Litter picks

Monthly litter picks continue to take place along the brook. In January 10 bags of litter plus a shopping trolley, scooter, traffic cones and expanded polystyrene were removed from the brook and its surrounds. The February litter pick resulted in a further 5 bags of rubbish being removed, plus a cardboard box full of litter and a metal folding chair. Sheets of insulation material were also removed from the brook.

Litter picks take place every third Sunday of the month, meeting at 10am on the South Moorlands Leisure Centre car park off Ashbourne Road, Cheadle.

Why not join us and help look after your local nature reserve.

Work on footpath

Over the years the footpath along the reserve has become narrower as the grass has grown in from both sides.

On Thursday 14th October 2021, eight members of the Friends of Cecilly Brook and Hales Hall Pool spent the morning cutting back the grass on the section nearest to Oakamoor Road.

The path is now back to its original width and already many users of the path have made positive comments about the work done.

Volunteers are hoping to carry out similar work on other sections of the footpath in the future.

Great British September Clean

To coincide with the Keep Britain Tidy Great British September Clean volunteers did a litter pick along Cecilly Brook on Thursday 17th September 2020.

Eight bags of litter were removed from the reserve most of which was plastic bags, plastic bottles, drinks cans, and food and sweet wrappers. From the brook itself a shopping trolley, a large holdall, plastic bottles, glass bottles, plastic bags, drinks cans and wet wipes were removed.

After the storms of a few weeks ago sewage over flowed into the brook next to Oakamoor Road from a Combined Sewer Overflow that normally carries excess water in times of heavy rain. Lots of wet wipes, which do not degrade like toilet paper when flushed down the toilet, got trapped on the bars of the overflow and many found their way into the brook causing yet more pollution.

To help protect the waste water network, to stop clogging the system and ease flooding there is a campaign asking people to flush only the 3Ps: Pee, Poo and (toilet) Paper.

You can help do your bit to keep the reserve litter free by either binning or taking home your litter and only flushing the 3Ps.

Balsam Pulls 2020

2020 sees the seventh year of balsam pulls along Cecilly Brook. The group started upstream at Oakamoor Road and over the years have worked downstream. Our persistence has paid off as we are noticing much less balsam at the top end of the brook.

At the first pull this year 4 volunteers worked from Oakamoor Road to Ashbourne Road clearing most of the balsam. On the second 6 volunteers worked downstream from Ashbourne Road.

A further 2 pulls took place in August with balsam being removed from the banks of the brook between Oakamoor Road and Ashbourne Road.


Water Quality Testing

Earlier in the year the Friends of Cecilly Brook and Hales Hall Pool were invited to join the Waterside Care Project run by Keep Britain Tidy. Members of the group have recently been working with one of their project officers to look at ways of continuing to care for the brook and its environment.

Several members of the group met with the project officer to test the quality of the water in the brook. The water was tested for pH, phosphates, ammonia and water clarity. The results showed the brook to be healthy.

We intend to continue to monitor the health of the brook in the future by testing the water on a regular basis and to carry out freshwater invertebrate surveys looking at riverfly, which are a good indicator of the health of the brook.

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

Lucy Eames was instrumental in commissioning the art installation and way marker posts along the brook as part of a community arts project.

The intallation was completed in 2007 using local materials and metal work and was a collaboration between Ian Naylor, a local artist, and Hillary Cartmel, an artist based in South Yorkshire.

The piece was designed as a Predator/Prey racing maze, offering 2 possible routes, designed to allow 2 people of differing physical abilities to race to a common goal.

The metal work, built by Hillary, highlights the moon crater named after Mary Blagg, born in Cheadle in 1858.

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.