Previous Projects & News Archive


Burton Conservation Volunteers completed two days' work at Wharf Lane SSSI, an ancient heathland site which has recently been acquired by the Lichfield District Council countryside team. We have opened up a large area on the site, cutting back the encroaching scrub and small trees to encourage the growth of heather, in order to restore the increasingly rare heathland habitat. The site is next to the Wyrley and Essington canal near Brownhills.

(Oct 2014)

Wharf Lane SSSI


BCV's Washlands to Walton Walk, part of the National Forest Walking Festival attracted an excellent turnout. No fewer than 31 people did all or part of the walk, thanks to the fine weather.

The opening day of the festival also saw the launch of the National Forest Way, a new 75-mile waymarked path stretching across the length of the National Forest from the National Memorial Arboretum to Beacon Hill Country Park. We are planning to do the whole route in sections, starting in July on Sundays when there are no conservation tasks.

(May 2014)

Washlands to Walton walk


Burton Conservation Volunteers had an outdoor working weekend in the grounds of Beaumont College in Lancaster.

During our weekend there we laid a new path which now allows easy wheelchair access from the college buildings up to the garden area. Other tasks included some much-needed clearance work on an overgrown bluebell hollow.

(May 2014)

More pictures

Path work at Beaumont College


Burton Conservation Volunteers have been busy in Swadlincote helping Springfield Junior School to create their new outdoor teaching area and garden. We cleared away the old overgrown vegetation to make room for some new shrubs and plants which will complement a new outdoor mini-stage and benches which they have already installed.  We also tried our hand at a bit of topiary on some of the existing shrubbery, creating a snail amongst other things!  BCV have another working day at the school on Sunday 13th April.

(Mar 2014)

Outdoor area at Springfield Junior SchoolOutdoor area at Springfield Junior School


As always, we started the year with a local walk. Unfortunately the original planned walk had to be curtailed due to waterlogged paths and excessive mud, so instead we did a shorter four-mile route  from Newborough down to Jackson's Bank and back which managed to avoid the worst of the conditions. We also finished the walk with a drink in the pub just as the rain started!

(Jan 2014)

Newborough walk



Our tasks in 2013 drew to a close with a clearing and pruning session at the Allotment and Orchard.  This was the first year that we had had a chance to prune the fruit trees in the orchard.

After the pruning, there was plenty to eat and drink - a nice pork and cider casserole and home-made apple pie (thanks to Lawrence for these), plus mince pies, a birthday cake for Wayne and a chocolate Christmas wreath made by Gavin, oh and not forgetting Margaret's fruit cake too! After an excess of food it was time to don silly hats and toast the fruit trees with hot spiced cider and a wassail.

(Dec 2013)


We were all very sorry to hear of the sudden death of Peter Bolas at home on September 26th 2013, aged 83.  Peter was one of Burton Conservation Volunteers' original members and helped to set up many of our projects when the group first started. Although in more recent years he took less of an active role in terms of practical work, Peter was still very much a regular at our monthly meetings and he remained in the role of BCV Secretary for no less than twenty years, before retiring at our AGM earlier this year.  Peter was a great friend of the group, a real gentleman, and he will be much missed by everyone. We offer our condolences and best wishes to his family.


Some of our recent projects have included river and wetland tasks.  We completed three sessions along (and in!) the River Mease, and another three days at Swadlincote Woodlands (the last of these will be on Sept 29th).

Below left: Clearing invasive Himalayan balsam from the banks of the River Mease near Netherseal

Below right: Extracting reeds which have taken over a large lake on Swadlincote Woodlands. This clearance work will provide areas of clear water which should add to the biodiversity of the site.

(Sep 2013)

River Mease near Netherseal

Swadlincote Woodlands wetland area

Burton Conservation Volunteers helped to complete a landmark tree-planting project in Rosliston, along with a new bench, in memory of Shelley Brady our former Treasurer.

The project has seen a mile-long avenue of small-leafed lime trees planted along the approach to the Rosliston Forestry Centre, which will eventually replace the existing conker trees which are slowly dying back.

