Thursday, 30 September 2010

Owl prowl

75 people joined us last night for our second owl prowl with naturalist Chris Sperring (pictured) . Luckily we were joined by two other owl experts which meant that the event could go ahead. Chris led us through the valley as far as Halfpenny Bridge where he stopped to call the owls. A female owl reponded straight away by screeching back, so we knew we were being watched.

We then split in to three groups to see if we could find other owls. One group went up towards Begbrook School because we have had reports of owls calling up there, but not last night. Another group went through Laundry Field and Grove Wood but did not hear owls rhere. The last group went through Oldbury Court and we heard the female owl again by Laundry Lane. It was great fun walking through the woods in the dark and everyone seemed to enjoy the event.

However, we were really sad not hear the twit-twoo of a male owl and we hope our screeching female finds a new mate soon.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Jafari in Court again

UPDATE (Sept): Jafari is now due to have his two days in court on 17th and 18th November. (Bristol Magistrates Court - behind the Bus Station.)

UPDATE (Aug): Jafari appeared in Court yesterday, but the case did not proceed because John Mair could not prove he was allowed to practice as a solicitor in England (he is apparently registered in Scotland). Jafari now wants a barrister to represent him.

While the container has been removed, the Council want to proceed with this case because it has only been removed 'temporarily' and they want to make sure that he does not pull a fast one and stick it back there when we aren't looking!


Original Post:
Mr Housang 'chopper' Jafari, landowner of Grove Wood, will be facing more charges at Bristol Magistrates Court for the next two days.

Exactly what these proceesings are about will not be revealed until the case starts, but Bristol City Council are involved, so we suspect it has something to do with Grove Wood. Perhaps it is about the fact that he did not remove the container when instructed, although two days seem quite a long time for such a matter.

If you fancy popping along, it's in Court 7 from 10am each day. We are uncertain if 'chopper' will be there, but no doubt his sidekick, sorry 'solicitor', John Mair will be representing him.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Freshen up the Frome

Help Freshen up the Frome on Friday 24th September
Volunteers from Deloitte will be clearing litter and coppicing small areas to improve habitat for wildlife,with support from Snuff Mills Action Group.

Please come along and lend us a hand!

Meet in Snuff Mills car park at 9am. Work will continue until 4pm but finish whenever you like.

All tools and materials provided.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Benches done!

After several weekends of hard work, Mark Logan and his helpers have installed the last of the eleven benches in Snuff Mills. These have been made possible through a mixture of lottery funding and donations from people who wanted to dedicate a bench to a loved one. Thanks to everyone that helped or who donated some money so we could have more benches than we'd planned.

They seem to be very popular too!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Tackling a problem

You might remember that a kingfisher was found tangled up in fishing tackle a few months ago. Over the weekend a member of of Snuff Mills Action Group retreived these little collection of discarded >tackle between the garden and Halfpenny Bridge along with 30 foot of nylon fishing line. We love the fact that anglers can spend time in the valley catching fish. It is meant to be one of the most relaxing things to do. We just wish the few fishermen who do not retrieve their tackle or fish under trees where line could get caught up would think of the other great fisherman of the valley - the beautiful kingfisher.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Stand up for Wickham Glen

Please help us stop a 3m (that's more than 9 feet) wide cyclists' expressway from ruining Wickham Glen forever. The Council's Cycling City Team say they want to build a ramp from Wickham Glen up to Broom Hill so that cyclists can get in to town more quickly and to enable better disabled access.

These are all good things of course, but the Cycling City Team have not taken in to account the unique character of Wickham Glen. It's a really beautiful spot next to the river between Eastville Park and Snuff Mills and has a long history dating back to the Civil War. It's not like a park but more like a bit of countryside in the city and Snuff Mills Action Group is strongly against it being covered in tarmac, spoiling this unique character.

We have objected to the planning application and urge you to send in statements objecting to the scheme too. Send your statement to by noon on September 14th. Please quote: Land adjacent to Frome Terrace, Blackberry Hill,Bristol(ref:10/02839/FB) in the subject field of your email.
It will then be considered by the South and East Development Control Committee of the Council the next day. In your statement you could argue that:

1) For cyclists there is a perfectly acceptable alternative to building a cyclists expressway through Wickham Glen by using Wickham Hill instead. This is a cul de sac with very litte traffic and it leads straight down to the river - it's already there so why throw more tarmac at the area?

2) A 3m wide tarmac ramp and path will spoil the unique character of the area which is part of the Stapleton Conservation Area and a wildlife site. A much narrower path surfaced with more appropriate materials would be more in keeping

In response to suggestions by Snuff Mills Action Group to reduce the width of the path or use Wickham Hill lane the Cycling City Team claim they are also trying to improve access for disabled people. We applaud this idea but have tested the proposals with 78 year old Ivor Needs and his son, Matt, who uses a wheelchair. They tell us this proposal will not help wheelchair users because:

1) It's a long ramp that leads up to Broom Hill and it needs level resting places otherwise it is too much of a long climb
2) The ramp will come out on Broom Hill higher up than the current exit on Frome Terrace. This means there is a steeper uphill climb to reach the ramp which would be difficult for wheelchair users
3) There is no provision for crossing Broom Hill which is a notorious accident blackspot and this scheme will endanger both wheelchair users and cyclists alike

Ivor does not see the need for a really wide path either. He believes a much narrower path will maintain the beauty of the area and discourage cyclists from speeding and encourage them to respect walkers. We also believes the path should exit on to Broom Hill by Frome Terrace following the line of the current footpath as this really would help wheelchair users and result in the loss of many less trees than the current plan.

You may be interested to know that we reached a compromise with Cycling City following a meeting on site a few weeks ago. They agreed a narrower path and other changes to the scheme, but then emailed us the following week to say this was no longer acceptable because of the needs of the 'disabled community'. A few of us in Snuff Mills Action Group work with people with disabilities and we have been very offended at the way the Cycling City team seem to have cynically used the needs of disabled users to promote what is really a road - but a road that just happens to be for cyclists.