Join us on our monthly conservation work parties or learn about the wildlife and history of the woods on a guided walk.

Join a volunteering session

Come with us on a walk around St Anne’s Woods or Nightingale Valley, and (depending on the season) we’ll be litter-picking, bramble bashing, or pulling up invasive Himalayan Balsam.

No experience necessary, and tools will be provided.

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Litter picking

Litter picks are done all year round to keep the woods and the Brook tidy. We provide litter pickers and rubbish bags, but please bring your own gardening gloves.

Volunteer work parties

Once a month we run volunteer work parties to help conserve the woods.

Bramble bashing

Bramble advances rapidly and can spill over across footpaths and meadow areas. In the winter, we cut it back to limit the spread. Bramble shouldn’t be removed in the spring and summer as it’s an excellent nesting area for many small birds.

Himalayan balsam removal

Balsam is an invasive species that was introduced to the UK in 1839. It grows incredibly fast and can become taller than a person. In summer, their seed pods explode open and hurl their 800 seeds up to 7m away from the parent plant, spreading the problem even further. Balsam shades out our native plants, leading to a monoculture. The floating seeds can travel huge distances down waterways like the Brislington Brook, so you often see huge stands of plants on the soft river banks.

Balsam can be identified by its bright pink flowers and hollow, reddish brittle stems. The entire plant must be removed otherwise it can grow back quickly. Thankfully, balsam is very easy to pull out of the ground so it’s a task suitable for lots of people. The seeds can remain viable for two years, so conservation work has to be repeated to eradicate the plant in a certain area. The plants first become visible in March-April and must be removed before their seeds set in mid-July. Plants with ripe seed pods should not be touched as their removal could spread the seeds to new locations.

It’s not all hard work! Some of our previous fun events include:

  • Owl prowl
  • Evening bat walk
  • Dawn chorus walk
  • St Anne’s history walk

A look ahead

If you’d like to know what we have planned for the year, check out our calendar below.

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