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News Index

Forty Years of Dinghy Sailing on the Avon

Top tips for an entertaining summer holiday

Friends of Lamplighters Marsh nominated for the Groundworks Community Awards.

Contractors’ Site Proposed for Nature Reserve

‘Eat More to Weigh Less’, say Shirehampton’s slimmers

Public Meeting with YardArts

Cookery Course for over 50’s

Bristol’s libraries saved…for now

Shirehampton Group Practice Want You!

News from A Forgotten Landscape

Lookout for Best Sea Photos

Outdoors at Shirehampton Primary

Avonmouth CofE Primary School celebrates ‘Outstanding’ report

St. Mary's News -  August

Nature Notes…

Botany in the Shire

Watch Out for Invaders!

Letters to the Editor

City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club

Forty Years of Dinghy Sailing on the Avon

Members of Shirehampton Sailing Club have been dinghy sailing on the River Avon for 40 years.

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Dinghys on the river Avon

The club, which is one of the smallest sailing clubs in the county, is also the only tidal dinghy sailing club within the City of Bristol. It has a membership of just under 50, ranging in age from 6 years to 85 years. The club are going to hold a BBQ Party to celebrate 40 years, on 8th September from 3 o’clock.

Established in 1978 after the M5 bridge over the Avon was built and the old Pill Ferry was closed the club still uses the ferry slipway and turnstile building on the Shirehampton bank of the river. There is a small club house which has a seating and changing area, a galley and toilets. For sailors who want a bit more comfort, the next stage for the club is to raise money to redevelop its 35‐year‐old clubhouse to be suitable for today and the next 40 years.

A few years ago, the club won an award from the Royal Sailing Association (RYA) as a champion joining point. This shows the energy amongst the club’s small family membership. Also, the club has links with local RYA Training Centres where people new to sailing can learn to sail and the more experienced can develop their sailing skills. This award is due in part to the club’s excellent sailing facilities, as the slip is in good condition, the club operates a safety boat and there are electric winches to pull up heavy boats.

Dinghy sailing is a bit like riding a bike. Once you can do it you can keep going and the club has members who have kept sailing well into their seventies. Like you need to find a bike to fit your size, you need to find a dinghy to fit your skill and ability, so children will change dinghies as they grow up and again as they get older.

The club is welcoming to new members of all ages and abilities. Once you have learned to sail you can hire one of the club dinghies. These are also available to non‐members with sailing experience.

The sailing water is also relatively safe as the Avon widens below Shirehampton and the tide does not run very fast at the times we sail. You can sail against the tide in even a moderate breeze.

Sailing takes place at different times each weekend as it can only take place two hours before high water and half an hour after. Check the club website for sailing times.

There is a rota of safety boat crews and familiarisation with the safety boat can be provided throughout the year.

If you like mud there is plenty at Shirehampton. The club has a dedicated group of “mudslingers” who clear the mud from the slipway every Saturday morning. Without this work there would be no sailing. If you fancy keeping fit by digging mud (you don’t have to be a sailor) just call down to the club any Saturday morning (bring your boots).

Currently the changing facilities are very limited and to bring in new younger families into the club improvements have to be made. These are likely to cost £50k. Sport England have offered a provisional grant of £20k with the provision that the club raise the other £30k. The club has made a good start on raising this money and there will be plenty of work for members to raise the rest of the money and to bring the project to fruition.

Please do come to the club’s BBQ Party on 8th September starting at 3 o’clock. There will be stalls to entertain adults and children. It will be in the sailing club building and grounds on Station Road, Shirehampton. It is to celebrate the club’s birthday and to raise money for the redevelopment of the clubhouse, and for prospective sailors to have a look at our excellent sailing area. The party is being held in conjunction with the Beer and Cider Festival at the Lamplighters Pub on the same day. Come along and meet the friendly membership, as the club is on the lookout for new and enthusiastic sailors to keep the club afloat for another 40 years at least!