BCV planted the final few trees close to the Forestry Centre itself, along with the new bench.  The bench is in an ideal position on one of the woodland walks at the Forestry Centre, and already seems to be popular.  The bench was already in use an hour or two after we installed it, when we had a stroll around the site after finishing the tree-planting. (Mar 2013)

More details and pictures

Tree-planting at Rosliston

New bench at Rosliston


It may have been the morning after BCV's 20th party, but it didn't stop a good turnout of volunteers preparing and starting to lay a hedge for the local Guides at their campsite near Tatenhill, on a fine almost spring-like day. We also had a visit from Radio Derby who did a feature with some of the longer-serving BCV members talking about the 20 years of the group.

We made further progress with the hedge-laying during another session in March.

(Feb/Mar 2013)


Burton Conservation Volunteers have recently celebrated 20 years as a wholly voluntary, self-funding, independent group.

Pictures from BCV's Open Day corporate event
, which was attended by representatives from many organisations we have worked with over the years.

Pictures from our party
at Burton Caribbean centre to mark 20 years of BCV.

Take a trip down memory lane with a selection of photos from the last 20 years which illustrate the diverse range of projects and locations where we have worked. 20 years of BCV  (Feb 2013)

NEW YEAR WALK: Ticknall and Carver's Rocks
Our New Year walk was a nine-mile circular route from Ticknall along part of the old tramway through Calke Park and then on to Carver's Rocks for a lunch stop.  We continued on a large circuit of Foremark Reservoir, stopping for tea and cakes and/or beer at Milton before returning via Hangman's Stone to Ticknall. (Jan 2013)

Ticknall Tramway

Carver's Rocks SSSI


Broad Meadow, Tamworth

Broad Meadow is a Site of Biological Importance in Tamworth, situated on an island enclosed by the River Tame and the flood relief channel. It is the site of a colony of rare snake's head fritillary flowers, but the flowers can only continue to flourish each year if regular practical conservation management work is carried out in the form of an annual hay cut.

With the help of a mechanical Allen scythe, we managed to cut and rake the whole area although it was hard work, particularly on such a hot day.  During the break there were cakes to celebrate Margaret and Stuart's birthdays.

Hopefully our efforts will be rewarded with another display of fritillaries next year.

(Aug 2012)

Hay-raking on Broad Meadow

More pictures


In 2011 Burton Conservation Volunteers completed just under 600 work days on 46 task days, slightly down on the previous year.

Highlights of the year in our Annual Report, which was presented at the AGM, include the major Reap What You Sow project on the Washlands which involved the planting of around a hundred black poplars to create a living map of an old watercourse, plus a range of mixed fruit trees to form welcoming features to the area.  We worked on the new Paget Community Orchard, which promises to be a major asset to local wildlife and people. We completed a hedge-laying task at Broome Farm cider orchard, and received awards for our work from the ESCVS and the Burton Civic Society.

Download the BCV 2011 Annual Report (PDF 324 KB) and the Summary of Tasks 2011 (PDF 126 KB).


Twenty-five people took part in our Washlands to Walton Walk, an 11.5-mile river and canal walk which BCV ran as part of the 2012 National Forest Walking Festival. The walk was enjoyed by all despite the cold weather (just prior to the heatwave).

Along the route there were many projects that BCV have done over the years including the woodland and orchard on the golf course, and the community orchard at Paget School, as well as the recent Reap What You Sow project, the series of black poplars which we have planted as a "living map" to mark out the old Peels Cut waterway across the Washlands. (May 2012)

Snakes head fritillaries: Delicate meadow flower puts on a show at Tamworth beauty spot

One of the UK’s rarest wild flowers has put on an amazing show in Tamworth following the determined efforts of Burton Conservation Volunteers along with volunteers from the Wild About Tamworth project.

Almost 200 snake’s head fritillaries, best known for their delicately-marked dusky purple or white flowers, have burst into bloom on Broad Meadow, a lush floodplain meadow beside the River Tame in Tamworth. The colony has grown in size this year thanks to management work undertaken by the volunteers.

