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Friends of Saintbridge Pond Nature Reserve’s Allotment Project Report – May to December 2019

 

Allotments can play a big part in the fight to preserve our environment; we need to protect them, especially in urban areas as they are important. Green spaces need to be preserved and are proven to help our mental health too. The number of people who visit the sites, dog walkers as well as allotment holders,  not only goes to show not only is it good for the environment, but we as human beings reaquaint ourselves with the living earth, feeling the soil between our fingers but under our feet.

Many varieties of plants thrive on these sites, which contribute to the bio-diversity of the area and they also provide vital habitats for many species. Many good allotment sites have special areas which are left virtually untouched allowing wildlife to thrive.

All manner of wildlife can be found on the allotment from Wildfowl, Badgers, Foxes, Frogs, Toads, Newts and Slow Worms to Field Mice, Hedgehogs, to the many different species of birds and insects. But allotment sites are under threat as never before.  When allotments disappear, often wildlife disappears with them and these precious habitats are lost forever.

The Friends… has held the plot for many years but in Spring 2019, the group was having to manage two sites, that is the pond and its surroundings and the allotments. The latter has been left to a number of volunteers to manage. Under the Chair’s guidance, it has been blooming. Don’t take my work for it. Download the report PDF parts 1  – 3 or read the following online prepared by both Pauline and Stéph.

Many, many thanks go to Charlie and Ken for preparing the site in advance so all volunteers can appreciate the hard work that has been put into this continuing project. A debt of appreciation would like to go to Saintbridge Allotment Gardens Association (SAGA) Chair, Steve and it’s members for assisting them with advice. spare plants etc. while they were tending our plots. If you want to know more about SAGA, just follow the link:

http://www.saintbridge.org.uk/index.html.

In 2020, FOSP and SAGA will be working together to ensure that the pond and the allotments, once described as this green oasis, becomes a major community asset.

Also this link via the Guardian newspaper:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/allotments

Enjoy the article!!!!!

FOSPNR VICECHAIR & ACTING SECRETARY

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

Group feature about FOSP

Friends of Saintbridge Pond are delighted to have been feature in the local online magazine. Here is the article from December issue 2019.

For more information on where we meet follow the links below.

Find us at https://fosp.org.uk/
or contact the secretary@fosp.org.uk
alternatively, visit our Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/fospnr or at
Twitter https://twitter.com/fospgloucester

 

National Tree Planting Event 2020

Hello and welcome.

We have been given 200 tree whips from  TCV (Trust for Conservation Volunteers)  This is a national initiative to plant a million trees by 2020 along with the Woodland Trust and Daily Mail.

So do you fancy making a difference to the natural environment ?

tea break at FOSP
FOSP Members talking to Nature Reserve Visitors

Why not come along to this event in January, plant a tree whip & meet the team over refreshments to find out more about The Friends of Saintbridge Pond Nature Reserve.

See you there

Vice Chair & Secretary

Bluebell Planting in the Spinney

Today, the team pulled together to plant 2000 British Bluebell bulbs. The weather was overcast as FOSP members started out but it began to brighten up. We had a good response fro the local community and we hope that the next event is as successful. The real reward will hopefully come in the spring of 2020 or 2021 when there will be a beautiful display of bluebells in the Spinney.

Ken, the FOSP chair has been the driving force behind this event and the team has supported him wholeheartedly.

Important Wildlife

One of the greatest surprises was seeing the common earthworm making their way to safer areas as we disturbed the topsoil.  is a fascinating creature.

The earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris) plays a major role in the proper functioning of the ecosystem of the soil. It acts as a scavenger, and helps in the recycling of the dead and decayed plant matter by feeding on it. It increases the soil fertility and is often referred to as a farmer’s friend. It burrows the soil and ingests soil particles coming in its way. Both these processes aerate the soil and help in the inter-mixing of the soil particles of the upper and underlying layers.

I doubt whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organized creatures. ―Charles Darwin on the importance of earthworms.