Top tips for an entertaining summer holiday

In the run up to the summer holidays many parents will begin to groan inwardly (and audibly) at the prospect of having to entertain the children for six weeks. What might begin with enthusiastic trips to the cinema and the local pool will inevitably end in wondering what to do next for everyone’s sanity. But don’t lose heart or creativity; instead of turning the TV on or placing them in front of a tablet, Natural Nurture has created a top five summer holiday activity tips.

  • Whether the weather ‐ Living in Britain means you can’t rely on brilliant sunshine for all the holidays, however, this shouldn’t dampen any plans for outdoor activities. Remember, there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Don the wellies, put on a rain jacket and head outside to jump in puddles, or tree climb in the woods or play Pooh sticks.
  • Get crafty ‐ Forget the expensive craft kits ‐ there are so many natural resources at our finger tips that children can use to spark their imaginations. Get the poster paint or chalks out and go hunting for sticks, stones, shells and leaves to decorate. Once dried, these can be turned into a multitude of things. Try turning the painted leaves into bunting or gluing the shells to hairclips for original pieces of art.
  • Build a DIY tent ‐ Don’t have a tent? Don’t worry, you can raid the airing cupboard and use sheets and blankets and let the children create their own dens. Clothes pegs are handy tools as well as brooms, umbrellas and kitchen chairs. This activity not only helps children problem solve but on a sunny day will also create shade that they will want to sit under.
  • Pick a picnic ‐ Plan a picnic with the kids, which could even be an indoor picnic if it rains. Involve the children by taking them to the supermarket with you to choose the foods and then let them help you prepare it. Children love chopping and spreading, and the enjoyment they’ll get when eating what they picked and prepared will be worth it!
  • Community spirit ‐ Local councils, shopping centres, libraries and museums often host a range of free activities for the little ones over the summer so check ‘what’s on’ guides and noticeboards for activities that are happening near you.

Tracey Poulton, Founder of Natural Nurture, says: “Entertaining children over summer doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise, it just requires a bit of imagination from both sides. Studies have shown that children often just want to spend time with their family and friends and it can be undertaken easily through simple activities like sitting down and making a daisy chain together. Don’t worry about having to amuse them the whole time though, as letting them get bored occasionally is good, teaching them to be more creative in the ways they entertain themselves.”

Friends of Lamplighters Marsh nominated for the Groundworks Community Awards.

Darren Jones MP recently nominated FOLM for the Community award.

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Groundworks administer the Tesco Bags of Help Grants which last year saw the group successfully awarded £3000.

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Darren has met with the committee and volunteers on a number of occasions and will be joining a walk in July. He has always been very impressed with their dedication to protecting and enhancing the marsh for local people.

The group meet on the first Saturday of most months at 10am at The Lamplighters pub for a working party, they also host many special events and help local people meet other residents and enjoy healthy activities such as walks.

Let’s hope FOLM are successful in being recognised for their hard work!

See contractors

Contractors’ Site Proposed for Nature Reserve

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Friends of Lamplighters Marsh after a lot of hard work…

In July 2017 Avonmouth Severnside Enterprise Area (ASEA) began working with South Gloucestershire, Bristol City Council and the Environment Agency to develop new flood defences between Avonmouth and Aust. The new defences will come up the Avon as far as Station Road to protect the Severn Beach railway line.

Contractor’s Compound

This July however, a planning application from the Environment Agency contractors was lodged for a Contractor’s Compound to be sited on the northern end of Lamplighters Marsh within the designated Local Nature Reserve! The application is for a change of use that would last from three to five years.

Lamplighters Marsh has a strong and active Friends Group, Friends of Lamplighters Marsh (FOLM), which has worked closely with Bristol City Council over the last three years maintaining and improving the area along the Yellow Brick Road, organizing work days and successfully applying for local grants for tools and events, like the current season of guided nature walks. FOLM has registered several varieties of rare plants in the area proposed for the compound.

all the power it can muster

Naturally, FOLM will oppose this application with all the power it can muster. The Nature Reserve serves all the people of Shirehampton and Avonmouth, many of whom have fought for years to preserve the Marsh (see Letter to the Editor). If you would like to object to the proposals you can write to Bristol City Council Planning Department. The planning application reference is 18/02847/FB, and the179 documents accompanying the application can be seen online.

