Thornbury Orchard Group
The Thornbury Orchard Group, part of Sustainable Thornbury, carry out their work 12 miles north of Bristol. The group manages an old orchard, a wildflower meadow and bee bank all adjacent to the Pickedmoor Lane Steam. The group uses traditional and sustainable methods to manage the area and enhance biodiversity for the benefit of wildlife and the local community.
Last year, the group were one of six winners of the Bee Bold Awards, which were launched by the West of England Metro Mayor, Dan Norris. The awards give recognition to organisations who take positive action to support bees and pollinators across the West of England. Thornbury Orchard Group were the winners of the People for Nature Award, which was announced at a community event that saw 10,000 wildflowers be planted.
In 2022, the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership funded the Thornbury Orchard Group for a litter-picking project in the Pickedmoor Lane Stream. The money enabled the group to purchase valuable equipment, such as industrial litter pickers, which helped volunteers to clean the river of waste and blockages without having to physically enter the water. Removing this litter will have helped improve the water quality and the habitat available to the fish and invertebrates that use it, as well as engaging local volunteers with the watercourse in their area.
The group removed bags of household waste and cleared many logjams that affected water levels. This has particularly helped an oak tree adjacent to the river, which before its had roots in the water, and now sits comfortably two-feet above the water level.
In January of this year, Bristol Avon Rivers Trust (BART) visited the Thornbury Orchard Group to look at a section of the Pickedmoor Lane Rhine that flows through Thornbury. The survey provided further insight into several issues the stream faces, such as a particular section that collects a lot of silt, fallen trees and debris that block the river, and issues created by a section of the river artificially straightened sometime in the past, amongst much more.
Trees that the Thornbury Orchard Group have planted close to the water’s edge
It has been confirmed the Thornbury Orchard Group will once again receive funding from the Catchment Partnership Fund to continue to support biodiversity within the local area through some of the interventions suggested by BART and the Avon Wildlife Trust.
They have a range of plans for the future, including planting pendulous sedge on bare areas of the riverbank; this sedge naturally grows along the watercourse and is great for native wildlife. They will also protect the few remaining Oak trees, which are in danger from previous floodwater damage; construct berms within the stream; and train more volunteers in natural methods to help deliver their valuable work in the orchard.
We are excited to see the Thornbury Orchard Group carry on its excellent work over the next year and beyond.
For further information, visit their website here.
A section of the stream that has collected silt – the Thornbury Orchard Group plan to remove this during the next stage of the project.
Senior Environmental Monitoring Officer (Citizen Science)
The Environment Agency (EA) are looking for a passionate individual to help inform and influence the way the EA uses citizen science data for the benefits of people and wildlife. It is a full time role, and will include working closely with the Bristol Avon and Dorset catchment partnerships. Visit the EA website here for more information.
Restoring Fish Spawning Tributaries and Riparian Habitat
Healthier with Nature - Green Social Prescribing
Healthier with Nature – Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire’s Green Social Prescribing Programme – are seeking for passionate groups and individuals within the area to be part of their local network.
An NHS funded programme, Healthier with Nature works to help people better connect with nature to improve their physical and mental wellbeing, and are helping to embed nature-based practice in the health and social care sectors. If you would like to find out more or get involved, contact Judy.email@example.com to join the distribution list and receive updates on community events across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, and North Somerset.
For further information on Healthier with Nature, watch this video here.
Festival of Nature
Festival of Nature is the UK’s largest annual celebration of the natural world, and it kicks off today! This year’s festival runs Friday 9th – Sunday 18th June with over 60 events taking place across the region, including a return to Millennium Square’s Wild Weekend in Bristol and a Family Nature Party at Apex City of Bath Hotel.
Join the celebration for the festival’s 20th anniversary with this year’s unmissable 10-day programme of vibrant city-centre events, rivers and wildlife workshops, walks and talks, film screenings, spectacular performances and digital activities across the week.
View the entire programme of events here and start planning your week of nature.
Dorset Wildlife Trust – Wild Woodbury Rewilding Project
Since acquiring the land in 2021, Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Wild Woodbury community rewilding project in Bere Regis has produced great results. Over 1,300 species have been recorded by staff and volunteers, with 8 Red List birds have been spotted breeding at the site.
This video showcases the hard work throughout the project, or alternatively you can read more about the project on the Dorset Wildlife Trust website.