Friends of Troopers Hill
16 Dec 2006
Sunshine again for another extra Work Party. This week we split the group in two with some tackling our favouite area of bamble, while others cleared an apple tree in front of the new benches in Troopers Hill Field.
02 Dec 2006
Yet another wonderfully sunny autumn day, and again we were attacking the bramble in the area of broom that we have been working on since October. Excellent progress today meant that we were able to reach a large Holm Oak sapling that we have been working towards for two years!. The unusally warm weather meant that we were treated to the sight of a Speckled wood butterfly.
25 Nov 2006
We held the first of our extra work parties on a morning that was forecast to have gales and heavy rain. However five of us braved the weather and stayed dry apart from some light drizzle. The area of bramble we were tackling was relatively flat so the wet ground did not present too much of a risk.
04 Nov 2006
A wonderfully sunny autumn day, great to be out in the fresh air. Once again we were attacking the bramble in the area of broom that we worked on last month. We were very pleased to have three new faces along who all seemed to enjoy themselves. Click here for photographs.
The first work party after the end of the bird nesting season was well attended with 11 adults and 4 under 16s. We returned to the area of broom that we spent a lot of time on last winter to start clearing more bramble. There was also a litter picking gang hard at work. Thanks to Alan who led the morning's activities in the absence of our Work Party organiser.
Unfotunately morning rain meant that this month's Work Party had to be cancelled.
12 Aug 2006
This was an extra Work Party arranged at our meeting on the previous Wednesday which discussed security on the hill following a recent incident. At the meeting it was decided that the bramble at the entrance from the Field should be cut back to make the entrance more open. This was to improve the view on to the hill from the Field, both to make it more welcoming and to remove an area where youths were able to gather out of sight of people using the path. The photographs show the area before and after the work was carried out. The area was inspected before the work was carried out in accordance with Bristol City Council's protocol to ensure that no birds were nesting in the bramble that we cleared.
05 Aug 2006
The forecast drizzle did not materialise and though cloudy, it was another warm summer day. The main focus of the day was litter picking and we collected several bags of rubbish together with a discarded child's bike. The rubbish was taken to Bristol Parks' skip at Eastwood Farm. Other tasks included taking photographs for this years' Photo Survey and clearing bramble from the hedge we planted in January. The photographs show how well the hedge has grown, despite all the dry weather this year.
01 July 2006
Another hot day and the hill was really looking good with the heather in flower and lots of grasshoppers and butterflies around, the marbled white was particularly common this weekend. The main task was to clear litter and dog-mess ahead of the evening's Music on the Hill event. A small group also cut some holm oak and other saplings that had appeared in the grassland. We were pleased to see that Bristol Park's contractors had cut down the large holm oak in Crews Hole woodland. The report accompanying the 2004 photographic monitoring had identified this tree as a probable cause of the holm oak appearing on the hill through its acorns being dropped by birds. By following their bird nesting protocol the contractors were able to cut the tree before this year's acorns had matured.
13 and 20 June 2006
In order to get the new benches we made in May installed we decided to take advantage of the long summer evenings and run two evening work parties. We didn't have time to advertise the events so we invited those who had been involved in making the benches to come along and complete the job. A real team effort got the first bench installed on the 13th in time for us to sit on it and have a drink before it got dark. The 20th proved that you can never rely on the British weather, but we got the second bench in place before the worst of the rain and in time to see the second half of the football.
9 and 16 June 2006 - Groundforce Project
On the Friday between our installation evenings a third bench was installed by Touch Wood Enterprises as the second part of a work shop for participants in a local Youth Inclusion Project based at Barton Hill Settlement. The bench had been made the week before and you can see photos of the work in progress here. The events were organised by the Groundforce Project that aims to encourage residents of the New Deal Area (Redfield, Barton Hill, Lawrence Hill and The Dings) to use and improve thier local green spaces. The Friends of Troopers Hill were very pleased to have them involved.
03 June 2006
Blue skies and bright sunshine welcomed us to the hill on the hottest day of the year so far. The intention had been to install the benches we made last month, but with the hot weather no one was enthusiastic about digging holes or shovelling concrete. Instead we tackled the bramble in Sally's Glade which had grown well in the wet weather over the past month. While most of us were enjoying the sun on the hill, Susan and Kit were in Millennium Square manning our stand at the Bristol Festival of Nature. Others took their turn on the stand throughout the weekend spreading the word about what a wonderful place Troopers Hill is to visit. Click here for photographs of both the Work Party and our stand.
The main focus this month was on a workshop run by Touch Wood Enterprises to build two benches to place on the hill. The money to run this event came from our YANSEC grant. The two benches were complete by 3pm and are now stored in a Friend's garage, we shall install the benches on the hill next month. Click here for photographs. While the majority were involved with the bench making a couple of us cut down some holm oak saplings that had appeared near Sally's Glade, there were a surprising number once we started to look for them and some of them had got quite large.
