JGoodwin-Aug2013-004-CopyrightLast August we began working in the walled garden. Tucked away behind the Museum in the Park, this secret space has been abandoned for many years now. Our work there is the first stage in a process that will gradually see the garden returned to a beautiful and functional space.

The team of volunteers from Stroud Valleys Project and the museum has been steadily uncovering ground that has lain buried beneath brambles, elder, sycamore saplings and nettles since the end of the last century.

 

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Common LizardThe Thursday volunteers have been working with Stroud Town Council (STC) Green Spaces Team at Bisley Road Cemetery in Stroud under the watchful eye of Jim Mathison and his team to strim and rake up grass cuttings over the past few weeks.

Thanks to the warm weather, our team has been able to appreciate at first hand some of the amazing wildlife that lives there, such as Slow worm and Common lizard - see picture.

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This project will manage seven greenspaces in Stroud and Cainscross.  It will contribute to the Gloucestershire Biodiversity Action Plan by working on seven urban habitats, two ponds, seven priority BAP species and one protected species. All the sites are easily accessible, and well used by the local community.

Hamwell LeazeWe will organise habitat management workshops and wildlife surveys to continue to improve the habitats and to create new ones, as well as increasing the biodiversity of the sites in order to gain a better understanding of resident wildlife. We will promote wildlife gardening and pond building in these areas in order to increase environmental and conservation awareness.

 

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Although this project was not directly funded during the year we have, through numerous donations from charitable trusts, been able to continue biodiversity work in the area through regular volunteer work days and maintain some momentum.  Partnerships with farmers and landowners have continued and we have undertaken work on hedgerows and ponds, working towards our long-term goal of more and better wildlife corridors across the Severn Vale.

 

Since its launch in MaWAS 1rch 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.

 

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Dream teamIn 2009, SVP won funding from Defra to survey 45 randomly selected hedgerows across the Severn Vale, in line with Defra’s Hedgerow Survey Handbook  (2nd Edition).  The aim of the survey was to collect information important to wildlife that inhabits hedgerows and the biodiversity which they support, to feed in to Defra’s National Hedgerow Survey Database. Although the sample size of the 2009 survey was small in relation to the Severn Vale as a geographical area (some 40 sq km) the survey was in some depth and looked at features such as tree species, composition of the hedgerow, wildflowers at the base of the hedge, the hedgerow's dimensions and management cycle.

The 2009 survey not only marked the first time that this type of survey had been undertaken in the Severn Vale or Gloucestershire, it was also an interesting learning curve and benchmark that SVP set itself having become the lead partner for Hedgerows in the county, which in turn followed involvement with Gloucestershire Biodiversity Action Plan (GBAP) steering group meetings.

In total 107 volunteer days were spent on the project, a great achievement for SVP and all the volunteers involved; without this valuable contribution from volunteers, meeting the funder’s deadlines would have been much more challenging.

 

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4 March 8resizedOur Women Outside Working Group (WOW) funded by Stroud District Council Health and Well Being Partnership, worked throughout last summer at our allotment on Bisley Old Road. 

We enjoyed a good harvest of onions, courgettes, pole beans, black currants, strawberries, raspberries, runner beans and pumpkins.

We also had our first proper crop of tomatoes from the poly tunnel and our new shed is providing invaluable shelter for our equipment and volunteers! 

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milk wortAs part of our 25th Anniversary celebrations we wanted to celebrate the wide variety of wild plants we get in the Stroud District. Gloucestershire Naturalists Trust sponsored us in this work, which was to gather together all the people whose work had an impact on wildflowers.

If you are involved in this work and are not featured here, please get in touch.

pdfSVP Wildflower Work4 MB

 

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Milk Wort - copyright I Szaboova  

 

 Gloucestershire Naturalists' Society


Frampton Hedge Planting at Waterend Farm with Ruskin Mill studentsAggregates and Biodiversity is helping to reduce the impacts of aggregates extraction by restoring and creating traditional landscape features, biodiversity habitats, and wildlife corridors lost to extraction over time. The project will take place on land close to a gravel extraction site around the village of Frampton on Severn, Gloucestershire, and will run until March 2011.

Hedge Planting at Waterend FarmThe work will include the creation and restoration of ponds and scrapes, hedges and hedgerow trees, orchards, and the planting of new in-field trees to safeguard the existence of old trees for the future.  Through surveying work, the project will identify important priority habitats or species in the Severn Vale, such as wet grassland, ancient hedgerows, and Great Crested Newts.

Footpaths will see improvements through better stiles and kissing gates, and there will be walks to show the public where these improvements have taken place. Educational events together with working with local schools will raise the awareness of our beautiful local biodiversity. 

 
 

Native bulb matching gameWe are committed to adult learning, which we deliver through events for the community as well as courses aimed at specific groups, such as young learners with learning difficulties from Ruskin Mill, and adults recovering from mental health problems and substance misuse. These courses are integrated into our management of greenspaces around the district and contribute significantly to biodiversity and habitat targets, as well as encourage learners to take ownership and responsibility for the environment in their local area.

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Hawkwood College approached SVP for assistance with managing their beech woodland, an important Cotswold escarpment habitat.  Volunteers learned about managing woodland and techniques for felling smaller trees as well as creating habitats for insects and small mammals through stacking habitat wood piles.

Holywell During the last year and a half at this site in Cam we have re-made steps, created a huge compost heap at the back of the police station and surveyed for grasses and wild flowers. We have raked the grass away from the meadows on the site and put them in the compost heap. This is really important because we are delighted to be able to report that we found a Common spotted orchid on the site in addition to the one we found in 2011.

This makes all the hard work worthwhile.

 

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Very occasional opportunities for outdoor training in woodland management for volunteers.

We are now in our sixth year of working with Adult Education in Gloucestershire.  For a number of years we have taken an integrated approach to this – offering courses in practical conservation to students at Ruskin Mill College and clients at Park House (day centre for people experiencing mental health difficulties).  The work undertaken on these courses directly contributes to our biodiversity targets, meaning that we can offer exciting opportunities for these learners to make a real practical difference while learning in safe and supportive groups, and at their own pace.  During this year, we have added similar courses for The Nelson Trust, a locally based charity which works with people with substance misuse problems.  All three of these groups are given the time and support needed to help them learn new skills and take responsibility for their work.  This leads to increased confidence and self-esteem, which in turn contributes to achieving individual personal, social and educational goals.

During this year, SVP has been pleased to offer help and support to a number of existing and emerging community groups and projects.

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FLLN (Family Learning Literacy and Numeracy) courses have become a feature of our contract with Adult Education in Gloucestershire.  Our Go Wild! courses are aimed at adults with basic skills needs and their families, and introduce literacy and numeracy through wildlife themes and activities.  During 2008 we ran these courses extremely successfully at Cashes Green and Cam Everlands primary schools.  We are delighted that seven adults from the Cam Everlands course gained the confidence to go on to attend literacy and numeracy courses in conjunction with Stroud College, leading to level 1 or 2 qualifications.  As a new venue for these courses, Cashes Green attracted fewer families, but the courses were popular and enjoyed by those who took part which provides a good basis for rolling out future courses at the school.

Stroud Valleys Project is a limited company,
registered in England and Wales.    

Registered number: 2224016    

Registered charity number: 900107

Stroud Valleys Project,
8 Threadneedle Street,
Stroud,
Gloucestershire,
GL5 1AF

Tel: 01453 753358

Fax: 01453 755641

Email: info@stroudvalleysproject.org

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