Thursday, 29 July 2010

Grove Wood container gone

After what seems like an eternity, Mr Jafari finally did the decent thing and removed the shipping container that has been a blot on the landscape in Grove Wood today at 3.45pm. Luckily a member of the group was there to record this wonderful moment.

I guess Mr Jafari couldn't face yet another humiliation in the Courts as the issue was due to go to court in August.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Wickham Glen Cycling Proposals

A planning application has been submitted by Cycling City for a new cyling ramp to be installed through the woods in Wickham Glen and onto Blackberry Hill/Broom Hill.
The application is only for the Ramp Only but forms part of the larger scheme (which doesnt need planning approval as its deemed as improvements/repairs to existing) which will continue the new cycle path through Eastville Park all the way to Blackberry Hill/Broom Hill and then eventually Stoke Park.
The planning application is for a new 3m wide cycle route to but cut through the existing woodland that is surfaced in tarmac and has timber post and rail fencing either side.
In order to do this trees will have to be removed and substantial earthworks undertaken. A replanting scheme will then be undertaken.

The documents can be seen by folowing the following weblink:
No provison has been made to prevent or even make more difficult motobike access. The route is designed to conform to national cycle route standards.

It appears that due to Bristol being a cylcling city that this is the norm.
Should we accept that instead of asking cyclist to use the road from Wickham bridge up to Blackberry Hill we have to accept that woodland has to be destroyed and repalced with 3m wide cycle lanes.
We accept that the footpath is in need of repair and that access is not suitable for cycles/wheelchairs and motorbikes but do we have to tarmac everywhere to enable unfettered access to those that choose to ride bikes and not walk along public footpaths?
You can also contact the ofiicer responsible for submitting the proposals at or his colleague who will be able to explain the proposals to you.
We would like to gage the opinion of our members so the group can respond to this application so please comment on what you think.

Friday, 16 July 2010

New plans for Snuff Mills, Oldbury Court and Wickham Glen

The Council have just published their Area Greenspace Plan for the open spaces in our area. As well as including plans to sell of several open spaces for development, see post below, it includes lots of ideas for improving our parks and greenspaces.

For Snuff Mills and Quarry Field (by Ham Lane) they propose:
1) To repair the historic buildings and walls, improve access and provide facilties for the community as whole.
2) Reinforce the wildlife value.
3) Provide a new, enclosed childrens play area in natural materials adjacent to the car park.
4) Continue to improve paths
5) Continue to improve formal planting beds.
6) Improve appearance of car park.
7) Manage and maintain Ham Lane [Quarry Field] to keep it as it is and improve the footpath link between the two spaces.
They say that these are ideas and options and they cannot afford to do all of these suggestions.

For Oldbury Court they propose:
1) New visitors centre, staff accommodation, shared use pavilion and cafe.
2) Redesign main car park.
3) New entrance gates and signage. A large entrance feature is suggested.This could
be of a modern design or replicate what might have been there originally.
4) Open up of the entrance off Goffenton Drive
5) Creation of a secondary parking area
6) Creation of a new formal area with seating
7) Introduction of a wheels park or Multi-Use-Games-Area for young people
8) Restore the original landscape design. This would involve the removal of some trees planted since the Estate was originally laid out and may give rise to concerns regarding the loss of natural habitats.
9) Reinforce wildlife interest. Within the framework of trees it may be possible to carry out low level planting of native perennials to add to the wildlife
value of the Estate.
10) Repair of riverside path
11) Repair of walls and bridges
12) Signs from Fishponds Road
13) Review sporting use and the creation of a new cricket square
14) Signs and information throughout the estate.
Once again they say these are ideas and options and they cannot afford to do all of these suggestions.

Finally for Wickham Glen they propose to maintain the green route along
the valley and improve connections and to reinforce the wildlife
value by
1) Creating an attractive and improved path through the site
2) Appropriate scrub clearance to increase the range of natural habitats

These plans are now out for consultation. While Snuff Mills Action Group will be responding, and we support many of these proposals (but not all of them), you can have your say. Take part in the online consultation here:

View the plan for yourself here:

New developments proposed for the area

The Council have just published their site allocations for our area. This highlights land that they regard as suitable for development. Several of the proposals affect the areas that are of concern to Snuff Mills Action Group.

