In September we started a joint project with Cainscross Parish Coucil at Queen Elizabeth II Playing Field in Dudbridge, Stroud funded by the Postcode Local Trust. The field, formerly known as Cope-Chat Playing Field, was a disused sports ground owned by a local company Copeland Chatterson. However, by the end of the 1990s the field had fallen into disuse. It was transferred to the Parish Council in 2011 and in 2012 it was granted Queen Elizabeth II status as part of a nationwide scheme dedicating 2012 playing fields across the country and protecting them in perpetuity.
Lots of work is being done by volunteers cutting grassland areas across this wildlife site and the volunteers are also becoming a great team of pond bio-blitzers. In July, our volunteers Denise Gibbons and Barbara Wood together with my son Rufus and I took part in a pond dipping ‘bio blitz’ in the main pond. The reason for this exercise was to find out what life we have lurking in the pond. Highlights from the 15 different species found during the survey were 45 newt larvae (22 Great crested, 23 Smooth), 13 Dragonfly nymphs, 10 Mayfly larvae and two very small Screech beetles to name but a few. Over the past few summer months, and to not interfere with the local wildlife residents (newts, toads, frog and others), we have spent time sensitively managing the grassland areas to create a varied grassland sward across the wildlife site. This process has taken us a few weeks but we are already reaping the rewards of having created a diverse grassland areas for the wildlife and public to enjoy.
Our monthly visits to the Rackleaze site in Cam have continued with work on boundary clearance next to the adjacent balancing pond (see above) and the making of a rustic bench from a fallen tree on-site. The picture here shows volunteers securing the finished wooden bench into the ground. It is hoped that there will be enough timber from the fallen tree to also make a small table that will be installed next to the bench. As we now move from summer through to autumn, we were very excited on our last visit to spot one of the resident grass snakes basking in late September sunshine. A lot of our work over the next few months will be focussed on the annual cutting and composting of comfrey that is growing on-site. This job helps us keep control of the comfrey which, if left untouched, would out compete other wildflowers at the wetland. There will also be an apple pressing day on 29 October.
For more info about work SVP are doing at the wetland site or how to get involved,contact Richard Lewis on
The Green Health Team focuses on improving people’s health and wellbeing by enabling working together and being active. The group has been branching out on a number of small projects in and around Stroud centre and green spaces. Time has been spent by the group installing a series of steps at the far end of the Capel’s Mill site that now provide walkers and visitors an opportunity to walk along the woodland edge onto the newly created woodland area.
Once the volunteers had finished the skilled and very professional job the group took a week out to visit our allotment in Bisley Old Road where beds were weeded and raised beds built in preparation for planting later in the season. Plans have been made for further visits to the allotment this year. We also enjoyed a lunch at the allotment with a cooking workshop during which we used sweet corn, squash, onion and garlic grown on the allotment.
Since its launch in March 2015, the Wild about Stroud project has had a very busy 18 months and is now sadly reaching its end. The project, funded by Gloucestershire County Council, aimed to get people involved in seasonal outdoor activities.
The activities were focused on practical conservation, food growing and walking. We have been working at various sites around Stroud which included Capel’s Mill (across Dr Newton’s Way below Waitrose) and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s Frome Banks Nature Reserve. On Wednesday mornings you may have seen our team of volunteers working at Capel’s Mill where we have been carrying out general maintenance of the site including scything of the wild flower meadow.
Lots of outdoor work can seem really daunting. If you would like some help we can provide a team to tackle those difficult jobs.
We offer a range of services including:-
Pond creation and restoration
Tree planting (woodlands and orchards)
Hedge work (planting, laying and gapping up)
Creating wildflower meadows
Installing fencing and kissing gates
Small tree work
Stroud Valleys Project has a special interest and expertise in creating and restoring wildlife friendly places so they can be shared by people and wildlife. We will assess the work for maximum wildlife benefit. Our aim is to help local people to garden for wildlife so that the Stroud District area is good for nature, has improved habitats and encourages wildlife. In addition, our aim is to provide meaningful opportunities for our volunteers to work in this field of work.
We are working with Stroud Farmers’ Market to run their children’s activity days. We ran one in the summer, which included our now familiar taster trail allowing children to go around the market sampling the delicious food on offer. Also it had children trying their hands at making berry ink from waste soft fruit. For the October day we ran a session based around apples and in February we will be decorating shopping bags.
Opened in May 2011 to help provide unrestricted income for our charity, our shop sells a wide range of new eco products, which includes those that help around the house and garden, and gifts.
We also sell bird boxes made by volunteers, new and second hand gardening tools, new and second hand wildlife books, a variety of cleaning products - including refills - and much more besides.
In partnership with the Landscaping Team at Stratford Park, work has continued at pace to complete Phase 1 of the sensory garden. If you are visiting the park or leisure centre at any time you will be able to see the fantastic work that has been achieved by our volunteers. The area where the garden is being created can be found outside the main leisure centre entrance, what was the old putting green area, slightly hidden by the green shed that the group use for coffee, lunch and wet weather breaks!