Wapley working party with certificate

Some of the Conservation Group members with award certificate and new trees ready for planting

Wapley Bushes Conservation Group has celebrated being awarded the South Gloucestershire Council Chair’s Community Award by taking the first steps in a 20 year strategy to ensure the future of this well-loved nature reserve just off Shire Way, Yate.

This is the first time the Community Award has been given to groups rather than individuals. The Conseevation Group has been looking after Wapley Bushes for 24 years on behalf of owners Dodington Parish Council, but now it’s time to look further into the future.

The major threat to the Nature Reserve is ash dieback disease, which is now within a dozen miles of Yate. Eventually, but fortunately very slowly, we will lose most of the tallest trees that form the canopy of this ancient woodland. We have started a long-term programme of replacement planting with different tall native species – oak, whitebeam, black poplar and small-leaved lime.

We planted our first batch of 30 trees last weekend (25 March), with the help of South Gloucestershire’s new Member Awarded Funding scheme. We are aiming to plant another 90 trees next winter, gradually working our way through the woodland. By the time we start seeing major effects from ash dieback, the new trees should be at least semi-mature and the reserve will be able to carry on supporting a wide range of species.

19 volunteers came along to Saturday’s work morning, meaning that as well as the planting we were able to carry out a comprehensive spring clean – we’re doing one in each of the three Parish Council wards. We were glad to see that there wasn’t too much litter around, but even so we came away with three black sacks full.

South Glos Community Award 2017

As well as the Chair’s Community Award, Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve has been a regular South West in Bloom and Green Flag Community Award winner. The Conservation Group runs a range of work mornings, walks and activities – for further information please contact Paul Hulbert on 01454 315851 or paul.hulbert@gmail.com.