Saltford Environment Group
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You can find more news lower down this page & in our News Archive.
New River Avon Trail information board in Saltford
The Avon Frome Partnership erected a new River Avon Trail information board at the western end of Mead Lane in Saltford (see photograph) on 20th April. The board includes information and images on the historical significance of this section of the River Avon from information published by SEG's History of Saltford project.
Managed by the Avon Frome Partnership, the River Avon Trail runs from Pill in North Somerset to Pulteney Bridge, Bath. The trail's total length is about 23 miles and incorporates a series of individual walks, some circular, on the paths along or near the river. Further information about the trail can be found on the River Avon Trail website at www.riveravontrail.org.uk - downloadable walks (including circular walks) can be found in the "Resources" section of the website.
Appreciating Saltford's ecology
With spring now well advanced and summer approaching, we become increasingly aware that our gardens and the countryside surrounding Saltford support a fascinating variety of wildlife that is so essential for maintaining nature's balance and providing a natural beauty that is a pleasure to behold.
Our wildlife page has a huge range of information, advice, tips and links to other information providers to help you gain a better knowledge and understanding of the natural world that we enjoy here in Saltford and to enable you to play a part, however small, in supporting the provision of wildlife friendly habitat.
From our list of the bird species regularly observed locally (with a link to their individual ID page on the RSPB website) and the butterflies that occur in Saltford, to trees that are ecologically appropriate to our village, rare and important plants, or advice on identifying non-native invasive plants found in Saltford, our wildlife page has something of interest for everyone. Check it out from this link: wildlife page >>.
Getting directly involved with habitat restoration: If you want to help restore some of our local habitat, SEG is looking for a new volunteer to be our railway path habitat restoration project coordinator as our existing coordinator, who did a great job getting things organised, has had to step down due to other commitments. This local project has seen some notable successes:
The area needs some concerted effort over the next 2-3 years to prevent the area from reverting back to scrub and trees: obscuring views and shading some of the rare sun-loving plants that have so recently returned. This work is likely to involve:
This is a great opportunity for someone with good organisational skills to help deliver a really exciting project: restoring a rare and beautiful habitat and bringing members of the community together through fun, practical activities.
No prior experience of wildlife conservation projects is required and there will be plenty of opportunities to learn more about the rare and beautiful plants and animals which would otherwise disappear from our area, to make new friends and learn new skills along the way. We are looking for someone with a can-do attitude and the enthusiasm to engage with volunteers and provide more of a social side to this worthwhile activity.
If this opportunity to manage and develop a small yet interesting and local outdoor project appeals to you, to express an interest please contact our Vice-Chairman Chris Warren (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
The project has its own webpage: link >>
Saltford Conservation Area consultation (5 June - 14 July)
B&NES Council is undertaking a review of the 35 Conservation Areas in the District in line with the latest guidance from Historic England. Eventually, the Council will have a 'Conservation Area Appraisal' for each of its designated areas.
The Appraisals define the Conservation Area boundaries and analyse the special architectural and historic interest of the area. They identify specific features which contribute towards an area's character, such as: historic buildings and buildings which are locally significant, important green and open spaces, significant views, natural elements such as trees and waterways, and features which help make an area locally distinct.
The consultation by B&NES Council on the draft "Saltford Conservation Area Boundary Character Appraisal and Management Proposals" will be held from 5 June - 14 July. This will include a drop-in event at St Mary's Church Hall on Weds 7th June from 12 noon to 8pm.
The draft proposals document is likely to be posted on the B&NES Council website in June. Any queries about this consultation should be addressed to B&NES Council (Email: email@example.com Tel: 01225--477083). SEG will update this news item when we learn more. The Conservation Areas web page on the B&NES website can be found from this link.
B&NES Draft WaterSpace Study and proposals affecting Saltford
The River Avon corridor is undergoing significant redevelopment of brownfield sites, and is the focus for major new development in Bath. The WaterSpace project launched by B&NES Council in March 2015 has gathered data, mapped information, and generated ideas to work with the community and public, private and voluntary bodies to identify 35 projects and project ideas to revitalise the waterways.
Projects incorporating a range of proposals for three areas of Saltford are:
There is also a proposal for a new access road (and bridge across the river) to the Wessex Water sewage treatment works to connect the site to the A431.
Comments are sought on the draft study report online between 6th April 2017 and 22nd May 2017. The draft report can be found on the B&NES website from this link: WaterSpace Study.
2017 Big Garden Birdwatch results: House Sparrow remains top
Over 8 million birds were counted in the 2017 Big Garden Birdwatch held on the weekend of 28/29 January. The top ten most commonly observed birds across the UK were (2016 position in brackets):-
1. House Sparrow (1)
This year saw an increase in the numbers of birds visiting gardens. The RSPB say that regularly feeding the birds has a big positive impact, as well as other actions such as putting up a nest box or gardening with nature in mind. They wish to thank everyone who is giving nature a home in their garden: with more birds visiting gardens this year, there's a reward for your efforts.
