FRIENDS OF SILVER STREET-LNR

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THE FRIENDS OF SILVER STREET LOCAL NATURE RESERVE
Updated 20th September 2016

Welcome to the Friends of Silver Street Local Nature Reserve website. We hope there are some interesting and informative articles for you to read. If for any reason you consider that is not the case please do not hesitate to contact us and let us know your views. We are always pleased to receive comments from members of the public and we do read and take on board what ever you might have to say because we value your input and ideas.

You can email us just by clicking the email button and someone will get back to you as  soon as possible or alternatively you can use the contact form.

 

Message from the Chairman

I am sorry I have not posted any events, activities or articles for sometime but I have been ill and had several stays in hospital. I am gradually improving, getting stronger each day and nearly back to my old self. I'm also feeling a bit more enthusiastic towards the computer now, so I will endeavour to keep the website up to date. Since being away for several months, I was disappointed to discover I had not received any articles for publication. However we did recently have a visit from Sam Evans a young local musician who did make a recording of one of his songs.

 

CAR OUT ON CONTROL HITS OUR FENCE

We have suffered from a lot of vandalism during this time and still are on a regular basis but the Police don't seem that interested these days probably due to the cuts. I personally don't think it's worth reporting incidents to them due to the lack of interested shown. 


There was a road traffic accident that did substantial damage to our storage yard next to the main entrance. A car travelling at great speed up the hill in Silver Street hit the curb and lost control and mowed down the new light control boxes at the crossing and flattened our surrounding fence, which was only completed in August. Apparently the Police do have the culprit, we only hope he was insured? 


8th July 2016 - The insurance was sorted out and we now have the fence back in place. The work was carried out by volunteers from the Somerset & Dorset Heritage Railway Trust for which we thank them. So things are now back to normal regarding our storage area.

We still have our workdays every Saturday at 10.30 a.m. We have been keeping the paths clear of fallen leaves through the woodland and the public footpath. We have purchased a Power Wheeled Trimmer for the meadow, the footpaths across the meadow have been mowed and are now clearly defined.


The current job at the moment is extending the top path from the woodland into the meadow pass the Wild Cherry Trees as this section does get very muddy, this will also hopefully discourage people taking short cuts between these trees. The weather keeps stopping our progress with such a lot of rain when it is not wanted. However we did manage to fill in the path yesterday with hardcore and ballast, just the right number of volunteers turned up with their wheel barrows to complete the job, thank you to those who came we couldn't have done the job without you. 

 
 

The Friends group consists of a wide and varied selection of people from all walks of life all are extremely friendly. Some are retired people, others in full-time employment and some of the youngsters are still at school while others just want to be members including a few from overseas Australia and now Sweden they just want to support us because they believe in what we are trying to achieve here.  


The Friends group aims are based on the belief that the needs of this ancient woodland is of the utmost importance, for all it's wildlife and it's natural habitat, also the well being of us and the local community as we all need open green spaces. It's also nice to have them on your doorstep and not having to use our cars to get to them. The whole group are entirely committed and united in meeting those needs by working today for a brighter future.


The woodland, was once part of the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust, Midsomer Norton South Railway Station but the woodland area and the meadow did not fit into their overall plans for the future. They leased the whole site from The Bath & North East Somerset Council who own it. They approached the council and informed them they did not want the responsibility or upkeep of the woods and meadow. It was suggested by Shirley Steel now a retired Local Councillor that the two sites could be separated from each other and the woodland and meadow become a nature reserve. This was agreed and in 2005 the Silver Street Local Nature Reserve was formed.


In the beginning the Council to invited some of the local people of Midsomer Norton and local area to form a Conservation Group, who would run and look after the reserve for the future. The Friends of Silver Street.lnr was formed and we have been looking after the reserve ever since. But a few years ago we thought the group was just drifting along and not really achieving anything. We all agreed that something had to be done about it, so we became a constituted group with an elected committee voted for at our first Annual General Meeting 25th June 2012 at the Local Town Hall and we have not looked back since.