The groups carried out a "hay cut" last September, which helped to limit the species competing with the fritillaries, giving them the opportunity to thrive.  (Apr 2012)

More details and photos

Snake's head fritillary. Photo: John Bates

Snake's head fritillary (Photo: John Bates)


Burton Conservation Volunteer members have donated £30 to The Mount, a care home in Yoxall which is run by Rebecca Homes where Gavin, one of our most committed members, is a resident.  The money is part of the proceeds from a collection by BCV members at our Christmas/New Year Meal, and has been used by the home to purchase a Wii Dance game and mats, for which they are very grateful. (Apr 2012)


Burton Conservation Volunteers' founder, Lawrence Oates, has received the Environmental Volunteer of the Year accolade at the Staffordshire Volunteer Awards 2012. Many congratulations to Lawrence who is pictured accepting his award from Donald MacPhail, the regional director of Veolia Environmental Services. Martin Tuck also represented BCV at the ceremony, which was held at Alton Towers.
(Mar 2012)
Prizes and praise for East Staffordshire's unsung heroes (Burton Mail 05/04/2012)

Lawrence Oates, Environmental Volunteer of the Year

Volunteer Staffordshire Awards logo

Bank Walk, Horninglow

Bank Walk, Horninglow
Clearance work along a brook (Jan 2012)

Pipe Hill Common

Pipe Hill Common near Lichfield
Scrub clearance work to restore an isolated area of heathland and help create a flower glade at this site of biological importance managed by Lichfield District Council (Jan 2012)

Repton and Ingleby

Our eight-mile New Year circular walk started in the historic village of Repton, and then took us over Askew Hill before dropping down to the fascinating Anchor Church Caves near Ingleby. After a well-earned drink at the John Thompson Inn we continued towards Foremark Hall, stopping briefly at the small church there, before returning via Milton village back to Repton.

There were no previous BCV work-sites on this year's walk (there'll be plenty of those on our National Forest Festival walk on May 19th), and unfortunately no good hedges of note for Lynn, but instead we did see a wealth of interesting natural and historic features along the way. (Jan 2012)

More pictures

Descending Askew Hill

Descending Askew Hill



BCV volunteers have been planting fruit trees at the entrance points to the Trent Washlands as part of the Reap What You Sow project funded by the Veolia Environmental Trust.  The trees will provide a welcoming display of spring blossom and autumn fruit for visitors.

The project also includes the planting of native black poplars across the Washlands, enclosed by fencing to provide protection from the herd of Herefordshire cattle. The new trees will create a "living map" to mark the route of Peel's Cut, an 18th-century waterway which was created to supply water from the River Trent to Burton's then-flourishing cotton mills.  The project will incorporate a series of information boards on the history of the site.

Burton Mail article (24/11/11)

Trent Washlands


Another award for Burton Conservation Volunteers: at the Burton Civic Society's Annual Design Awards, we were the winners of the Olga Lloyd Award for environmental improvements and raising public interest in conservation. We were also Commended in the Environmental Award for our hedge-laying project off Watson Street. And the Paget School community orchard, in which we have been heavily involved, was Highly Commended.

Read more about the awards in this Burton Mail article (30/06/11)
(July 2011)

Olga Lloyd award

Environmental Award


Burton Conservation Volunteers completed a remarkable total of 668 work days in 2010, on 56 different task-days.  We worked for clients ranging from Staffordshire Wildlife Trust to British Waterways, and a school orchard to a cider farm.  Download the BCV 2010 Annual Report (PDF 295 KB) and the Summary of Tasks 2010 (PDF 128 KB). (May 2011)


Burton Conservation Volunteers have won a Star Volunteer Award at the East Staffordshire volunteers' equivalent of the Oscars. "Gongs" were presented to a range of individuals and voluntary organisations in recognition of their valued work to the local community, and BCV were annnounced as the winners of the Best Established Volunteer Team category.

The ceremony, which was organised by East Staffordshire Community and Voluntary Service (ESCVS), took place at the Marstons social club. The BCV representatives - Lawrence, Richard, Becky and Pete - were presented with a framed certificate by MP Andrew Griffiths.

The award follows hot on the heels of last year's Green Heroes award. Well done to all volunteers for contributing to the success of the group.

(Mar 2011)

Star Volunteer Award certificate



BCV members helped Paget School pupils plant over 400 fruit trees in the new Community Orchard at Paget High School.

Mike and Amanda at the school have been in touch and ask us to pass on their thanks to all the BCV members who helped out. They are looking forward to the blossom in the springtime.

The picture shows BCV volunteers preparing the area prior to the planting. (Nov 2010)

Burton Mail article (19/11/10)

Here is a link to a YouTube video made by Paget School showcasing the new orchard.

