Grounds Training, Eco-Blitz, & Public Right of
Brushcutter and Grounds Training
We are so grateful for the grants given to to us from the Neighbourhood Network Scheme, and the Neighbourhood Support and Development Unit, totalling £1344.00! This meant we would purchase a high end battery operated brushcutter (Husqvarna brand), that is used by the Wildlife Trust. We will use this to keep the pathways clear on the south of the reservoir which is Severn Trent land. Unfortunately, there is a policy of not permitting mechanised equipment on council land (not even for the rangers), and so we will continue to use shears for brush growth in the woods. Our brushcutter, accessories, and personal protective equipment have now all arrived and so we can soon begin clearing the pathways and continue to do so through the spring and summer months.
In order to gain agreement from Severn Trent to open a new permissive pathway from Merritt's Hill, to help residents avoid Frankley Lane (now complete), Bartley Reservoir had to agree to maintain it, along with the Public Right of Way that runs from Genners Lane-Frankley Lane bend. Sarah Stimpton (who previously addressed all our complaint issues) at Severn Trent, was keen to build an enduring and positive relationship with Friends of Bartley Reservoir, therefore offered their grounds team 'Ground Force', to provide some training on health, safety, and usage. Sarah/Severn Trent also provided more personal protective equipment including steel toe-capped shoes for all. A win-win for all!
The grounds training took place on Monday October 30th, 10-1, behind St Leonard's Church, where members/volunteers Jo, Kath, Kevin, Cheryl, Ian, and Kate took part with the Ground Force Team. It was a really informative morning and it was great for each person to get to test the equipment and become familiar with it. The Ground Force team also provided good advice to prepare pathways for clearing, and additional information on dangerous and problematic plant species we should keep an eye out for. They advised to cut the pathway once before the winter, which we will be doing soon. A huge thanks goes out to the volunteers/members for putting themselves forward for this, and we know the wider community will be very grateful when the pathways are clear for them to walk next spring and summer.
Eco-Blitz Event August 2023
Our first 'Eco-Blitz' event was held on August 12th at locations around the reservoir throughout the day, and it was a great success! Mostly organised and led by member Kate, we did moth trappings, bug hunts, and a bird walk. It was great to see so many new people that had not previously been engaged with Friends of Bartley Reservoir, which proved that different events bring different volunteers to our group. It was so fascinating to see the sheer variety and beauty of bugs and moths, and it became evident that different locations attract different species.
There were 168 observations made of 114 different species, including bugs, birds, butterflies, and even a few frogs and a weasel! That's an amazing result - particularly for our first attempt and certainly adds a huge amount to the species records in the area. Thanks to everyone who took part, and to Kate for pulling it all together! You may recall the catalyst for this was to both understand what is in our area of interest, but to collect continual data year on year, to help protect the area (particularly if we can record protected animals and those on the 'at risk register), and to contribute to grant applications to improve habitat and bio-diversity in the area.
We are looking forward to our next Bio-Blitz ear-marked for May 18th-19th 2024, where we hope to do more bug hunts, moth trappings, and bird walks, and hopefully butterfly walks, bat walks, and more, over the course of a whole weekend - we hope to see you there!
Public Right of Way Applications.
And finally...after 18 months of collecting evidence from pathway users, we have submitted applications to record FOUR new public rights of way around the reservoir. These are:
Ley Hill Village Green-Nutbush Drive.
Ley Hill Village Green-Waterworks Drive.
Ley Hill Village Green- Frankley Lane.
Scotland Lane-Genners Lane.
These were submitted on September 4th and can take up to a year to process. So we'll keep an eye on this and update people next year,
You may recall we were also aiming to record the two pathways that run from Scotland Lane/Frankley Lane Junction - to the back of St Leonard's Church. Sarah Stimpton from Severn Trent advised that these ran past critical infrastructure ('the cage'), and they did not want pathways showing up on national maps that went past this, but would be happy to facilitate local access, and for us to promote these pathways locally. In exchange, Severn Trent said they would not contest the other FOUR applications, to which we agreed to.
Severn Trent have agreed to not call these pathways 'permissive pathways' as the term has legal implications that would prevent us from making an application in the future if Severn Trent renege on our agreement, and they are not protected by the title 'Public Right of Way'- they are simply pathways we can continually to use as the public have been using them for 20+ years. Severn Trent have subsequently erected a fence with gate access at the Scotland Lane/Frankley Lane Junction to indicate the public are allowed to enter, and have given us permission to put signage up along the pathway - something we will do when we have the time in the future - for now there is temporary signage.