This year's Big Garden Birdwatch saw a downturn in sightings of Blue Tits, Great Tits and Coal Tits - all down by at least 10% on last year's figures. The weather during the breeding season can have a big impact on these small birds. Last year's prolonged wet spell meant there were fewer caterpillars about for feeding their young. It's likely that this led to fewer younger birds surviving than usual, meaning there were fewer seen in gardens.
You can see the 2017 Big Garden Birdwatch results on the RSPB website from this link: Big Garden Birdwatch. If you are interested in learning more about the birds that are regularly observed in Saltford, these are listed on the right hand side of our wildlife page and each bird species listed is a link to full details on the RSPB website.
Information source: RSPB
Future SEG website development - can you help?
Our website has become a very popular resource for our members and others, with over 2,000 unique visitors per month, typically opening over 5,000 pages. Using a relatively simple design and basic html approach, it has grown organically since 2011 into an extensive library of articles, themes, links etc.
Thinking of our ongoing ability to maintain and develop our website we are looking for someone who could give some time to support our Chairman Phil Harding with the html website in the short term, and potentially help us to transfer the site across to a new system such as WordPress in the future, as well as maintaining and developing our presence on social media. Do you have the relevant experience, interest and time to get involved? If so, please get in touch with our Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk further. You'll be at the heart of SEG's activities and a valued member of our team of volunteers.
Newsletter - a move to something more flexible
The popularity and success of our website has made us realise that having a monthly newsletter might not be the most time-effective way to make sure you can access the information you want. All news articles appear on the website front page, as an open and ongoing newsletter, so we are planning to move away from a rigid practice of issuing newsletters every month. You can take a monthly or more regular dive into the website whenever it suits you.
We are grateful for suggested website contributions we receive from members and we of course continue to welcome those from you. When we do have particular news, for example on issues affecting Saltford's Green Belt or our campaigns, we will still email you, and we'll send occasional news alerts or newsletters.
Our April newsletter will be our last newsletter in the monthly format, but we look forward to keeping in touch. Please contact our Secretary Debbie Cini at email@example.com with your comments on this, or any input for the website.
Your photographs of Saltford
Don't forget to submit your Saltford photographs (themes: people, landscape, historical, fun, and/or events) to Saltford Community Association for consideration for the exhibition at the festival and the 2018 Saltford Calendar. This is free to enter for amateur photographers with prizes for "Young photographer" and "Comedy photo".
Entries should be jpeg files (up to 10Mb) and sent to John Davies email firstname.lastname@example.org (tel: 01225--344976) by no later than Monday 8th May.
Next Wombles litter pick (8 April)
The next Saltford Wombles' litter-pick will be on Saturday 8th April (meet 9.30am at The Little Coffee Shop, Manor Road) - weather permitting. New participants are always welcome so if you haven't taken part in one of our litter-picks before, why not come along and see how satisfying it is to clear away unsightly litter?
If you want to get involved with Saltford Wombles contact Julie Sampson by email to: email@example.com or tel: 01225--874603 or 07807--671--267.
Get Ready for Easter the Upcyling Way (13 April)
Following our Upcycling Craft Group's Easter theme we will be polishing up the nests and rabbit jars we made in March. We all enjoy creating and as a group welcome any other ideas you may have and would like to try out. Look us up on our Facebook page, 'Make it Magic' to add your ideas and thoughts, or ring Frances so we can communicate everything to the group. Don't worry if you haven't got the basics like glue etc. as we always have a supply and all share what we have and skills.
Everyone welcome just come along on Thursday April 13th (NOTE CHANGE OF DATE), 7 - 9pm at Signs of Saltford workshop, 559 Bath Road, Saltford. Look us up on our Facebook page 'Make it Magic' to see the kind of things we do. If you would like to find out more, have a chat with Frances on 07789--528834. Frances and Tina are looking forward to meeting you.
The parasitic Toothwort flowering in Saltford
We apologise that we have been unable to provide a photograph of this interesting plant for this article but it is easy to find on the web with a search for Lathraea squamaria.
Most plants generate their food using the energy from sunlight, and this ability is unique to plants; no animals or fungi can make food. A number of plants are semi-parasitic, photosynthesising some of their own food but taking the rest from other plants; Mistletoe (Viscum album) is an example conspicuous in Saltford. A special few have lost all ability to make their own food, feeding like fungi. Also like fungi, they can be invisible above ground for 11 months of the year; but most fully parasitic plants flower and set seed, briefly, in the open air. Coming across such plants' anaemically pale above-ground parts can be an exciting moment.
The most notorious British fully parasitic plant is Ghost Orchid (Epipogium aphyllum), which can go for decades without being seen anywhere in the country. More predictable in its appearance, but still a special find in most places, is Toothwort (Lathraea squamaria), a relative of foxgloves and toadflaxes. Toothwort is locally distributed in lowland Britain, being rather scarce in our area: the 2000 Flora of the Bristol region traced records from only 72 (of the approx. 1500) 1km squares in the former county of Avon.