Paget Orchard

Fairtrade Fashion Show


BCV members and friends paraded along the catwalk for the FAIRTRADE FASHION SHOW as part of One World Week in October.

The volunteer models displayed a variety of Fairtrade fashion items that were available for sale at the event, which took place at the newly-refurbished Meadowside Leisure Centre.


BCV are currently involved with an exciting new community farm project at Paget High School in Branston.

A major feature of the work is the creation of a new 4.5-acre orchard on the school site, which will be planted with over 400 fruit trees. This is the only orchard in Britain that will be part of the National Forest. During sessions in September and October we prepared the soil for the fruit trees, which involved mixing bonemeal in with the compost and putting it in the planting holes. The trees will be planted by the school pupils in November.

We also helped build the school pond (picture opposite). The school farm now has chicken, Guinea pigs, rabbits, and duck of course! (Oct 2010)

Paget pond

Burton Conservation Volunteers are proud to have earned a top conservation award.

We won the Western region's Community Group of the Year accolade in BTCV's 2010 Green Heroes Awards. The award is a real credit to the group, particularly as this year saw a record number of applications from our region.

You can read more about our award in this Burton Mail article. (Oct 2010)
Our task was to help regenerate a wildlife area on a neglected wet grassland meadow on the edge of the cider farm.  This involved the removal of willows and brambles which were limiting access to the site (revealing an old metal gate which had been hidden for years), and coppicing the trees near to the brook which runs along the back of the meadow.  The main work was laying a section of hedge (mostly willow and hawthorn) on the boundary alongside the road.  The area has been grazed by livestock in the past, and there is the possibility of the re-introduction of stock in the future.

We achieved a lot in the short time available, and everyone enjoyed the weekend - a great location as always (camping in the apple orchards), excellent food, drink and hospitality, and good weather too. (Sept 2010)



More photos


On one of our best-attended working days of the year (24 volunteers), we installed two new oak bridges over the stream in the woodland at Yoxall Lodge.  The new bridges will form part of the route for the popular bluebell walks. This is part of a new project to open up an area of the neglected woodland to the rear of the walled garden.  We also constructed two flights of steps to make access easier into the woodland. (Aug 2010)
Building a bridge at Yoxall Lodge


Our main project this summer has been the removal of invasive Himalayan Balsam along a scenic stretch of the River Mease between the villages of Netherseal and Clifton Campville. The clearance work has involved scrambling through the bushes along the overgrown river banks, and even launching a rubber dinghy to reach some of the more inaccessible sections of the offending plant. (June 2010)

More pictures
Himalayan Balsam clearance River Mease


Burton Conservation Volunteers once again clocked up over 500 work days last year including projects at several new locations including a local RSPB reserve, a British Waterways site, and a cider farm. Full details of our year's activities are in our Annual Report which was presented at our AGM and Social in June 2010.


We had thousands of reeds to plant, and it took us an extra session in the end, but we eventually managed to complete the task at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust's Croxall Lakes Nature Reserve, an important site for wildfowl and waders. We fenced and taped the planted sections to protect them from grazing geese; once the new reeds are mature enough (a year or two) the fences and tape will be removed. (May 2010)
Reed-planting at Croxall Lakes Reed-planting at Croxall Lakes


BCV helped Newborough residents to install a new bridge across the River Swarbourn to connect two riverside play areas. As the bridge framework was pre-constructed, it took an army of volunteers and helpers to manoeuvre it into position! We also built a new wooden fence along the top of the river bank, and then laid a new path to connect to the new bridge. (March 2010)

More pictures

Path work at Yoxall Lodge


Creating new footpaths through the woodland at Yoxall Lodge, one of our regular sites and also the location of the popular Bluebell Walks each spring. (March 2010)


Those who worked with us on the Kingfisher hedges may be interested in these wooden sculptures which have recently been installed - two at each end of the trail. Many thanks to Stuart for the pictures.
Kingfisher Trail Kingfisher sculpture


At the end of February we had a woodland maintenance day in Tower Wood overlooking Burton. Tasks included formative pruning (to encourage strong straight stems) and crown-lifting (to open up the trees close to the paths).

