Narroways Volunteer Days for 2017

Just a quick note to let you all know that we have now set the dates for the volunteer days for 2017. They are: Saturday 25 February 2017, Saturday 25 March 2017, Saturday 29 April 2017, Saturday 3 June 2017, Saturday 8 July 2017, Saturday 12 August 2017, Saturday 2 September 2017, Saturday 7 October 2017, Saturday 11 November 2017, Saturday 9 December 2017.

As in previous years, meet on the top of Narroways Hill by the bench at 10:30 am. See you there, repeatedly I hope!

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Narroways meeting minutes 13 November 2017

Here are the minutes of the Narroways meeting that took place on Monday 13 November 2017 at the Miner’s Arms, Mina Road:

Narroways  Minutes 13 November 2017

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Bonfire night parties – the cleanup

Generally, our decision to close the site and raise awareness of the problems of damage and litter caused by large fireworks parties was a qualified success.

While parties still occurred on both nights, they were smaller in numbers of attendees than in previous years, and some at least of those who attended made efforts to clear up afterwards.

Image may contain: shoes
Image may contain: outdoorMany thanks go in particular to trustees Naomi, Jerome and Kathryn for organising the banners announcing the closure of the site, locking and unlocking the gates, and talking to partygoers to explain the reasons for the closure. A job well done!

Thanks are also due to all the volunteers who turned out on Sunday and Monday to clean up the remaining mess – a good job well done.

Photos below of the cleanup efforts on Monday. As you can see, despite the relative success of the closure, there was still quite a lot of trampling damage to the grassland, and a significant amount of rubbish left to clear up.

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Narroways to be closed overnight, 4 November

The Trustees have decided to close the site to the public overnight on Saturday 4 November/Sunday 5 November.

This is to prevent the damage, disturbance and litter caused by large firework parties held on the hill.

We hope you understand.

Here are a couple of examples of what we’ve had to deal with in past years:

Bonfire night mess

What a load of rubbish

Guy
Narroways Trustee

 

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Volunteer Day with Good Gym, 7 October

Energised volunteer morning on 7 October thanks to the good folk of Good Gym. They transferred railway sleeper to the top of Narroways Hill (kindly donated by Joe Brickley) , cleared Buddleia cuttings dumped on Church Field and built up the dry hedge of the Community Gardens. We also removed dumped rubbish including abandoned camping stuff in The Hollow, cleared Ash seedlings and removed some tagging. We also had some of our regulars so a successful morning.

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Volunteers from Good Gym carrying an old railway sleeper up the hill to repair our sleeper fence – a great way of keeping fit!

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Narroways meeting minutes 2 October 2017

Here are the minutes of the Narroways meeting that took place on Monday 2 October 2017 at the Miner’s Arms, Mina Road:

Narroways minutes 02 October 2017

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Rarer butterflies of Narroways and Ashley Vale

There have been 24 species of butterflies recorded in Narroways/Ashley Vale in the past 20 or 30 years. This is a an impressive count for an urban site and considering there are only 70 resident and migrant butterfly species in the UK, some of which are very rare.

We have records going back 30 years but more systematic records of local butterflies extend back to 2002. 18 species of butterflies can be regarded as common in that they are recorded most years. These are Comma, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Large White, Orange Tip, Small White, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Large Skipper and Small Skipper. The Green-Veined White, although under-recorded because of confusion with the other white butterfly species, is also likely present most years.

This leaves 6 species that can be regarded as Narroways/Ashley Vale’s rarer species- two migrants- Painted Lady and Clouded Yellow and 4 resident- Small Heath, Brown Argus, Small Copper and Essex Skipper.

Painted Lady

This butterfly is an immigrant from North Africa, absent locally most years but occasionally occurs in large numbers. Dozens were seen flying quickly northwards on a calm sunny day in May 2009. Other years one or two have been seen between May and October. Painted Lady butterflies tend to favour dry, open areas.

Clouded Yellow

This other migrant butterfly is more often seen on chalk downlands close to the south coast in late summer. There is just one local record- an individual seen by Des in Narroways Cutting on a sunny day in September 2014.

Small Heath

Although Narroways would seem to have suitable habitat for this species the most recent records date back to the mid 1990s. Rupert Higgins described Small Heath in 1995 as being ‘fairly common in the cutting and on the hill’. They prefer dry, well-drained situations and finer grasses such as Fescues and appear to be declining.