Many years can pass between its appearances in Saltford. This year, 2017, several clumps have come up in Saltford Mead, in the large field beside the River Avon on the Saltford bank immediately upstream of Swineford Lock (i.e., the third field downstream from the Jolly Sailor). These plants can be viewed from the public footpath along the bank, growing under the row of trees planted in the mid 1980s. The spikes grow straight out of the ground up to about six to eight inches high; at this time of year (early spring) there is little other fresh vegetation at this height. This, combined with the spikes' denture-like appearance, renders them conspicuous.
There are no confusion species: the only close relative growing in Britain, the introduced Purple Toothwort (Lathraea clandestina), looks very different. Photographs of both can be found readily on the internet; search using the scientific name Lathraea to avoid confusion with the unrelated American plant Cut-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata), a close relative of various British species here called bittercresses.
Toothwort is most associated with Hazel (Corylus avellana). Surprisingly, although there are some Hazels in this strip of trees, the Toothwort clumps are not close to large Hazels. Either, they are tapping into the roots of other species, or Toothwort roots spread a long distance through the soil. Please do not attempt to find out; it is illegal to dig out Toothwort in England without the landowner's permission.
British Toothwort flowers remain at their gruesome best only briefly. Anyone wishing to view these plants should not delay a visit.
Article by Will Duckworth.
Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 30th April
If you are able to get yourself up early, why not join our friends at the Keynsham and Saltford Branch of the Avon Wildlife Trust for a few hours listening to, and watching the birds get up after a night's roosting? This year's Dawn Chorus will be held on Sunday 30th April 4.30am - 8.00am, starting at Saltford Shallows car park.
This really is a great way to learn how to identify from their songs the many birds that are found in Saltford. Songs of all common species will be pointed out and their identification features clarified. The walk will follow the railway path cycle track towards Bath, and back again along the river. Wrap up warm as it can be very cold that early. Binoculars and a bird identification guide will be helpful for once it gets light. Above all you need good ears to be able to pick out the 30+ different species the annual walk normally finds! A hot flask of your favourite beverage is recommended.
For further information and to confirm your attendance, contact Dave Sage on mobile 07899--716068 the week before the event.
Festival of Nature, 8 - 25 June
Established in 2003, the Festival of Nature is the UK's biggest free celebration of the natural world. The Festival began as a two-day showcase of interactive activities and live entertainment across Bristol's Harbourside, and in recent years has grown to include an ever-expanding programme of events across the city and region throughout the summer. Festival of Nature now includes free flagship family events in Bristol, Keynsham and Bath, as well as a range of fringe activity across the West of England.
More information can be found online at www.festivalofnature.org.uk.
New parking restrictions for Saltford
B&NES Council has prepared an order under provisions contained in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, the effect of which will introduce variations to restrictions in Keynsham and Saltford.
For Saltford this is to introduce no parking at any time in lengths of Beech Road, Manor Road, Tyning Road and Rodney Road and the removal of no parking at any time in lengths of Manor Road.
According to B&NES the "order will come into operation on 30th March 2017 and a copy, together with a map and a Statement of the Council's Reasons for making the order may be inspected at The One Stop Shops at Manvers Street, Bath, The Hollies, Midsomer Norton and at the Civic Centre, Market Walk, Keynsham during normal office hours."
"Any person who desires to question the validity of, or any provision contained in the order on the grounds that it is not within the powers of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, or on the grounds that any of the relevant requirements of that Act has not been complied with in relation to the order, may within six weeks after the date on which the order was made, apply to the High Court for this purpose."
A4 traffic through Saltford down 12%
There has been a drop of 12% in the total number of vehicles travelling on the A4 Bath Road since the peak of 2002.
Traffic count data from B&NES Council of the weekday average total number of vehicles in 24 hours on the A4 at Saltford from 1998 to 2016 was made known at the Saltford Parish Council meeting on 7th March. The data is shown below.
Very little traffic passes along the A4 between 8pm in the evening and 6am in the morning. Not surprisingly, traffic volumes normally peak daily between 7am and 8am and between 4pm and 6pm. On Fridays the morning traffic builds up more slowly.
A4 Bath Rd, volumetric 24 hr, 5-day average
Both directions combined.
Mayoral Candidate backs the reopening of Saltford station
West of England Regional Mayoral Candidate Stephen Williams (Lib Dem, formerly MP for Bristol West and coalition government minister) visited Saltford on 6th March 2017 to discuss his backing for the reopening of railway station at Saltford as part of the MetroWest project. He is pictured here (centre) at Saltford station site with Chairman of Saltford Parish Council and station campaign leader Chris Warren (left) and Adrian Betts (right), Chairman of Saltford Parish Council's Planning Committee.
Saltford Photo Exhibition
Saltford Community Association is inviting all local residents to participate in the photo exhibition for the 2017 Saltford Village Festival that is being held in June. This is free to enter for amateur photographers with prizes for "Young photographer" and "Comedy photo".
Photographs must be taken in Saltford and suitable photographs will also be considered for the 2018 Saltford calendar. Entries can cover one or more of these themes:
Entries should be jpeg files (up to 10Mb) and sent to John Davies email firstname.lastname@example.org (tel: 01225--344976) by no later than Monday 8th May.
Older news stories from SEG
Our 'Newsletter' page is an archive featuring some of our past and recently published news stories. Click here to see >>
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