See MP award nomination

‘Eat More to Weigh Less’, say Shirehampton’s slimmers

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Alex Turner

A slimming expert says there’s no need for anyone in Shirehampton looking to lose weight to go hungry, after new research found that filling up on low energy dense foods is more likely to lead to weight loss success than counting calories and cutting portion sizes.

A study led by the University of Leeds and published in the Journal of Nutrition, compared women following Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan, to another group of women following the NHS Choices programme, which is centred around calorie counting. Unlike a calorie‐controlled diet, the Food Optimising plan encourages slimmers to fill up on low energy dense foods (foods that contain fewer calories per gram) including normal everyday foods like fruit and vegetables, lean meat, fish, pasta, rice and eggs freely to satisfy their appetite.

All participants attended four laboratory test days at the University, eating low energy dense meals for two days and high energy dense meals for the remaining tests to allow researchers to assess their impact on appetite and calorie intake. The two groups were also monitored over a time period of 14 weeks to explore the longer‐term effects. Slimmers following a plan based around low energy dense foods for this time period ‐ as well as attending a weekly Slimming World group where they weighed in and received support, reported increased feelings of control around their food choices, a greater confidence in their ability to stick to their weight‐loss plan, and lost significantly more weight than calorie‐counting counterparts ‐ 6.2% body weight compared to 3.8%.

The research comes as no surprise to Kelly Harvey who has run groups in Shirehampton for over 20 years and seen her group members lost 258 stone between them since January! She says: “I tried so many fads when I decided I wanted to lose weight, I was just desperate to get quick results. When I joined Slimming World everything changed. From the very first week I learned that actually, you can feel full and lose weight enjoying all your favourite dishes, just by making small changes to the way you shop, cook and eat.

lost 8st since joining the group…

Member Alexis Turner has lost 8st since joining the group just over a year ago she says: “If I’m honest I was a little sceptical before I joined Slimming World ‐ it sounded too good to be true. I always thought the only way to lose weight was to simply eat less or count everything that I ate and drank. I soon learned that wasn’t the case, I’ve made small changes ‐ like using lean meat, low‐calorie cooking spray and adding plenty of fresh vegetables to fill my plate. Another huge difference for me has been the group support. I’ve made a whole new bunch of friends and I look forward to sharing my success and challenges with them each week.

Remembrance Sunday at Shirehampton Library

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In common with other libraries we want to mark the Centenary of the end of the First World War.

We are looking to put on display copies of mementos that local families may have from the First World War. This could be copies of letters, diaries, photos, pay books etc. that have been handed down from generation to generation. In addition, if you have any family stories that you would like to share about the First World War we’d be keen to display them.

Because of the obvious value of these items we are only looking for copies to display. If you are interested in contributing please either drop into Shirehampton library or email us at . We look forward to hearing from you.

Public Meeting with YardArts

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On a hot evening at the end of June around 50 local people turned up to a public meeting with YardArts organized and chaired by Darren Jones, MP. Darren had conducted an online survey of opinion about YardArts’ proposals for a performing arts ‘village’ on the Karacol site next door to the Kingsweston estate. There were around 450 responses to the survey. Some valued the possibility of a new venture in Shirehampton, especially as it would engage young people. Others registered concerns about the location, traffic, parking, and environmental impact. As promised, Darren Jones arranged this meeting to give residents an opportunity to question YardArts about their proposals and YardArts an opportunity to reply!

Yarda yarda yarda…

Some of the questions showed that people still didn’t realize that YardArts are a group of professional theatre and circus performers proposing to create a performing and teaching space. But many asked specific questions about the environmental and social impact of such a development. YardArts answered objections with reference to their planning application, showing how they have addressed these issues in the pre‐planning process.

It was a lively meeting where mixed opinions about the proposal were expressed.

A planning application from YardArts for Change of Use from Industrial to Recreation and Leisure went in on 14th June and should be available for all to read on the Bristol City Council web site. The application is moving toward public consultation later this year and a decision will be taken when the consultation is complete.

