We work on greenspaces with volunteers to improve habitats. For example, at Summer Crescent we have created a wildflower meadow, a new native species hedge and worked with local community group to develop a play area and organise clean ups involving local people. We also work on Trinity Pocket Park and The Long Ground.
Saving the Dragon in Stonehouse!
Stroud Valleys Project and its now web-footed Thursday volunteers have been hard at work clearing out reed from the main breeding pond. This work, as the picture shows, has been long overdue and it is the first time in 15 years that a large amount of reed has been literally ‘cut out’. Reed is floated to the side of the pond’s bank where it is left for a week to allow any aquatic life to move back into the pond. The reed cuttings are then moved by wheelbarrow a short distance from the main pond where they will compost down naturally.
We provide training in hedgelaying for the unemployed. We offer practical first steps into training with the option of moving into accredited training courses in practical conservation.
See here for a film about some of this training :
We have received funding from the European Social Fund and the Skills Funding Agency to work with people who are furthest from the job market. To join this course you need to be either unemployed, self employed and working less than 16 hours, employed and working less than 16 hours, or be economically inactive.
Restoration of a Victorian lake, pond wooded area and orchard with Stroud Community Land Trust and the local community. We organised a Victorian Tea Party to celebrate the Jubilee and opening the park.
Our new Local Food Voluntary Action project has recruited a team of volunteers and begun work, breaking new ground at the Stroud Valleys Project allotment, transforming an unloved part in just a few weeks.
Brambles were sheared back and nettles pulled; their roots were dug out and our new composting demonstration site – affectionately known as ‘The Rot Spot’ – now sits in their place.
Big Tree Plant - Year 2
Stroud Valleys Project is once again embarking (if you excuse the pun) on its second season of creating and enhancing woodlands across Stroud District. The aim for this season (November 14 2014 to March 15 2015) is to plant 2,000 native tree and shrub species - a 1,000 of which will be planted as an extension to an existing area of woodland - and the creation of new copse at Stratford Park. We will also be working with a number of parish councils and community woodland groups to create new wooded areas and enhance older woodland.
The success of the programme for people with visual impairment has encouraged us to set up a similar pilot project for people with hearing impairments. The pilot is again supported by Adult Education in Gloucestershire. The project started in the spring of 2009, with training in deaf awareness, lipspeak, and alphabet signing for a group of potential guides to support hearing impaired people in a similar series of walks.
After a successful summer looking after the Capel’s Mill site we are pleased to announce that the long awaited tool store for this site has finally arrived!
We levelled the ground and positioned the breeze blocks and railway sleepers, the delivery itself was a bit dramatic with some skidding and sliding by the lorry in the mud. The cabin looked very lightweight as it swung in the air and was gently lowered onto its base. It will be shared with the canal team which means they can get rid of the small rusty tool store currently there.
We continue to offer people with visual impairment the opportunity to explore the countryside through a programme of specifically designed educational walks.
Subjects include grassland habitats, wildflowers - including orchids - as well as bats and glow-worms. With funding from Gloucestershire Association for Disability, we have recruited and trained additional sighted guides to support this programme.
These volunteers offer contact and non-contact guiding to the participants and make the project possible. While many of the participants comment that the walks offer them a life-line, the sighted guides find that describing and interpreting the countryside around them adds a new dimension to their own appreciation of the subjects.
Autumn is always our busiest time of year and this year has been no exception. The new term started with lots of minibeasting, with children finding all sorts of invertebrates including their favourite, the Devil’s Coach Horse Beetle, as well as a few newts and toads! We also planted school gardens with autumn sown crops including garlic, onions, winter lettuce, broad beans and peas.
We continue to be a member of the Gloucestershire Biodiversity Partnership. Through recording and reporting survey results and habitat improvements, we make a measurable contribution to the Gloucestershire Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). This, in turn contributes to the South West BAP and ultimately the UK BAP. As always, SVP works at a local level, and supports parishes in finding ways of contributing to the national plan. In early 2009, we were appointed lead partner for hedgerows within the Gloucestershire Partnership, in recognition of the work we have undertaken in the past on planting and restoring hedgerows. This position has been further underpinned by the funding awarded to SVP by DEFRA for work on hedgerow surveying. Again based in the Severn Vale, this survey work planned for the summer of 2009 will contribute to DEFRA’s national hedgerow survey project.
Through the Gloucestershire Biodiversity Partnership’s “No Newts is Bad Newts” project, SVP was contracted to establish the extent of Great Crested Newts in Eastington parish. Nine ponds were surveyed during June 2008 with the threatened newt being identified in two of the ponds surveyed. Having identified the existence of the newts, pond restoration works were carried out by SVP to allow in more light and create more open water thereby improving the habitat.
The Green Team: Open to All is designed to help people with mental health problems get better and acquire new skills during practical conservation sessions. It’s an open, socially inclusive group for people from all walks of life, who enjoy working outdoors and learning new things. This project has grown out of our previous project, Biodiversity of Urban Greenspaces, and you can find more information about this project by clicking here.
A new partnership in 2008 was formed with the Gloucestershire County Council Rights of Way department.
Nine stiles were replaced with kissing gates to improve access on footpaths around Kings’s Stanley and Leonard Stanley. This project was also supported by the two parish councils, who provided the gates.
In Cam, five kissing gates were installed on the path from St George’s Church up to Cam Peak. Here, additional financial support came from Cam Parish Council and the Cam Wildlife Group.