Brown Argus

The Brown Argus is a special butterfly to see locally. There have been just two sightings, by Harry, on Bird’s Foot Trefoil in Narroways Cutting in August 2003 and on tall grass in the Church Field near the lane in 2011, also in August. They need to be studied carefully so as not to confuse them with female Common Blue butterflies.

Small Copper

This is another attractive, locally rarely seen butterfly typical of unimproved grasslands. There have been 7 local sightings of individuals between July and October over recent years. One was seen on Ragwort in the Church Field on a warm sunny day in August 2009. They have also been seen in Narroways Cutting, near the railway line and on brambles by local footpaths. The most recent sighting was in 2017 on Ashley Hill allotments. Small Copper is associated with warm and dry unimproved grasslands.

Essex Skipper

The Essex Skipper needs very close study to tell it apart from the very similar Small Skipper. It is probably under reported locally. The main identifier is that it has glossy black tips to its antennae compared to the Small Skipper’s dull brown or orange tips. The first recorded local sighting was in July 2009 when 3 were seen, and photographed, by Des in Narroways Cutting. They have also been seen in the Church Field, and on flowering lavender in Lynmouth Road allotments. All sightings were in July.

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Narroways Millennium Green Ecological Management Statement 2016-2018

Narroways haycut

This statement informs the way we manage the site.

Background and Status

Narroways Millennium Green LNR covers approximately 2.5 hectares and is situated in the Northeast part of Bristol, to the west of the M32, in St Werburghs. The site consists of mixed habitat of grassland, scrub, hedgerows and broad leaved woodland. Some of this grassland is unimproved (low nutrient) with good species diversity and includes admixtures of both calcareous (lime loving) and more prevalent neutral grassland. There is a landscaped garden, which possesses a small pond. The site is owned by Bristol City Council.

Statement of Intent

Care of the site will aim –

  • To maintain and enhance unimproved meadows by appropriate management by annual hay cutting in July or August with all arisings being removed and put into scrub areas to provide different habitat (especially for hedgehogs and other mammals). An early cut in early April may also increase competition from desirable herbs over more competitive grasses.
  • To reduce and control scrub encroachment onto meadows: brash piles may be created in scrub woodland surrounding meadows.
  • To thin areas of scrub periodically and allow to regenerate, to create diversity of age and structure: brash and log piles can be provided in woodland for greater habitat diversity.
  • To minimise colonisation by non-native trees in older woodland areas by thinning and pruning
  • To install appropriately placed bird and bat boxes to enhance wildlife value
  • To maintain principle paths on the site and the fence surrounding the site, where this fence is the responsibility of NMGT.
  • To clear litter from the site and to tackle the issue of dog mess left by dog owners

Species of Note Recorded

Birds; Recent (2004) surveys have revealed 16 species, including the BAP species: House Sparrow and Bullfinch. (more recent records include Waxwing, Raven, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Tawny Owls and Sparrowhawks)

Woody plants: 17 tree and shrub species recorded in 2004 survey (Phil Quinn).

Herbaceous Plants: 108 species recorded (mostly from 2004 (Quinn) grassland surveys) including the nutrient poor (unimproved or species rich) grassland indicator species; Corky Fruited Water Dropwort, Common Restharrow, Upright Brome, Black Knapweed, Wild Carrot, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Agrimony, Autumn Hawkbit, Rough Hawkbit, Lady’s Bedstraw, Field Scabious, Sweet Vernal Grass and Yellow Oat Grass.

Meadow management is desirable to maintain and enhance these populations.

Other species recorded in previous (pre-2004) surveys include Knapweed Broomrape and Hairy Rock Cress. These two species ‘have not been seen for many years’ (Quinn 2004) and hence it is worth surveying for them in future years.

Insects; 2004 surveys revealed 10 butterfly species, including grassland indicators such as Common Blue, Marbled White and Small Skipper: (records over the past 10 years indicate as many as 22 butterfly species on and around Narroways)

Lichens: 13 species have been recorded including a typical suite on ash twigs made up of Caloplaca cerinella, Lecania cyrtella, Lecania naegellii, & Lecanora hagenii.

