Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area

Environment Agency staff volunteering at Brackenhill ULAEnvironment Agency staff volunteering at Brackenhill ULABEES have a mangement agreement with the Council's Countryside and Rights of Way team to manage Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area. It is the area adjacent to Brackenhill Park in Great Horton and is managed to maximise the wildlife potential of the site. Our key jobs in the past year have been to repair the drystone wall along Greenfield Lane, to uncover and repair footpaths and steps and to control the litter and Japanese Knotweed.

In the forthcoming year we plan to further repair sections of pathway and to improve the quality of the pond. The Environment Agency carried out a survey of the pond last year and found, despite first appearances, that there is sign of invertebrate life in the pond. We hope to improve the amount of oxygenating and marginal plants.

Brackenhill Pond Survey

Geolocation

53.782423, -1.787295

Conservation Work

Brackenhill Park

Westcroft Road, BD7

Not quite the weather you would hope for for hay making! Drizzle and rain all day, and warm – the second week running the midges have been irritating (very irritating), so hooray for Sue has bought us some Skin So Soft which is a great repellent. 

We really just wanted to concentrate on cutting and raking the wildflower grassland today. But inevitably we had to clear some litter first – including mattresses, baskets and the inevitable shopping trolley. We had to leave another trolley in the pond as we had not gone equipped, and there was a burnt out scooter that was just too heavy for us to get it up the hill to where the Clean Team collected our hoard. 

We used the auto-scythe and hand scythes to cut the grass and then raked the cuttings to mulch the trees. There is plenty of knapweed, meadow sweet and meadow cranesbill and meadow vetchling in the grassland, and this management work will help preserve suitable conditions for these wildflowers to continue to thrive. 

 

Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area

Westcroft Road, BD7

Our focus today was to cut the meadow in order that the flowers, and their supply of nectar for the insects, continue to thrive. There is a lot of Meadow Cranesbill, Meadowsweet, Knapweed and Scabious. The functioning autoscythe did a good a job of the main area, with the hand scythe being useful on the verges, though the encroaching brambles first had to be cut with loppers. 

It is a shame that some inconsiderate dog owners are less than attentive to clearing up after their dogs, which made task of raking the grass unpleasant in places. Although it is October, the weather was more like that of traditional hay making season; it was hot work out of the shade.

We also cut the Japanese Knotweed near the gate and cleared a bit of litter. We were concerned to see that the pond was very dry. We know this has occurred within the last 10 days as we undertook a newt rescue last week to help a local resident who was worried about pollution in her garden pond, and its long term future. Rachel and Bella transferred 100s of newt tadpoles into the pond. Let’s hope the lack of water is short term and the invertebrate pond ecology survives. 

 

Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area

Great Horton, Westcroft Road

The main task today was to cut the top areas of wildflower meadow, in order that the flowers continue to thrive amongst the grass.  We used the auto scythe to cut the grass and then raked off the arisings to reduce the build-up fertility in the soil. 

There was also a substantial amount of litter to collect including four mattresses, a divan base,  a tent, sheets  and blankets. Thanks to the Clean Team for collecting these items and the numerous bags of litter.

In addition we cleared cut back some over grown hedging and mended the gate on Westcroft Road. 

Today we were a group of 11 volunteers. See more pictures here
 

Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area

West croft Road, Great Horton, BD7

 Our task today was to cut and rake off the meadow areas to benefit the grassland flowering plants.  First though we carried out some litter collecting. This involved retrieving tyres and a shopping trolley from the pond plus other large bits of rubbish scattered around the site.  We then set about main task, once the autoscythe got started. The grass areas were cut leaving the flowers that were making an appearance. We saw plenty of Meadowsweet, Celendine, Vetch, Cranesbill and a single Cowslip. This is all encouraging for a good show of colour during the summer with plenty of nectar for insects. 

We were again supported by the Clean Team who collected the litter. The Council Wardens also made a visit, so we were able to discuss the suitability of a dog fouling bin for the site.

Today we were a group of 9.

Click here to view the rest of the day pictures

Click here to view the BEES Flickr account

 

Friday 5th February 2010: Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area, Westcroft Road, Great Horton, Bradford, BD7.

