Newsletter Masthead

No. 35 - September 2000 edition

In this Issue:

News from the Recycling Team

Glorious Mud

News from the Hill

Path Finders

Brook Farm

Coffee Time is Here Again

The Programme

A Road Recycled

Who's who


OH DEAR, late again - though at least this Newsletter is being written in September even though you're not seeing it until early October. Where does the time go?

Well, a lot of it this summer has gone on Manor Woods in one shape or form - marketing My Manor Woods Book (including two interviews on Radio Bristol); the Amphibious Garbage Raid (see page 3); the path clearance (page 4). But there's no shortage of other issues and projects to keep us busy; and the shortening of the evenings is a cue not just for the regular programme of meetings to begin again (see page 7) but also for work to restart on 'Elm Tree Corner'.

We will be planting, jointly with the City Council, a disease-resistant elm tree in front of the 'Elm Tree' pub, and we will be planting bulbs at Elm Tree Corner and elsewhere in our area. It may be that the date(s) for the elm tree and bulb planting will be before we can announce them in the November Newsletter, so if you'd like to be involved, get the latest information at meetings or give me a ring. We'll also be rewriting our report and recommendations for other improvements at Elm Tree Corner in the light of the replies received to our questionnaire and then taking up these longer-term ideas with the relevant City Council people. Volunteers are always welcome for this sort of slow but steady project work!

And a new project arrived unexpectedly in August in the shape of consultation and proposals for the former line of the Ring Road through Withywood. You can read about it on page 8, and you can see a copy of the consultants' report at meetings if you are interested.




THANK YOU to all our members and friends who regularly bring us cans. Some people save them after use in their household. Others have told their friends and neighbours. And there are several people who never go out without a bag and collect cans from pavements and open spaces (one friend of ours collects them on the train on his way home from work). With all this hard work, we have already made more than £50 for M.V.C.G. funds since January. At between 36p and 40p per kilo, that means a lot of cans, less waste and a way of financing projects to help our local environment. Please keep collecting! You can deliver to 14 Queens Road, Bishopsworth, or ring us on 964 3106 and we'll collect.

Recycle symbol

THOSE WHO CAME to the meeting in St Peter's Rooms on 16 May will remember that Jude Andrews told us about the Recycling Consortium. One aspect of their work is to encourage people to recycle their garden waste. This can be done in various ways. Some of us will have become expert at managing their compost heap. If you have lots of trees and shrubs, a shredder is an invaluable piece of equipment. A heap of prunings is soon turned into excellent mulch. However, if you do not have a machine, or if, with the enormous amount of growth we have had this year, you cannot cope with the amount your secateurs have produced, help is at hand. At the main 'Civic Amenity Site' (the tip, to you and me) at Days Road, St Philips, there is a skip for green waste. If you are going that way (don't make a special journey!), you can deposit prunings, grass cuttings, dead shrubs you have removed etc. This is then processed and turned into compost for use by the Council's gardeners. Perhaps one day this facility will be available nearer to home ...



DOES ANYONE REMEMBER the Flanders and Swann song (no, not The Hippopotamus) about a society whose aim was to put old brass bedsteads in ponds? As a downbeat branch of this society is flourishing in Bishopsworth, an intrepid band of M.V.C.G. members set out one Sunday morning to frustrate their efforts. This year we did not take the inflatable due to the high level of silt in the pond but were armed with an ingenious grappling hook made for the occasion by Norman Shaddick. It was a beautiful morning and we were distracted from time to time by the sight of ducks, moorhens with chicks and brilliant damselflies.

In a fairly short time André and Don had cleared the obvious crates and bits of board and started fishing in the depths. After struggling with a pallet, they really struck gold when they hooked a car seat. Most of the group were mud spattered by the time we had landed this prize. We attracted some interest from passers-by but, while complimentary about our efforts, no one offered assistance.