Earlier in February we had a hedge-laying session at Christian Fields, Lichfield, and a day at Chasewater. We also worked with local Winshill residents to create a nature trail.


The cold snap resulted in one or two events being rescheduled (including the monthly meeting), but we eventually finished the annual willow-coppicing in the reed beds at Branston Water Park, and subsequently used some of the coppiced material to create a natural screen on the Washlands.

On Old Twelvey Night (during the day actually) we had a Wassail in the Orchard next to the allotment - with suitable verses, accompanied by Margaret on her bongoes, hot mulled cider, pumpkin soup and home-made cakes.

We had a day at Christian Fields site in Lichfield, working with local volunteers to clear the overgrown paths and improve the site, and a day at the equine clinic near Alrewas to maintain the willow screen we constructed last year.


Herefordshire cattle on the Washlands
Herefordshire cattle grazing on the Washlands
Willow screen
Willow screen
Our Christmas/New Year meal was enjoyed by almost 30 volunteers, but unfortunately not by organiser Jo as she was struck down by a bug and couldn't make it - get well soon Jo!
Burton Mail Woodland Hedge-laying on the Kingfisher Trail
BURTON MAIL WOODLAND: Maintenance work including crown-lifting and pruning. We also planted a few new apple trees as part of the Tree O'Clock world record attempt. (Dec 2009) KINGFISHER TRAIL: We have started laying some new sections of hedge at the Shobnall end of the trail.  We had a visit from a former national hedgelaying champion, Geoff Key, who gave us some very useful tips and demonstrations. There are further sessions scheduled there on January 30th and 31st. (Dec 2009)

BADGERS HOLLOW: A new site to us, at Coton Park Nature Reserve near Linton, managed by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. We put up a dozen or so bird boxes which had been made by the local Scouts. (Dec 2009)
Coton Park Coton Park

Tern raft at Fradley Pool Nature Reserve ONE GOOD TERN...

Fradley Pool Nature Reserve is a canal reservoir at the junction of the Trent & Mersey and Coventry canals. The reserve is an important wetland area home to a wide variety of birdlife. In conjunction with British Waterways, BCV have built a tern raft on the reservoir. The floating timber platform should be an ideal breeding site for common terns as it is well out of the reach of predators such as foxes. We have positioned the raft in the middle of the lake so it is easily viewed from the bird hide. (Nov 2009)

More pictures


Pipehill Common is part of an ancient heathland just outside Lichfield. We cleared bracken and brambles and did some selective coppicing to establish a new path and help encourage the heathland vegetation. We recycled one of the felled birch trees into a small bench. (Nov 2009)
Pipehill Common Pipehill Common


Our annual Make-A-Difference (MAD) Day at this urban woodland site included some coppicing and also cutting back the boundary hedge. Also a chance to use our new heavy-duty winch, which made light work of removing sycamore tree roots. Plus pumpkin soup and apple puddings and custard.
(Nov 2009)

Our task here was to construct a new woodland path above the stream. We made use of coppiced willow material to build a fence marking the edge of the path. (Nov 2009)
Beans Covert Woodland path at Yoxall Lodge


The Silverway, which flows through the Burton Washlands near the Ferry Bridge, is a narrow channel that is part of the River Trent. In centuries gone by, the Silverway used to be the main course of the river. Our task was to clear a length of the overgrown channel, which meant donning waders (the water level was too deep for wellies) and hand-pulling the reed mace from the water, transferring it to piles nearby to rot whilst allowing any aquatic wildlife to crawl back into the water. The purpose of clearing the channel is not only to make the area more visually attractive but also to increase the general biodiversity of the local environment. (Sept 2009)

Clearance work, Silverway channel
Clearing the Silverway channel Group picture, Silverway channel


We built the pond and wooden dipping platform at this site several years ago now. Then on subsequent visits we laid hedges around the wildlife garden area. Our makeover day here included clearing the neglected pond (although there was no shortage of frogs and other wildlife), trimming the overgrown hedge, tidying the wildlife garden, and giving the platform barrier a fresh coat of paint although the colour didn't seem to be to everyone's taste! The pictures below give an indication of the progress we achieved in just a few hours. (Sept 2009)

