was found but there was plenty of Himalyan Balsam on the site. We also cleared the edges of the pathways. Click here for other photos of the day.

Today we worked with 12 volunteers. 








Friday 13th August: Boar’s Well Urban Wildlife Reserve, Kings Road, BD2

Clearing the pathClearing the pathWe continued with our programme of work at the site and we welcomed a group from the Halifax bank. After an initial brief tour of the site we split into different groups. One group had the task of clearing the invasive species, mainly tackling the Himalayan Balsam.  Another group worked on the main path, mowing the edge and clearing the overhanging branches; this opens up the pathway and makes the site more welcoming to members of the public. Similarly the other group worked on clearing the pathway and steps to Bolton Road. This path is now showing real benefits from the work that we have put in over recent months. There was a good spirit amongst our work party who appeared to enjoy working in natural surroundings for the day.  

Today we worked with 14 volunteers