Cutting the pleacherCutting the pleacherToday we returned to the same site as last week to further progress the work that was started. One group set off to the main site to the ensure the footpaths were clear, repair a wall and return shopping trollies. The other group carried on with the hedge. They quickly got into the work from the skills gained last week. First there was clearing and trimming to be done, then pleachers were cut and lastly trees placed into the line of the hedge supported by stakes. At the end of the day I am delighted to report that we completed the whole section, a great achievement for the group. The hedge will grow and provide a different habitat and we will return in a few years to relay it. 

Today we worked with 15 volunteers.

Click here for some other great photos of the work. 

Friday 20th August: Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area, Great Horton, BD7

Steps after clearingSteps after clearingToday there were enough volunteers to split into smaller groups. One group concentrated on making sure the pathways remained accessible at the central steps and then the lane from the school. The next group focussed on the invasive plant species, with two patches of Japense Knotweed and two patches of Himalayan Balsam tackled. The others concentrated on collecting litter, which although did appear too bad still managed to collect over 12 bags, including two from the pond.

Today we worked with 12 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.  

Friday 13th July 2012: Local Sites

One day - four sites!

We do not often move around in one day but felt a couple of sites needed a visit but couldn't entertain us all day.

Half of us spent the day at Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area in Great Horton. Tasks included hedge cutting, litter clearance and Japanese knotweed control.

The itinerant volunteers started the morning at Reevy Mill Dam, cutting back overhanging branches, cutting the path and clearing litter. Before meeting the other team for lunch we made a visit to the BEES UNR, where again we cut paths and overhanging branches to ensure access is easy. The wood vetch is now well established and looks splendid, and we enjoyed seeing quite a few newts sheltering in the woodland.

The afternoon visit to the orchard was in response to the break in on Monday night. The door has been broken beyond repair so we wanted to make it weather proof until it can be replaced. Whilst there we cleared round some trees, mowed the paths and some grass areas and did a bit of weeding in the vegetable beds. The frost in May definitely damaged some blossom, but there are some apples on the trees.

Friday 25th January 2013: Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area, Westcroft Road, Great Horton, Bradford BD7

Friday 25th January 2013We had to change the site today as the snow covering the tree planting site at Dewsbury Country Park prevented this task from going ahead. This task has been rescheduled for 1st March.

Instead we returned to Brackenhill to complete the task of removing willow that has been overhanging the pathway. As well as opening improving access the felling work has also opened up the hazel coppice on the field behind and inspired us to manage this in a more proactive way in the future. We were joined by the Council’s Countryside officers who chipped the branches that were too small to be harvested for charcoal. In addition they took away the old fence that served no purpose but was a hazard to passers-by.

We also did some maintenance of the hedge on Old Corn Mill Lane, to prevent it obscuring the road.

Today we worked with 13 volunteers

Friday 18th October 2013 Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area, Westcroft Road, Bradford, BD7

There were quite a few jobs to be on with today. One was to rehang the kissing gate, this was a difficult job as the old post had to be dug out first, but as it was concrete it had to be chipped out with a crow bar. By the end we had managed to get the new post in and holes drilled ready for the gate to be hung again. We also cut the meadow area at the entrance and cut the nettles and bindweed along the path and at the fence. This will make the site seem more cared for and allow other plants a chance to grow. The path along bottom of the site was cleared and this will make access easier for the public. But as we are still without our autoscythe the meadow did not get a full cut but we plan to in spring next year. This will benefit the wildflowers that are growing there like Meadowsweet, Meadow Cranesbill and Bird’s foot trefoil.

Today we worked with 10 volunteers.

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

 

Fri 23rd Jan 09 Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area, Westcroft Road, Great Horton

Making stakes for the hedgelaying tasksMaking stakes for the hedgelaying tasks

Today 10 volunteers started the task of laying the hedge that is the boundary between the site and Corn Mill Lane. The terrain was difficult as the hedge is at the bottom of a steep slope and the fence prevented tackling the hedge from the flat side. However good progress was made and all volunteers had the opportunity to learn how to cut the pleachers, which act as a hinge, using billhooks and bowsaws.  We made stakes from timber cut at Boar's Well and the UNR and sharpened them to a point with a bill hook.

We will continue this task next week.