While the mud fishing was going on, Lis, Lola and Mary were clearing up the debris left in the pond area by recent floods. In less than two hours our stalwart trolley was overflowing so we staggered back to the road where André nobly loaded the bulk of the garbage, including the car seat, into his car for transportation to the tip, while the awkward shaped objects were deposited by Mary's dustbin. Everyone then went home for a shower.

It is amazing how much can be collected in a short time, and I would urge everyone who can to support our garbage raids. If you don't fancy Malago mud, our monthly sorties are equally rewarding. Details are given in the programme.




WELL, from Withywood School, actually, where the Dundry Hill Group office is now based (phone number still 935 9710). Barbra Wharton is back, working part-time. Eleanor Davis, who stood in while Barbra was on maternity leave, is happily still here, now working on CSV Environment's Schools Grounds Project. And D.H.G. now has a website at



We reported in the last Newsletter that there would be a concerted attack to re-open the path in Manor Woods between the dam and the interceptor. This duly took place on 8 August, with a team from the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers assisted by M.V.C.G. members. Extra assistance was provided, somewhat to her surprise, by Anne Marie, Marie Jo's sister, who was visiting from France. This is her report (translated by Marie Jo) ...

ON A VISIT to Bristol in August, I went with my sister for a stroll in Manor Woods. On that morning, a group of voluntary workers from B.T.C.V. and M.V.C.G. were busy clearing a path along the Malago which had become overgrown with brambles and other plants.

We couldn't just watch - and without expecting it I found myself armed with gloves and a pair of shears. It was rather a 'thorny' job.

I had come for a holiday, but the next time, whatever the country, it's a good idea to put some working clothes in your suitcase, because there is always a job to do to help protect green spaces such as Bristol's Manor Woods.

'Bon courage' to M.V.C.G.. May this open space in the heart of the city continue as a haven for animals and plants. Keep using this beautiful path!


Also visiting that day was the South Bristol Observer, who put a photo on their front page. Anne Marie is wearing the rather splendid tee-shirt with grizzly bears on it.

Photo from 'South Bristol Observer'

South Bristol Observer 11 August 2000



WE ARE DELIGHTED to report that the currently sadly derelict farmhouse on Whitchurch Road behind the former Esso filling station may be in line for some additional protection.

Following a suggestion from us, Kingsley Fulbrook, the City Council Conservation Officer, included it in a review of conservation area boundaries and recommended that the Bishopsworth & Malago Conservation Area be modified to include the farmhouse. His paper went to the Executive Member for Environment, Transport and Leisure, Cllr Helen Holland, who agreed that consultation on this boundary extension should go ahead. If confirmed, this will mean that specific permission would be needed if a developer wanted to demolish the farmhouse.




AS USUAL, autumn brings our annual COFFEE DAY, held to raise money for three fine organisations: the Wildlife Trust, the University of Withywood - and Malago Valley Conservation Group.

This year, the event will be on Thursday 2 November and it will be held at Lola Hardingham's at 84 King George's Road between 2.00pm and 6.00pm.

We'd be very grateful for donations for the Bring & Buy, the Lucky Dip, or for produce to sell such as plants, cakes, jam etc. Please bring any items to the 17 October meeting, or ring Lola on 964 1116 or Marie Jo on 964 3106 to deliver closer to the date.

Everyone is invited. It's a chance to chat, to get your Christmas presents, and to support some good causes. The Wildlife Trust stall will have an excellent range of gifts for all ages.

Make a note in your diary now, and come along on 2 November. Bring a friend (and plenty of money, of course).



HIGHRIDGE INFANT SCHOOL - who are one of M.V.C.G.'s much appreciated corporate members - are holding their AUTUMN FAIR on Saturday 4 November at the school (Ellfield Close). They would be particularly pleased to see any former pupils who would be very welcome for a chat and a cup of coffee. The Highridge Infant School Autumn Fair is from 10.00am to 12 noon.