This was our third April Spring Clean.
07 Mar 2006 - MOD Team Building Day
Staff from the MOD at Abbey Wood chose a very wet Tuesday in March to visit Troopers Hill for a Team Building Day.
March marks the start of the bird nesting season, so we avoid cutting dense areas of bramble, such as in the area where we worked last month. Instead we returned to one of the first areas we tackled (in Feb 2004). Although the bramble had regrown to some extent, it was much less than before our first visit. We also cut down some oak and hawthorn saplings that would have over-shadowed the broom if they had been allowed to continue growing. A cherry tree nearby was also felled in accordance with the recomendations of the 2004 photographic monitoring. A small group also cleared bramble from an area of heather that had also been highlighted in the 2004 survey. Click here for photographs. An unexpected highlight was the sighting of a common lizard bathing in the early spring sunshine.
Another session attacking the bramble in the area where we worked last month. Before we started though we had some large heaps of mulch to spread along our new hedge at Greendown. Click here for photographs. There was another good turn out on a cold February morning. We also cleared an area at the entrance from Crews Hole Woodland ready for placing a bench later in the year.
21 Jan - Hedge Planting at Greendown
This was an extra work party to plant a new hedge at Greendown. The hedge is mostly hawthorn, blackthorn and hazel, with some holly, field maple and dog rose mixed in. To
allow for more people to join in – as well as possible bad weather – we had organised both morning and afternoon sessions and also publicised Sunday as a reserve day.
Another attack on the bramble in the area where we are trying to save the broom above Troopers Hill Road and also the replacement of two more rotting fence rails at Greendown. A very good turnout with 13 volunteers, including 4 new faces. Many thanks for your efforts. Click here for photographs.
Unfotunately heavy rain meant that this month's Work Party had to be cancelled.
Various tasks this month, including removing graffiti from the chimney and repairs to the fence at Greendown. We also replaced the sign at Greendown which had been vandalised and had to be removed to be cleaned and repaired last week. The photographs show our willing volunteers in action.
With the end of the bird nesting season we were able to return to clearing bramble from a large area of broom above Troopers Hill Road. This area has been itentified as one where the broom is in danger of disapearing altogether if the bramble is not controlled. There are long distance shots showing the area and work in progress here together with a view from the photographic monitoring showing the area in 1994.
A small turn out this month on a very hot day. We cleared the bracken from the fence at the bottom of the steps. As you can see from the photographs the fence was completely hidden when we started. We replaced some of the rails on this fence in March because they were rotting, we hope that by clearing the bracken before the damp autumn weather the fence will be less prone to rot and may last longer.
Another session attacking the bracken at the steps from the second entrance from Troopers Hill Road - see June 2005 below. We also collected some litter, though it was pleasing how little there was around. Click here for photos.
Back to Sally's Glade on a very warm but overcast morning. 9 volunteers cleared bramble and oak and hawthorn saplings from the Glade to help protect the broom and flowering plants in this area. We work in this area during the summer because the bramble here is not dense enough to harbour nesting birds.
It was out with the slashers again this month to tackle the bracken. The morning started grey and we had a shower part way through, but the work was completed in warm sunshine. Click here for photos.
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) has spread over parts of the hill over the last few years reducing the area of grassland. The acid grassland on Troopers Hill is unusual for Bristol and it is important that it is preserved.
We are controlling the bracken by cutting in June and then again in August as part of the Management and Action Plan for Troopers Hill Local Nature Reserve
Bracken is a perennial with an extensively branched rhizome system buried 10-45 cm deep. The plant is nourished by food reserves in the rhizomes up to the time when the bracken reaches full height and the fronds fully unfurl.
Bracken reaches the most vulnerable stage around the beginning of June. If it is cut at this time it then regrows, further depleting the rhizomes. Cutting again in August prevents any replenishment of the reserves since any growth after August will not reach maturity before the weather gets too cold.
Repeated cutting in successive years is then necessary to eradicate the plant from an area.
A wonderful sunny morning clearing bramble from the broom in Sally's Glade. Click here for photos.
April is the month for the Troopers Hill Spring Clean. This year 14 of us filled the skip that Bristol Parks had supplied at the top of the hill. While looking in the more hidden parts of the hill for litter we also found some fungi which we believe is cloud ear mushroom growing on an Elder Tree. Two members also erected the last of our new signs and replaced a broken fence rail at the entrance off Troopers Hill Road where we replaced the gate post in Feb 04. The Friends also had a stand at the BEAA Open Day in thier pavilion. You can see photos of the day, including the fungi, here.