Laundry Field and Blackberry Hill Hospital are alloacted for housing and business uses, although there seem to be some concessions to preserve greenspace. We will be preparing a full and detailed response to this allocation of land to ensure that the assurances we have received from the owners of the land, the Homes and Communities Agency, are noted. Otherwise a developer could be rubbing their hands at all that greenfield land ripe for development with the possibility of no less than 470 dwellings there.

Also of concern are plans to develop Begbrook Drive open space next to Begbrook School. This area of land is proposed for either housing or a travellers' site. We would be concerned about the impact of any development here on the wildlife and amenity of the valley below it and will be sending some detailed feedback, whether it means they will build 24 homes or provide 12 gypsy pitches.

Also on the list is Glenside Campus, just above precious Grove Wood. Development here could provide 341 dwellings. The site is registered as a Historic Landscape as well as in a Conservation Area and a Wildlife Network Site. We would be concerned about the impact of development on Grove Wood and the wider area. Would there need to be new sewers in the woods that would result in lots of trees being chopped down that would basically destroy the woods, especially after we have fought so hard to save it?

As if all that wasn't enough, they also propose to build 85 dwelling on Snowdon Road open space off Small Lane. This is slightly outside our area of interest, but it adds to the greenspaces that make Stapleton so unique.

And we haven't even mentioned the plans for 213 dwellings on the St Matthias campus in Fishponds close to Oldbury Court.

If all of these plans happen, we could see the loss of three areas of greenspace and 1048 new dwellings in the area. Snuff Mills Action Group will only comment on these proposals with regard to their impact on the greenspaces of the area, but you can have your say because the proposals are now out for consultation. Have your say here:

You can view the full site allocations document here:

Path works about to start

The paths in Snuff Mills will be restored during the week of 26th July. The work is being done by contractors Greentrees through Bristol City Council who have all worked hard to ensure the paths can be made to the highest possible standard with the money available.

Not all of Snuff Mills will be accessible during the week of the work.

On Monday 26th July it will not be possible to cross Halfpenny Bridge to get to Oldbury Court because the path that gets flooded next to the bridge will be being fixed - If you want to get to Oldbury Court from Snuff Mills on Monday 26th July you will need to walk through Grove Wood on the other side of the river.

The upper and lower paths will be surfaced between Tuesday - Thursday and it should be possible to enjoy the valley but you won't be able to use the path that is being surfaced - It might be an idea to keep your dog on a lead while this work is taking place.

On Friday 30th July the footpath from the Mill to where the two paths split will be surfaced. It will not be possible to get to the valley from the Mill on that day. If you want to get in to the valley from the car park on Friday 30th July you can either visit Grove Wood on the opposite side of the valley or walk up in to Quarry Field and along the top of the valley by Ham Lane. We hope to have signs to guide you.

New benches for Snuff Mills - coming soon!

The new benches for Snuff Mills are in the final stages of making their way to the valley. They have been made specially for us by a company in Scotland, so it is taking a little longer than we had hoped for them to arrive.

A total of 11 new metal benches will be installed between the park entrance and Halfpenny Bridge thanks to the People's Millions lottery money and the kind sponsorship of many local people. Every single bench will be dedicated to someone who loved or loves the area.

The benches will be installed in more interesting places than the current ones so that visitors to the valley can sit in quieter spots not just next to paths. They will be installed by Snuff Mills Action Group volunteers with help from Bristol City Council. Because of this, it may take a little while for all of them to be installed.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Himalayan balsam pulling

This rather beautiful looking plant is called Himalayan Balsam. While it might look good it is a very invasive plant that grows like a triffid and it is choking up our riverbanks making them less good for wildlife. There is a lot of it along the River Frome in Snuff Mills and on the other side of the river from Oldbury Court.

We've organised a special event to pull up this weed from along the river bank on Sunday 18th July from 2-4pm. Meet in the garden and bring gloves if you have them.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Mutt strut video

A short film of the mutt strut and dog show by Richard Pring.