Background of FBNR The Friends have been active for many years with their main activities centred around the preservation of the valuable heathland habitat of our local Broadstone Nature Reserve which is under constant threat from encroaching woodland. 'Broadstone Heath' as it is called by The Borough of Poole, is protected by The Countryside Act of 1949 and managed as a 'Local Nature Reserve'. It is owned by the Borough having been gifted to the council by the original landowner many years ago. It consists of 10.8 hectares (24.3 acres). The reserve lies at the heart of the village, close to the cricket ground and play area near the end of Charborough Road where there is a small car park (see map in 'photographs section below). The reserve is well used as a pleasant area to stroll and walk dogs with all weather paths around the main heathland areas. The main object of our work parties is to prevent the open heath areas reverting to woodland so we are continually removing young trees from these parts. Our work parties run between late September and the middle of March the following year ,usually on one Sunday morning each month. We are all volunteers and work under the guidance of the Borough of Poole Rangers. Our activities although purposeful are enjoyable and include socializing within our small group. In the summer we normally have the occasional social get-together which usually includes a short walk. For many years we were under the chairmanship of Dudley Hull but due to ill health Dudley passed the baton to our current leader Dave Evans. Sadly Dudley passed away early in June 2014. We owe him a great deal for his knowledgable support over many years.
Current plans and work undertaken: Each year we plan our activities for the coming season including dates for work parties and occasional social events. Work is undertaken between October and March to avoid disturbing nesting birds and when there is a minimum of seasonal vegetation. We have received guidance from Terry Elborn of Poole Borough Council as to where in the reserve we should concentrate our efforts in order to focus on the current priorities. We hold work parties on the second Sunday in the months of October to March inclusive between 9.30 am and 12.00 noon (our volunteers work as long as they want within these times and only on the dates they decide to partake). We meet by the play park at 9.30 and, whilst there is no need to advise expected attendance in advance, this would be helpful if at all possible. In the event of adverse weather conditions the session will be cancelled but we leave individuals to decide on the day whether they wish to attend in the light of evident weather conditions.
We have now completed our work for the 2018/19 season. It had been decided that we would focus on the open heath to the left of the path leading to Westcroft Park (i.e. if walking up from the cricket ground fork left at the play area). This is an area where we have worked a lot in the past but further tree encroachment was again evident with the area of heathland being squeezed from all directions! Virtually all of this work was completed by March 2019 thanks to the hard work of our small group of 'volunteers'.
Future work party dates etc: 2019/20 Season-dates are normally on the second Sunday-October to March inclusive. Any variation of dates will be referred to here. In November it has become the 'norm' to meet on the third Sunday to avoid clashing with Remembrance Sunday. We meet by the play area up the path from the cricket ground. There was a review in the early autumn with Terry of Poole Borough to see where our focus for this coming season will be. There will be 2 main areas of focus; one the normal clearance of young birch trees in an otherwise open area on a slope above the small stream. Secondly we will return to an isolated area (like a sanctuary for nature and wildlife) hidden away from the main path leading from the childrens play area to the sports fields off Lower Blandford Road. Here we will clear some very high gorse that is shutting out light and visibility from outside the area.
Wildlife: In Summer 2018: Nightjars had been heard 'churring' in the reserve by one of our group. Also we hope that hedgehogs are present as they have been seen in gardens just outside the reserve. We know that bats are around in the summer; your reporter has had one in his lounge (the house is on the edge of the reserve). In the spring we hear the drumming or 'laughing' (yaffle) of the woodpeckers, no doubt looking to pair up. Throughout the year, it is not unusual to see a buzzard either perched or aloft over the reserve. At our November 2018 work party a Dartford warbler was sighted in the reserve. Whilst undertaking work in the reserve we usually have the company of a friendly robin.
Summer activities Each year we have at least one social event as well as a walk, often in another area of heathland in East Dorset. the walk is normally on May and the social get-together in September-watch out for details closer to the 'events'. Plea for help In some of our past work parties we have had only 3 in the group so the amount of work that can be completed is limited. Luckily in recent months we have added to our modest numbers with some 'new recruits'-many thanks for your hard work which is much appreciated. You know who you are ! We have very recently had a 'walk round' with visitors from other local conservation groups and it would be lovely to see some of you at each work party although we understand you have existing commitments. We do need further volunteers to bolster our team. All you need do is turn up on the day and we will explain to you exactly what our friendly group do before you need commit yourself to joining us. All tools are provided and you simply undertake as much work as you can manage. There is a coffee break to lighten the work!
Painting and map of the reserve
A lovely watercolour of the reserve by Jim Champion one of our volunteers. Many thanks Jim for this.
Map of the reserve-play area is near the top left corner with the cricket ground nearby, just outside the marked area.