Cookery Course for over 50’s

The Linkage Network are working with Lawrence Weston Community Farm to deliver another FREE 8‐week cooking course for people aged 50+ between 25th September ‐ 13th November. If you are interested in topping up those culinary skills and meeting new local people, please get in touch with Hannah on tel: 0117 353 3042, email:

Bristol’s libraries saved…for now

Bristol City Council’s Cabinet has agreed to roll back cuts which would have seen 17 of the city’s 27 library’s close, while future options for community led facilities are explored.

The long‐term future of the city’s library service is by no means certain there is only commitment to maintaining current levels of funding up to the next mayoral election in 2020 but is a positive step in reviewing community options and gauging public opinion.

Following the council’s agreement, the current opening hours and arrangements would stay the same, with a further paper coming to Cabinet in October to outline how the council aims to trial new approaches and work with the community moving forward.

This would ensure the full service remains in place while a community led offer is explored.

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said: “We have listened to the results of the consultation and other public forums and we understand the concerns people have about losing their much‐loved library service. We have continued to hold meetings and discussions with members of the public and as a result the recommendation to Cabinet is to keep all our libraries open to give us more time to explore community led options. We all know that the service needs to modernise and that it is likely to look very different in 10 years’ time, but we need to consider that change carefully and in line with the pace of community support and action. This is an opportunity for communities to come forward and help trial new ways of delivering library services for all the citizens of Bristol and we need everyone to come forward to make sure we continue to build a library service we can all be proud of.”

AGM and centenary celebration


On Thursday 13th September at 7.15pm in the Tithe Barn the Avon (University Settlement) Community Association (AUSCA) which runs the Shire Advice Service, will be holding a short AGM followed by a celebration of our centenary as a charity. There will be drinks and nibbles and a chance to view the archives of the charity including the lovely scrap book of the ’golden years’ of Twyford House. This is a public event and a chance to reminisce for those who spent happy hours and recreation at Twyford or enjoying the events put on in the public hall.

The trustees look forward to seeing you.

Shirehampton Public Hall AGM


The annual general meeting for the Shirehampton public hall will be held on Tuesday 18th September at 7.15pm.

All welcome.

Shire Newspaper AGM


The Shire Newspaper will hold its annual general meeting on Monday 6th August at 5.30pm in the Tithe Barn. The meeting is open to all members of the public. We would urge anyone who might be interested in joining the editorial team or contributing to the production process to come along and find out more.

Shirehampton Group Practice Want You!

Do you have questions about how your G.P. practice operates?

The Group Practice ‘Patient Participation Group’ meets approximately three times a year for about 1.5 hours and would like more involvement from the local community.

If you feel you have something to offer, please contact Ellie Truss, Deputy Practice Manager on 0117 916 2223 or email

News from A Forgotten Landscape

The Forgotten Landscape team have again been busy in our local area.

Severn Beach sculpture was launched at the end of June. There couldn’t have been a better evening for the launch of Deborah Aguirre‐Jones’s three new sculptures in Severn Beach. On Saturday 9 June, a light breeze came and fluttered the many colourful flags created in the early evening. Then the wonderful Ambling Band lead a procession from the Village Hall in which the fire sculptures created in sessions with Severn Beach Primary School and in two other local workshops, all lead by Alan May, borne aloft by the crowd. We followed the music down to the River Severn. There we safely depositing the fire sculptures and then danced on to each of the three Portland Stone sculptures for a simple unveiling, each getting a few words in turn, and the big reveals splendidly carried out by the eager hands of local children. After all three stone sculptures were welcomed and lay glowing in the evening sun, we followed the band once more back to the River where, in the twilight, the fire sculptures were set alight! Not all the fire sculptures gave in easily to the flames but the band played on and the goodwill and grand mood never dimmed. Truly magic.

There are now walking routes now online, including some starting in Shirehampton! You can now download our 15 new walking route leaflets from the AFL website here Take advantage of this glorious weather and try out either an easy access (suitable for prams and wheelchairs) walk or a regular walk. The leaflets have clear maps, directions, useful local information and tell you about the points of interest you pass. The walks are also fully waymarked along the route. Get out, enjoy, and let us know what you think!