St Peter's School, Yoxall - pond St Peter's School, Yoxall St Peter's School, Yoxall - pond
St Peter's School, Yoxall - platform St Peter's School, Yoxall St Peter's School, Yoxall - pond

Here are a few pictures from our work day at Foxley Wood, Linton on August 23rd. This woodland site is part of the National Forest and is owned and managed by the Woodland Trust. The pond, which BCV first restored several years ago, is sited in the corner of the woodland. This was our first visit to the site for two years. During that time the reeds had taken over the pond completely, so our task was to cut back about half of the reeds to restore the water and hopefully the wildlife habitat for such water creatures as dragonflies, frogs and diving beetles (see picture). With a good turnout of BCV members, plus help from local volunteers and cub scouts, we formed a "chain gang" and cleared the area in good time. A messy job but well worth it! We also pruned an area of woodland adjacent to the pathway to let in more light.
Foxley Wood
Foxley Wood pond Diving Beetle
Foxley Wood pond

For more information about the Foxley Wood site, see the Woodland Trust website.
Foxley Wood pond

Tufted vetch, Kingfisher Trail


The picture shows Tufted vetch on the Kingfisher Trail in Burton. Many thanks to Lawrence for the photo.

The Kingfisher Trail has been awarded Green Flag Status for the second successive year.

And Branston Water Park, has received the award for the fifth year running.

Well done to all volunteers who have contributed to the success of these two sites.

More details here: East Staffordshire Borough Council news article


1995: The picture on the left shows BCV members planting the new woodland at Branston Golf Club 14 years ago. Approx. 800 trees planted, with a survival rate of over 95%.

2009: The picture on the right shows the same woodland in the background, 14 years on!
Branston Golf Club 1995 Brasnton Golf Club 2009


Around twenty BCV members attended our Annual Review and Social/Buffet held at the Old Cottage Tavern (May 2009).

The evening started with the formal AGM business: Lawrence presented the BCV Annual Report which highlighted another successful year for the group (there's a link to the report below); Steve then presented the accounts which in spite of major expenditure during the last year still showed a surplus over the 12-month period.  The committee was re-elected, with the exception of Steve who has stepped down as Treasurer, and we welcome Emily who has taken over this role.

Lynn presented an informative talk on the ancient woodlands around the Forest of Needwood which was very well illustrated with slides, once we eventually managed to get the projector to work.  And we were entertained with an audio-visual presentation of our year's activities, compiled by Shane.


Below is a selection of pictures from the
Lichfield Wassail and tree-grafting event (March 2009).

Wassail at Lichfield Wassail at Lichfield
Wassail at Lichfield Wassail at Lichfield

BCV Allotment

Allotment (Mar 2009)

BCV members are busy preparing the allotment for the new growing season.  Our newest member Conservation Colin casts an eye over the allotment.

Conservation Colin

Planting reeds at Midleton Lakes

Middleton Lakes (Mar 2009)

Left: Planting reeds at Middleton Lakes, a new RSPB reserve near Tamworth.

Right: Here's one they prepared earlier (planted the previous year).

Reeds at Middleton Lakes

Planting a new hedge

Planting a new hedge at Hadley End (Feb 2009) along the line of an ancient hedge near Yoxall.

The planting included a variety of species: hawthorn, hazel, field maple, crab apple, holly, and silver birch, plus a few rare wild service trees in an attempt to recreate the biodiversity of the old hedge-line.  We also put in some willow and alder in the wetter areas.  The new hedge is 170 metres in length – not bad for a single day's work!

Living willow screen at Fradley Building a living willow screen at the equine clinic near Fradley (Feb 2009).  The screen consists of different shades of willow, forming a wave pattern.  Once it becomes fully established, the screen should act as a sound barrier and a windbreak for the ménage (horse exercise area), whilst adding to the biodiversity of the site and also providing an interesting visual feature visible from the A38. Living willow screen at Fradley
Update, May 2009: The screen is already looking well-established and covered in foliage after just three months, as the picture (below, right) shows.
Living willow screen at Fradley Living willow screen at Fradley Living willow screen at Fradley

Woodland management, Scalpcliffe Woods BCV Trailer Christian Fields, Lichfield

Woodland management in the delightful setting of Scalpcliffe Woods in Stapenhill (Jan 2009).  A well-attended task – so popular that we had to rush out and buy a further supply of helmets to kit everyone out.

