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 12th April 2013; Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area, Westcroft Road, Great Horton, BD7

 When we arrived on site today we decided that the priority for nature conservation was not to thin the ash trees due to the uncertainty of the ash die back disease but to tackle the amount of litter and flytipping that had taken place. We got on with what seemed an endless task and shifted beds, mattresses, car parts, carpets, for sale signs, bags and then there was the litter of which we collected over 20 bags. In fact we ran out of bags and had to get more. Unfortunately we could not shift the burnt out van, but it is reported and will be removed in due course. We collected so much rubbish that the Council Clean Team were not only impressed but had to make two trips. It felt like we worked at Brackenhill Urban “Landfill” Site, but we left the site in a more suitable state for people and wildlife than we found it.

It also left us enough time to repair one section of drystone wall and the team created a nice little wall end which sets us up to repair further sections on future visits.

Today we worked with 7 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Friday 6th Dec Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area, Westcroft Road, BD7

For our visit today we thinned trees from an area of path near the factory, these were mainly blackthorn and dog rose so there was a lot of untangling to be done. These were cut to make habitat piles. While this was in progress other maintenance tasks were carried out; some of the missing rails on the Old Corn Lane boundary were replaced and litter collected. Once this was carried out we worked on the Green Lane path; cutting back vegetation, replacing the coping stones on the wall and clearing the litter. Working to maintain the paths will make access around the site easier for the visitors and removing the litter gives wildlife a chance.

Although there was the thinnest layer of ice on the pond it still felt mild for the time of year.

Today we worked with 9 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Fri 30th Jan 09 Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area, Westcroft Road, Great Horton, Bradford

pleacherspleachersWe continued the stretch of hedge that creates the boundary between Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area and Old Corn Mill Lane. It was cold and wet and most volunteers seemed to previous engagements as there were only two volunteers, four of us in total, working on the hedge. Although on a bit of a slope we feel it is ideal that we can practice this traditional skill on one of our local sites. We will continue with the rest of the hedge next year.

Friday 29th January 2010: Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area, Westcroft Road, Great Horton, Bradford, BD7.

making a pleachermaking a pleacherToday we were clearing litter and hedge laying. We split into two groups and one group went off to inspect the site and find the litter hot spots. The hedge layers first cleared out the hedge line removing, litter, brambles and lower branches. Pleachers were then made which allowed the the tree to be bent over. By using a stake the trees are made to form an effective and living barrier. The cut trees will regrow from the cut stump and provide a habitat which has been severely reduced over recent decades. The other group found more than they expected cleareding fly tipping and litter from many areas of the park.

Today we worked with 21 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.  

Friday 21st May 2010: Brackenhill ULA, Westcroft Road, Great Horton, BD7

attaching the railsattaching the railsToday we worked on the post and rail fence along side the hedge that we finished laying earlier this year. It was pleasing to see that the hedge was leafing up with only a few exceptions. This will provide a really good habitat for wildlife. We replaced the broken and damaged sections of the fence, which involved removing some rails, replacing a few posts and then securing the new rails. After this was completed we had time to go into the site to collect litter and remove Japanese Knotweed that has been growing in two areas.

Today we worked with 11 volunteers.

Click here for other photos of the site.    

Friday 19th Aug 2011: Brackenhill ULA, Westcroft Road, Great Horton, Bradford, BD7

Raking the cut meadow.Raking the cut meadow. Today we will started ambitious task of cutting and raking two of the meadow areas near Westcroft Road, this will benefit the annual flowers like meadow cranesbill and grasses by reducing the nutrients in the soil and spreading the seed. The area was cut using the autoscythe and then raked by hand. We also removed the area of japanese knotweed near the stream. We collected flytipping, which included 3 shopping trolleys, a bed, television and 40 bin bags, which were collected by the Council.

Today we worked with 14 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day including the shopping trolley revovered from the pond.