We erected two more of our new signs and replaced some of the broken fence rails at the lower entrances from Troopers Hill Road. Our Work Party leader demonstrated the risk of working on potentially slippery slopes by ending up flat on his back in the mud! There are two photos here, one showing work in progress and one showing the new sign and repaired fence at the bottom of the steps where we cleared the bracken and bramble last year.
Eleven of us spent an enjoyable morning cutting down holm oak and other saplings that have appeared on the hill. We also collected several bags of rubbish.
In order to protect and maintain the acid grassland and heathland on Troopers Hill it is necessary to remove any saplings that appear. The non-native evergreen holm oak is a particular problem and a number of saplings have appeared over the last couple of years.
Due to the heavy overnight rain, which had made the ground very wet, and the very strong winds we had to cancel the planned work party on the 8th January. Safety is our primary concern and the steep slopes on Troopers Hill present a particular hazard in wet weather, a risk assessment is always carried out before work starts and on this occassion there was no option other than to cancel the event.
A small group did gather though on the 22nd to put up a new sign in Malvern Road Open Space (click for photos), we also replaced a rail on the Malvern Road fence and put down some woodchip at the Summerhill Terrace kissing gate.
More bramble clearance for the majority of the group with great in roads being made and more broom being uncovered. A small group also carried out some fence repairs and installed the first of our new signs at the Greendown entrance while some bracken was also cleared from the fence next to Troopers Hill Road. Some of our happy crew are pictured here next to the new sign.
Despite the morning drizzle the majority of our team enthusiastically set about clearing more bramble from the area of broom that we started to tackle last month. Meanwhile a small group with litter pickers cleared the remains of the previous evening's firework celebrations while two of us carried out repairs to the steps from Troopers Hill Road. Click here for photos of the bramble clearance.
With forecasts of rain and wind for the weekend our leader had the 'Cancelled due to Rain' notices at the ready. However, the drizzle that greeted us at 10am gave way to early October sunshine. We were tackling the bramble that was covering the broom in quite a large area above Troopers Hill Road. This is an area that we shall have to return to soon. Click here for photos.
Another dry Saturday morning found the Friends of Troopers Hill cutting back the dogwood which was starting to hide the path at the entrance from Malvern Road Open Space. Click here for before and after photos. We also cleared some litter, including and abandoned Honda moped.
On a hot and sunny August morning fifteen people were to be found on Troopers Hill cutting bracken and clearing litter. We collected more than 6 bin bags full of rubbish, but it was pleasing that there was not as much litter as there has been on previous occasions. This Work Party was videoed as part of our project to record events on the hill. Details and download links are on our main web page. Our cameraman and bracken slashers are shown in action here.
Due to holidays we were unable to provide 1st Aid cover for the first Saturday of the month, so the Work Party was postponed to the evening of Thur 8th July. Unfortunately it was raining quite heavily at the intended start time of 7pm making the grass slopes on the hill very slippery, in the interest of safety we therefore again postponed to try again on the evening of 22nd July. After a wet afternoon the weather was kind to us this time and the six of us were able to clear the path to Sally's Glade and also a tree that had fallen and blocked one of the main paths. Click here for photos. We were also then able to spend a short time clearing more bramble in the glade.
We returned to the steps cleared in March to cut the newly grown bracken and keep the steps clear. We also had time revisit the area of broom cleared in February and remove more bramble.
May saw the main focus of activity at Sally's Glade. Here we cleared bramble and some hawthorn and oak saplings from an area which is predominately broom. Without our attention this was a risk that in a few years the broom would have been swamped by the other species. A small group also carried out some repairs to the steps we cleared in March. Click here for photos of the work in Sally's glade..
The Friends of Troopers Hill Spring Clean took place on 3rd April, depite the rain just before we were due to start there was a good turn out and as you can see from the photo a large pile of rubbish was collected. This was taken away soon afterwards by the Council's contractor.
March saw us clearing the steps from the second entrance up Troopers-Hill Rd which had become over grown with bramble and bracken. This was very successful and an earlier than planned finish allowed the bracken party to also clear bramble from some broom at the top of the steps. Click here for before and after photos.
February saw us clearing bramble from an area of broom at the south-east of the reserve, click here for before and after photos. This area of broom had been badly affected by a fire in 2002 and we hope to encourage its regrowth.
An additional Work Party was held on the second Saturday of February to replace the gate at the third entrance up Troopers Hill Rd. The old gate post had completely rotted through. Gary, Community Parks Manager for Bristol City Council, supplied a new post and to our amazement we found that it fitted in the concrete socket once the remains of the old post had been removed. We were therefore able to re-hang the gate on the same day. The end result is shown here together with the happy workers.
Following on from a litter picking session in October and fence mending in December. 2004 began with our volunteers applying wood preservative to the fence at January's work party which was held on the 10th, a week later than usual to allow for recovery from New Year hang-overs. Thanks to the resident of Greendown who supplied the coffee and biscuits.
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