AS USUAL we are very happy to publicise other groups' events as well as our own. Dundry Hill Group (DHG) have plenty on offer, and our regular Tuesday meetings (except November - see below) are at 7.30pm at St Peter's Rooms by St Peter's Church), Bishopsworth. The symbol indicates our own events.

Tuesday 10 October: Dundry Hill Group meeting at 7.30pm at Norton Malreward Village Hall (this is the regular 'business' meeting - all are welcome).

Tuesday 17 October: The Dundry Hill Spring Project. DEBORAH JONES, the artist, will describe how the scheme evolved and was implemented.

Monday 30 October: Garbage Raid. Meet at 3.45pm at Withywood Post Office.

Thursday 2 November: Coffee Day to raise money for M.V.C.G., the University of Withywood and the Wildlife Trust. 2.00-6.00pm at 84 King George's Road (see above).

Sunday 5 November: Walk around Winford, birthplace of William Winford. Meet at 10.00am for a 12 noon return. If there is a service, do not park outside the church (DHG).

Tuesday 14 November: Dundry Hill Group A.G.M. 7.30pm at Dundry Village Hall.

Tuesday 21 November: The annual Bishopsworth Quiz at 7.30pm at the Royal British Legion, Bishopsworth. M.V.C.G. will have a team, and if you'd like to come along as supporters, please let André have your names.

Thursday 23 November: NICK BARKER of Alvis Cheese Farm will talk about their environmental work. Please note the change from the usual Tuesday because of the Bishopsworth Quiz. We will also have a Bring and Buy for M.V.C.G. funds - please bring whatever you can.

Monday 27 November: Garbage Raid. Meet at 3.45pm at the 'Elm Tree'.

Sunday 3 December: Christmas Walk and Lunch. Meet Winford Church 10.00am, lunch at the Dundry Inn (DHG).

Tuesday 19 December: M.V.C.G.'s Christmas Extravaganza. Can the Programme Group top last year's triumph? Should they try? More details in the next Newsletter (or on the night ...).



THE STRETCH of tatty grass from Queens Road (opposite the 'Queen's Head') to the Gatehouse Centre on Hareclive Road was the reserved line of the Ring Road until the Council decided to abandon the idea in December 1998. Most of this land comes under the Housing and Neighbourhood Services directorate of the Council and they have now employed consultants to recommend what should be done with the land.

An exhibition and consultation exercise was held in August. We sent a letter, though the initial deadline for comments was very tight. The consultants have now recommended a way forward, involving building some houses and flats on the current caravan sales site and the old playing field of the former Redhouse School. There would be a cycle path from Queens Road to Hareclive Road, pedestrian routes across the open space and landscaping and planting.

Our view so far is that we are not against some building in the context of an overall plan for the area; we want a separate cycle and pedestrian path; and we will press for the wildlife value of the site to be recognised and safeguarded. We are pleased to hear that further consultation is planned, though it probably won't come as a surprise to learn that everything is based on the availability of money. If you have any ideas for this important area, please let me know.



Malago Valley Conservation Group


André Coutanche

964 3106


Lola Hardingham

964 1116

Hon. Secretary

Lis Pibworth

987 0825

Hon. Treasurer Beryl Heaton

964 5780

Committee Members

Anton Bantock, Brenda Docherty, Royston Griffey, John Taylor.

Co-opted Members

Don Bartlett, Tania Case, Eleanor Davis, Peter Hall, Anne King, Audrey Milton, Paul Stephens, Ted Thomas, Sue Walker, Cllrs Bernard Chalmers, Tessa Coombes, Peter Crispin, Richard Eddy, Ron Hodges, Dave Johson, Mary Sykes (All the City councillors for Bishopsworth, Hartcliffe and Whitchurch Park wards are invited to become co-opted Committee members).

Newsletter edited by André Coutanche, 14 Queens Road, Bishopsworth, Bristol, BS13 8LB; telephone 964 3106; e-mail; web address Letters, articles and suggestions from readers are welcome. The opinions expressed in this Newsletter do not necessarily represent those of M.V.C.G.


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