Friday 7th December 10am-3pm: Scrub clearance

Through the efforts of a few enthusiastic volunteers on Thursday 11th October and Monday 22nd October a section of scrub was cleared from along the brook letting in light, with the aim of improving the habitat for the water voles and kingfishers.

Some of the areas of scrub are being retained to maintain a diversity of habitat, with species such as the willow tit and other nesting birds benefiting. But there is still more to do, so any time you can give on Friday 7th December would be greatly appreciated.

Please come along at 10am to South Moorlands Leisure Centre main car park off Ashbourne Road. Everyone welcome.

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)

Water vole survey 2018

A number of people have recently said that they have not seen any water voles in the brook.

However there is evidence of water vole burrows and latrines in the section between Ashbourne Road and Oakamoor Road. A recent survey in the summer of 2018 has located 11 latrines in this section with a further 5 in the area behind Ullswater Drive.  A number of  water voles have been seen by members, particularly in the middle section of the reserve. Unfortunately there has been no evidence of water vole activity south of Ashbourne Road.

As part of the planning application for the old JCB site a survey also recorded the presence of water voles in this area.