Forthcoming Events 2020

Following the easing of the restrictions relating to the coronavirus outbreak, we are now going ahead with the balsam pulls that had been arranged earlier in the year. Volunteers are asked to book in for the events, with a maximum of 6 people per event allowed. You must provide your own gloves and other protective equipment.

Please contact Secretary Anne Beardmore on 07748528354 to book.

Meeting on South Moorlands Leisure Centre main car park off Ashbourne Road

Cecilly Brook Balsam Pull Dates:

Thursday 9th July 6pm – 8pm

Sunday 16th August 10am – 3pm

Thursday 20th August 6pm – 8pm

Litter Pick

Monday 27th July 10am – 12 noon

Revealing the art installation

On Thursday 16th January 2020 volunteers from the Friends of Cecilly Brook and Hales Hall Pool set out to uncover the art work that was completed in 2007, but had become overgrown in recent years, so disappearing from view. The installation comprises a predator/prey labyrinth offering 2 routes to a raised stone area.

The installation is located between the brook and the path near to Oakamoor Road

After working for a short while a number of stones had been found

After 3 hours work the basic framework of the predator/prey labyrinth is visible

We are trying to find out more information about the installation. If anyone has any photographs or knows how the predator/prey game should be played please get in touch at cecillymill@btinternet.com

Water Vole Survey 2019

A survey was completed in July 2019 to look for evidence of water vole activity along Cecilly Brook.

Although there were no sightings of water voles there was evidence ot their activity in the form of latrines along the banks of the brook. The greatest concentration was found midway between Ashbourne Road and Oakamoor Road, with some more latrines in the section above the old JCB factory.

We are desperately trying to save our diminishing population of water voles which is under threat both nationally and locally from a variety of factors. We would like to keep disturbance of the voles to a minimum and ask dog owners to keep their dogs under close control and not let them into the brook.

Balsam Pulls 2019

The 4 balsam pulls in July and August proved to be very successful thanks to the regulars who turned out in rain and sun to tackle the ongoing problem of Himalayan Balsam.

The pulls have been going on for 5 years now and the cumulative effects are at last beginning to show with considerably less balsam in the section between Oakamoor Road and Ashbourne Road. This has allowed the group to spend more time on the area south of Ashbourne Road and here also there are signs that the regular pulls are working with less balsam in evidence.

The view in August 2019. 5 years ago the area next to the brook was full of Himalayan Balsam

There is still work to be done in controlling the balsam so dates for pulls next year will be published in the spring of 2020. Volunteers are always welcome. If you can help, look out for the dates on this web site.

Birds on the reserve

Over 30 different species of bird have been spotted over the winter on or near the Cecilly Brook reserve.

Look out for the following: Kingfisher, Goldfinch, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Willow Tit, Greenfinch, Wren, Nuthatch, Pheasant, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Redpoll, Siskin, Sparrowhawk, Blackcap, Buzzard

Members are hoping to take part in the National Willow Tit Survey 2019-2020 which runs from February to the middle of April.

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Although it is the second fastest declining species in the UK after the Turtle Dove and is a red listed species we are fortunate to have Willow Tits on the reserves.

January 2019 Work Party Review

On Monday 14th January 2019 the bird boxes along the brook were cleaned out and the new willow tit boxes that were made by members were put up.

90% of the existing boxes showed signs of being occupied the previous year.

The location of all of the boxes has now been mapped using GPS to improve monitoring of activity. Members of the group will check on activity at the boxes over next year’s breeding season.

Hales Hall Tidy Up 1st November 2018

Brambles are a valuable habitat for many species, but some of the brambles were encroaching on the paths around the pool and therefore needed to be cut back to ensure access is maintained across the site.
Grass was growing across the paths making them narrower. The grass was cleared from the sides of the paths to return them to their original width.
Many thanks to the volunteers who worked on the day.

Buffer Strip Management

Alongside the brook there is a buffer strip which links the brook with the adjacent amenity grassland. Each year one third of this area is strimmed and the material removed to keep the fertility of the soil low to encourage a range of wild flowers and grasses. This work is done on a 3 year rotation, with a different area cleared each year. This helps prevent the strip degenerating into scrub and provides a more diverse habitat to help support the local water vole population and other wildlife.

The above areas were amongst those cleared as part of the rotation in October 2018.

Birds on the reserve

Look out for willow tits which have been heard recently along the brook. Also look out for Redwings, Fieldfares, Siskins, Long Tailed Tits, Nuthatches and Kingfishers, as well as the normal garden birds you would expect to see in the winter.

Buzzards have nested near to the reserve and can often be seen soaring overhead.

It will soon be time to look out for this year’s Starling murmurations and winter migrants, especially at Hales Hall Pool.

Cheadle Angling Club spotted juvenile Oystercatchers flying around Hales Hall Pool (April 2018)