February saw the launch of our new BCV logo and also the long-awaited new trailer.

Christian Fields, a new wildlife area on the northern edge of the city of Lichfield.  We have assisted Lichfield District Council with various work parties there, working towards Local Nature Reserve status.  Recent tasks have included scrub control, path clearance, and installing natural barriers. (Feb 2009)

Hedge-laying, Kingfisher Trail Hedge-laying, Kingfisher Trail Willow dome sculpture, Kingfisher Trail

Hedgelaying on the Kingfisher Trail (Jan-Feb 2009): The Kingfisher Trail is a recently restored wildlife corridor and cycle route which runs alongside the Trent and Mersey Canal in Burton.  The work carried out by BCV and other community-led environmental groups over the last two years culminated in the Kingfisher Trail being awarded Green Flag status in 2008.  The pictures show part of our latest hedgelaying section, which we completed during January and February, and also a living dome structure built from willow sticks which we cut back from the reed beds at Branston Water Park as part of our ongoing environmental management plan there. 

New pinch-stile, Rolleston

ROLLESTON FOOTPATHS: In January we had a busy weekend surveying and maintaining the footpath network in and around Rolleston-on-Dove, following up the work we did in the summer of 2007.

On the Saturday we installed a new pinch-stile on Shotwood Hill Lane (pictured left), and on the Sunday we carried out some repairs to existing stiles on the path running between Marston Lane and Cornmill Lane (pictured right).

To complete the weekend, we had the BCV late Christmas meal at the Albion pub on Saturday night, which was attended by no fewer than 22 volunteers – another great meal enjoyed by all; many thanks to Jo for organising the event.

Stile repairs, Rolleston

More pictures from 2008 to follow.
Barbecue and wassail New gate, Rolleston Path repairs, Severn Valley Country Park

A barbecue on the Allotment followed by wassailing in the orchard!

Footpath work: This is one of three gates we installed at Rolleston-on-Dove, part of a short circular route from the church which is now stile-free!

Repairs and drainage improvements to a path at Severn Valley Country Park near Bridgnorth, following the flood damage.

Bluebell walk at Hardcastle Crags

Left:  A bluebell walk along the river at Hardcastle Crags in Yorkshire, where we recently spent another weekend working on this National Trust site.

Right: Going batty on the Bat Walk on the Burton Washlands.  It was a wet evening, but our patience was rewarded with the detection and sighting of a few bats towards the end of the walk.

Bat walk

New hedge, Stretton

Update on previous projects

Here are a couple of photos from Lawrence – showing the hedge we laid at Knightsbridge Way in Stretton, and also the willow screen at the back of Blackpool Street – both looking very healthy.


Willow screen

Tree nursery


April was a busy month with various projects on the BCV Allotment including the installation of some French drains, and also the building of a new tree nursery, pictured left.  The nursery is protected by gravel board on one side, and a rabbit-proof chicken-wire fence on the remaining three sides.  The tree nursery will be used for growing saplings for planting on later in other sites where we work.


After many delays due to problems with the supply of suitable timber, we finally installed the big bridge at Yoxall Lodge on Easter Saturday.  Made of solid oak, the bridge is a massive 40 feet (12m) long.  The main problem was to move the two 40-foot spans without breaking them.  This was done with a lot of bodies, and a set of wheels under the middle.  These then had to be manoeuvred across the field, through the woodland and up to the bank of the lake.

With the aid of ropes, using the trees as pulleys and Matt in the lake with a pair of waders, each span was put in place. Once this had been done, the rest was plain sailing; we had marked all the joints and it was put together in no time.  It's always nice to complete a project in one day and see the results.  We are now negotiating to put in the third river crossing over the Trent!

Big bridge at Yoxall Lodge

Reed beds, Branston Water Park

Willow-weaving (Feb 2007): On the Saturday we cut back the willow on the reed beds at Branston Water Park (left). This is part of the ongoing active management plan to preserve the special reed bed environment which is attracting increasing numbers of waterfowl.  The resulting willow material was put to very good use: on the Sunday we built a living willow bird screen (right) on Burton Washlands, using entirely natural material including the bindings. Although we didn’t quite finish it on the day, we completed the screen after an extra session there two weeks later.