Species Data Deficiencies: Invertebrates, bats, reptiles and amphibians, mammals, birds, bryophytes, fungi

Priority Recommendations for Future Surveys

  • Bat surveys along scrub and woodland edge (Common and Soprano Pipistrelle and Noctule bats have been recorded by detector over Narroways)
  • Dragonfly and damselfly surveys around local ponds.
  • Botanical surveys of species rich grassland/meadows
  • Botanical surveys of woodland and scrub
  • Mammal activity surveys of the whole site (though, amongst others, we have records of fox, badger, bank vole, wood mouse, hedgehog, roe and Muntjac deer on and around Narroways)

Recommended Three Year Work Plan

Management Type 2015/16 Winter 2016 Summer 2016/17 Winter 2017 Summer 2017/18 Winter 2018 Summer Review
Annual Hay Cut Meadow (late July-August) Yes Yes Yes 2018
Rotational thin of Scrub, especially of hawthorn, ash, suckering fruit trees Yes Yes Yes 2018
Thin young trees of Norway Maple & Sycamore in scrub and woodland Yes Yes Yes 2018
Thin scrub/small trees in meadow areas to prevent further encroachment Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 2018
Buy and install bat and bird boxes Yes 2017
10-25% thin of young woody growth in woodland especially ash (every 3 years) Yes 2017
Cut or scallop Tall Herb/Bramble Communities biennially Yes Yes 2018
Cut all vegetation (soft and woody) on both sides of all paths Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 2018
Monitor woodland boundary to ensure tree safety Yes 2017
City Farm community garden – management of pond for biodiversity Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 2018
City Farm city farm community garden- management of native species hedges for biodiversity including trimming to maintain density Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 2018
Review Statement 2018

Botanical identification training and habitat management advice can be provided by Bristol City Council Woodland and Wildlife Officer.

Compiled by Justin Smith; BCC Woodland and Wildlife Officer and reviewed by Geoff Thomson and Harry McPhillimy of NMGT (2015)

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A good year for Narroways Local Nature Reserve

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Narroways finally gained the statutory designation of Local Nature Reserve under section 21 of the National parks & Access to the Countryside Act in spring of this year. These are places with wildlife that are of special interest locally, which offer opportunities to learn about nature. Bristol City Council leases the site to the Narroways Millennium Green Trust to manage the small but diverse habitat for the benefit of wildlife and the enjoyment of local people. This affords Narroways and the area round it, additional protection from development.

The Trust took the opportunity this year to make further improvements to the reserve. We commissioned The Conservation Volunteers to put in new steps and improve the paths that had been particularly muddy in the past. The Trust also negotiated and fenced, with the help of Bristol City Council, a further 300m2 of woodland that had previously been fenced outside the site. Now this area will be kept just for wildlife and enhanced with nesting boxes for birds, log piles for amphibians and insects and more.

The most noticeable reserve improvement is the magnificent new three metre steel signpost/sculpture in Narroways Cutting designed by Kevin Hughes. With direction pointers to Boiling Wells, Ashley Hill and Mina Road/Stottbury Road no one needs to get lost on the site again! It is topped by the Narroways logo, which includes a steel version of a Marbled White butterfly on top. It took a large team of volunteers in October to haul the parts up to Narroways cutting, dig a hole for the sub base and erect the signpost. On Saturday 29th October we had a little ceremony to celebrate the event, with a guest appearance by Steve England who foraged and cooked up some wild food for the occasion. A couple of bottles of sparkling wine were also found and a couple of short speeches made.

In addition a new notice board has been erected on the hill to give more up to date information about Narroways. A new donation scheme has been set up which enables dog walkers (and anyone else!), the most frequent Narroways users, to donate towards the upkeep and improvements on Narroways. For more information go to: http://www.narroways.wordpress.com/donate or alternatively, you can donate £5 by using a mobile phone to text the following: Text NWMG16£5 to 70070 to donate £5 to Narroways.

Narroways is run entirely by volunteers and needs the support of local visitors to the hill to be able to look after it for the benefit of wildlife and anyone who needs a quiet breathing space in the city.

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Narroways Volunteer Days for 2016

Just a quick note to let you all know that we have now set the dates for the volunteer days for 2016. They are: Saturday 13 February 2016, Saturday 19 March 2016, Saturday 16 April 2016, Saturday 14 May 2016, Saturday 18 June 2016, Saturday 16 July 2016, Saturday 20 August 2016, Sunday 21 August 2016, Saturday 17 September 2016, Saturday 22 October 2016, Sunday 6 November 2016, Saturday 10 December 2016.

Please note that this year not all these are Saturdays – a couple fall on Sundays.

Just like previous years, though, meet on the top of Narroways Hill by the bench at 10:30 am. See you there, repeatedly I hope!

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