Newsletter Masthead

No. 47 - September 2002 edition


In this Issue:

Cont ...

More Bulb Planting

Out and About

Beach Combing

A Garbage Vignette

Christmas 'At Home'

The Programme

Who's who


ALTHOUGH this may be the first part of the Newsletter that you read, you probably won't be surprised to learn that it's usually the last bit to be written. Sometimes I use it to squeeze in stuff that hasn't found a home elsewhere; sometimes there's a more general point that we need to make.

Neither is really the case this time - this is 'just another' Newsletter. I'm not by nature a pessimist, but I am usually aware that M.V.C.G. could always be doing more than we are. But I do find it encouraging to look at the range of things covered in this edition.

We are commenting - in a thoughtful and balanced way - on a major planning application (p.2); we are working with City Councillors and officers to help the Council do its work better (p.3); we are taking initiatives of our own to improve our patch (also p.3); we run enjoyable and 'educational' outings for our members (pp. 4 and 5); we continue with our 'direct action' garbage raids (p.6); and we manage to raise the funds to keep the show on the road in a painless and sociable way (also p.6). And that leaves out other regular work, like can recycling and working with a myriad of other groups. But it's still the case that we could do more - so if you think you would like to get involved, please get in touch.

One organisation we enjoy working with is the Dundry Hill Group, and their walk on 1 September included a detour to the lake at the former Wills office which was a revelation. Apart from a heron, and coots, and amazing dragonflies, the spectacular view of the building, even in its gaunt and dilapidated condition, was a reminder of how important it is. Most people see this building from the road, at speed, and register only the girders. Go and look at it, on its pedestal, straddling the lake and in its landscaped setting, and you will see why it is listed and why it must remain.



CONT ...

IN RECENT Newsletters there have been a number of reports which were clearly asking 'to be continued ...'. So here are the updates as of mid-September.



AS WE ARE ENJOYING nice autumn days, a few of us are already thinking of spring. We have all admired the show of daffodils at Elm Tree Corner, and at Bishopsworth Library and in front of Chestnut Court. All were planted by M.V.C.G. volunteers in the past three years.

So prepare your spades and trowels! This year we are planning to bring some extracolour to Withywood Park, by planting daffodils around some of the trees, and to the grass triangle at the road junction near the City of Bristol College in Hartcliffe.

If you can spare a couple of hours on Sunday 3 November and/or Saturday 9 November, please put these dates in your diary. See the Programme on page 7 for details of time and place. It is always an enjoyable occasion for all ages.




THE LAST Newsletter had a report of the excellent Herbal Walk in Manor Woods with Julia Green on 16 July. Here are some photos of that event, together with some pictures of the visit to the Alvis Brothers farm on 20 August which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

In the Manor Woods HerbariumIn the Manor Woods Herbarium

Greens are good for youGreens are good for you

Alvis motorsAlvis motors

Roaming in the gloaming



Roaming in the gloaming







ON 8 September eleven members met at Clevedon beach for a geology walk with Charles Copp. It was an event we requested following his excellent talk last winter. The main message of his talk then, reinforced and illustrated on the walk, was that we are part of an active and dynamic environment.

Getting the (continental) drift Geology controls where people build houses and roads - and, of course, supplies the materials with which they are built. Charles pointed out that the road leading to the beach is built on a fault line. The beach itself is constantly changing. This is partly due to very high tides, which can be up to 17 metres on occasions. But the beach has moved in another, more dramatic, sense. The rocks cover 200 million years of the earth's evolution, and the geology of the Severn Estuary began forming when what is now Clevedon was where Namibia is now

Each pebble, each rock on Clevedon beach has a story to tell, as it shows the marks of giant cataclysms or the remains of long-vanished animals. Charles introduced us to the fossilised remains of crinoids, sea creatures which he made more memorable as 'starfish on a stick'. We were shown dolomitic conglomerate which is made up of many minerals including barites, distinctive by its pink colour..

Getting the (continental) drift

Due to the vast tidal range it is difficult for many plants and animals to survive. This is aggravated by the fact that water from the Severn mixes with the sea water, so the salinity constantly changes. In spite of this there are many plants normally found in seaside habitats. We saw sea campion, valerian, and many varieties of seaweed - and we saw and tasted rock samphire! The bird population is considerable and includes gulls, oystercatchers, redshank, curlew, and shelducks. We were delighted to see a rock pipit join us for the talk.

A much closer inspection of the overhanging rocks near Clevedon Pier was made necessary by the sudden heavy rain, and some people withdrew to dryer cars, but the survivors finished off the short stroll across the beach. In a fascinating afternoon we had wandered just a couple of hundred yards, and several hundred million years.




SEASONED GARBAGE RAIDERS have seen it all before, but the recent stroll with the trolley around Symes Avenue on 2 September gave us just about the complete set of reactions ...

You, too, can spread delight and amusement around the BS13 area! See the Programme for Garbage Raid dates.


CHRISTMAS 'AT HOME': Saturday 23 November

THERE'S A NEW 'IMAGE' this year for our regular 'coffee event' - our annual fund-raising bash for M.V.C.G., the University of Withywood and the Wildlife Trust.

We've moved it to a Saturday, in the hope that this will suit more people, and it's closer to Christmas. We want to give it more of a Christmas 'feel', so it's got a new title as well. But what remains unchanged will be the availability of (a) coffee or tea and biscuits, (b) sociable company, (c) a wide range of Christmas cards and attractive things to buy for Christmas presents. So don't do all your Christmas shopping before 23 November, and make a note in your diary to come to 14 Queens Road any time between 11.00am and 1.00pm and 2.00pm and 6.00pm.

Suitable donations for the Bring and Buy and the Lucky Dip would be welcome, as would produce to sell, such as cakes, marmalade etc. Please ring Marie Jo on 964 3106 to deliver closer to the date, or bring things to the Bishopsworth Quiz on the 19th or our meeting on the 21st. Thank you!



OUR FIRST 'winter' season meeting is on 15 October, when the architect of Symes House - the much maligned Housing Office in Symes Avenue - will tell us how it came about. Not to be missed! Our regular meetings are on the third Tuesday of each month (except in November), starting at 7.30pm at St Peter's Rooms, which is by the side of St Peter's Church, Church Road, Bishopsworth. Everyone is welcome, M.V.C.G. member or not. In the list below, the symbol indicates an M.V.C.G. event, and we are always pleased to publicise events arranged by other local groups.


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, Don Bartlett, Brenda Docherty, Mavis Palmer, Jack Price

Co-opted Members

Tania Case, Valerie Gay, Peter Hall, Audrey Milton, Ted Thomas, Sue Walker, CSV Environment, Cllrs Bernard Chalmers, Peter Crispin, Richard Eddy, Royston Griffey, Ron Hodges, Colin Smith, 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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