What we have achieved through our volunteers is there for all to see and we did appreciate the support given to us by the Bath & North East Somerset of Parks and Green Spaces. However due to the local cuts to local services they have withdrawn their support of the group. We also acknowledge the help and support given by our local Town Council of Midsomer Norton, who gave us £1,850.00 to restore the springhead and £560.00 for a notice board at the main entrance. The building work was completed last year, we have landscape the area and installed an information board with a brief history of the Springhead. The main entrance notice board was installed earlier in the year.

COMMITTEE MEETING HELD IN THE RESERVE

The committee do try and vary where we meet when having our  monthly meetings but unfortunately our climate does not always oblige so we cannot hold many of them in the reserve like this one. The meetings are always friendly, very enjoyable and well attend they are open to all members not just the committee, look out for the notices and keep the minutes which are sent to all members with email addresses.

Our meetings are usually held monthly in member's homes, it was nice to be able to hold this one in the nature reserve on such a warm summer's night, attending were from left to right Shirley Steel, Patricia Flagg, Lucy Corner, Steve Plumley, Lucy Edwards and James Edwards was taking the pictures making up the number who were available for this particular meeting.

 

THIS PLACE IS A TRUE GEM!

It was once said about our reserve "Silver Street Local Nature Reserve is a true gem" no, these are not our words. They just happen to be the words of the judges in their report when receiving our first Green Flag Award I suppose it was some consolation for missing out the previous year.

The reserve lies close to the southern edge of Midsomer Norton, next to the Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust, Midsomer Norton South Railway Station. Our entrance is on the downside of the hill, there is a road traffic sign showing the way into the reserve. The site is made up of an Ancient Woodland with a series of rising Springs, an old Stone Springhead, a Pond & Picnic area, both of which have been restored, there is also the meadow with an array of wild flowers, a great place for picnics on a hot summer's day.

With all the babbling springs, which have been channeled into the pond by way of culverts. However the surface rain water from the railway station and all the surrounding area of Silver Street was also running directly into the pond and as this water may be contaminated we dug another channel bypassing the pond and joined it up to the ponds overflow culvert then filled in where it originally joined the pond. Now it is up and running and has been working satisfactorily for a number of years.

The first picture shows the culvert of the main arising spring flowing into the pond, when this reaches a pre determined level it flows over the overflow into the a small stream (second picture). From here it joins the River Somer​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ 500 metres away.

 
THE MAIN ENTRANCE TO THE RESERVE IS IN SILVER STREET
QUITE STEEP FOR DISABLED ACCESS

These pictures show the main entrance to the nature reserve with our new noticeboard and railings for help with the steep incline. The building in the background is the Midsomer Norton South Railway Station. The council has installed a crossing here with traffic lights, because of the high rate of accidents that have occurred here. Now, the Nature Reserve is connected up to the Cycleway to Bath as it is directly opposite and we have installed bike racks for cyclists to lock their cycles up while they enjoy the reserve. 

Unfortunately our entrance with a slope like this as the first picture shows, will never really be classed as suitable access for the disabled with wheelchairs. A way in for some of the less disabled perhaps? I do think we should all be realistic about this, after all we do not have unlimited funds and the reserve is actually set into a very steep hillside so access here was always going to be an issue and one that cannot easily be overcome. We believe we have looked at the problem and hopefully have come up with the best solution possible bearing in mind the limited resources we are faced with. Perhaps you would consider joining us to help bolster our membership and funds?

The only way to avoid this incline altogether is by using Withies Lane, which begins off of Steam Mills & Redfield Road next to the Crossways Tavern. You will also find a place to park your vehicle here because there are usually several spaces available. At the moment we are trying to get the council to remove a barrier which denies disabled access  to the public footpath, they have said they would remove it, if a complaint from a wheelchair user was received. This path leads you to the reserve's Withies End entrance and than further along our Meeting Area entrance, the notice and interpretation boards are here. This is where we meet for all our events including the workdays which are every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. It is also really the main starting point for the nature reserve.