Green Flag Awards 2019/2020

Keep a look out for our new flags celebrating the fact that Friends of Saintbridge Pond Nature Reserve (FOSPNR) and Saintbridge Allotments & Gardens Association (SAGA) have received two new flags. We are very proud of the fact that we are continuing to protect these lovely green lungs of the city by maintaining with partners, Gloucester City Council and the Environment Agency, a place for all to see, walk and grow produce on our  allotment but also the whole site. FOSP members would like to thank the other allotment holders for their help, advice and assistance in maintaining out little patch. We look forward to working with you all on future projects.

Big Butterfly Count 2019

The Big Butterfly Count

For the third year running, FOSPNR and Green Abbey joined forces to organise our own local contribution to the nationwide Big Butterfly Count.

The FOSP and Green Abbey Big Butterfly Count was held at Saintbridge Pond Nature Reserve on a summery Sunday, 28 July 2019, from 2pm until 4pm.

The event was well-attended, with a steady stream of families, couples and individuals all taking part, counting butterflies for fifteen minutes at sometime during the afternoon. Notes were made of which butterflies – and moths – were seen; the notes have been collated and submitted to bigbutterflycount.org

Observers reported seeing the following butterflies:

Large White

Small White

Green-veined White

Gatekeeper

Meadow Brown

Speckled Wood

Comma

Painted Lady

Small Tortoiseshell

Red Admiral

Holly Blue, and last but not least

Six-spot Burnet Moth

After helping in the Count, some people participated in a seed-planting activity. The newly-planted seeds were taken home by the people who planted them and will, in due course, grow and attract butterflies and moths.

FOSP volunteers took the opportunity on the day to ask members of the public to sign a petition asking Gloucester City Council and The Environment Agency to reduce the level of silt in Saintbridge Pond. One of the effects of too much silt in the Pond is that the Pond is no longer deep enough for the swans to swim on it.

For more details on the national scene, go the following site https://www.bigbutterflycount.org/

Further details for GREEN ABBEY can be found at :

https://www.facebook.com/groups/379358125762873/

Also we have a listing on a national website that holds Forest Church listings – you have to zoom in on the map to Gloucester to find us:

http://www.mysticchrist.co.uk/forest_church/groups

 

Jane Allen
FOSP Volunteer

Gloucester Lottery Update

If you would like to support the Friends of Saintbridge Pond, why not go to www.gloucesterlottery.co.uk and search for fosp. Join us in helping to look after a beautiful wildlife area and truly expansive allotment. Come and be part of our local success story.

Bird Sightings 2019

Paul, our resident Ornithologist, surveying the reed bed in early March 2019.

Spring/Summer News Updates 2019

It has been a busy time at the pond and in our allotments. The FOSP AGM provided us with an opportunity to look at what we have done and future plans for FOSP at the site. We are just custodians and will continue to improve and re-wild the site for all visitors to the pond.

The team collecting wood from around the site.

The vandalism which happened during mid-December is behind us and we are moving forward.  We also had some incidents around the feeding area but have repaired them.

Replacing the plastic on the bank after it had been pulled up
In April the established bank is in full flower

The Primroses, Wild Garlic and Celandine have produced a wonderful display on the new bank by the dam.

You may have seen us over the past couple of Sundays, clearing the wood and opening up the woodland.

Removing ‘whips from the margins of the mudflats.

BE very quiet and you might here this fellow below……. The Water Rail

One of the visitors that you could look out for is the solitary Water Rail.
  • Scientific name: Rallus aquaticus
  • Bird family: Rails, crakes and coots
  • UK conservation status: Green
  • Protected by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

 

Smaller and distinctly slimmer than the moorhen, the water rail is a fairly common but highly secretive inhabitant of freshwater wetlands. It has chestnut-brown and black upper parts, grey face and underparts and black-and-white barred flanks, and a long red bill. Difficult to see in the breeding season, it is relatively easier to find in winter, when it is also more numerous and widespread. Although usually secretive they can become confiding but are still far more often heard than seen, so listen very carefully near the big island.

WILLOW CLEARANCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With early summer greens now making them known, the group have been clearing the Willows whips which have established themselves on the wetland margins. This keeps the vista free from obstruction and lessening the build-up of sediment and allowing flow through from up stream. We are working closely with local voluntary and national bodies to ensure that the sediment moving down will eventually be captured and held on site. We hope to reclaim the river banks for local wildlife, enabling more access & diversity for all species on the Twyver and Sudbrook.