Coming up…

Introduction to running a small holding Sat 18th August, 10am‐3pm, Lawrence Weston Community Farm, Saltmarsh Drive, Bristol BS11 0NJ This workshop is being run by our friends at Lawrence Weston Community Farm with support from A Forgotten Landscape. Topics covered: poultry keeping, growing fruit and veg, security (hedges, fences, problems with neighbours), general land management including considering whether to use hand tools or mechanization and general larger animal keeping such as sheep, pigs and goats. You must book a place for this workshop. The workshop is for adults only and there is a £30 charge which will go to supporting the community farm. Book your place here,

Lookout for Best Sea Photos

National maritime charity, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, is once again on the lookout for photographers in the South West to submit their favourite images honouring Britain’s proud maritime heritage, for its annual competition searching for the UK’s ultimate sea view.

that capture the essence of Britain’s enduring connection with the sea ‐ its merchant ships, fishermen, coast, harbours and ports.

Celebrating its 179th year, the Society is searching for standout images relating to all aspects of the UK’s historic relationship with the sea, including ships and wrecks, seascapes, industry and leisure.

Discussing the competition, Captain Osmond said: “Britain’s strong maritime heritage can be traced back through generations and the history of our rich relationship with the sea is something we should be proud of. We should not forget how heavily we rely on the sea and our seafaring professionals, given that 95% of our imports and exports by volume are transported by sea.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society supports fishermen, merchant mariners and their dependants who are suffering financial hardship, whether due to accident, ill health, unemployment or in retirement after a life spent working at sea. A total of over £1.4 million was paid in grants over the last year in 2,000 cases of need.

To enter the competition and for the chance to win the prize of £500 of photographic equipment vouchers visit Closing date for entries in Monday 13th August.


Fancy getting out and about, meeting new people and getting active at the same time? Then this could be for you.

Dancercise is a fun, gentle dance and exercise class, suitable for adults of all ages, abilities and mobility. Classes include a seated warm up, strengthening exercises and some simple fun dance routines finishing with a few stretches, a cuppa and a chat.

There’s a suggested donation of £3 per class but the class is completely free to those on low incomes or unemployed.

Dancercise is held at; St Andrew’s Church, Avonmouth every Wednesday at 10am, and St Edyth’s Church, Sea Mils every Thursday at 1.30pm.

If you would like further info please contact Anna on 07852988895

Outdoors at Shirehampton Primary

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At Shirehampton Primary the Eco‐Council has been very hard at work this term growing fruit and vegetables in the playground and at the School’s Green space. They have recently collaborated with Aspens the School’s catering company. On a sunny Friday afternoon they learnt about what ingredients go into their school dinners and what they could grow at the Green Space to contribute. They even got to sample some delicious carrot cake and Beetroot and chocolate cake! We now have a large herb garden at the Green Space which will be used in some of the meals provided by Aspens. The Eco‐Council is very excited to use their produce that they have grown.

The Nursery children love learning outdoors and have taken advantage of the lovely weather that we have had this term. We visit the Green Space at least once a week and the children enjoy investigating the mini‐beasts, smelling the flowers, watching the fruit grow on the trees, listening to the birds and best of all make dens!

A huge thanks once again to Mr and Mrs Ellis who maintain our Green Space and provide the school with an excellent outdoor classroom!

Avonmouth CofE Primary School celebrates ‘Outstanding’ report

Avonmouth Church of England Primary School is celebrating after being judged ‘Outstanding’ in their Statutory Inspection of Anglican & Methodist Schools (SIAMS) inspection on Wednesday 21st March 2018.

Outstanding is the highest grade that a school can be given in SIAMS inspections.

Mrs Nicky McMahon, Head Teacher, said: “I am delighted that we have received an Outstanding in our recent SIAMs inspection. This is a great reflection of the effort that staff, governors, parents and pupils put in to our school every day. I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and hope that our pupils have continued success at our brilliant school.”

As part of the inspection, the inspector observed lessons and whole school worship, looked at pupils work and met with teachers, children, parents, governors and school leaders. The inspection report highlighted the school’s strengths, recognising the strong impact the school’s values have on children’s personal development, well‐being and academic achievement.

This has been a fantastic year for Avonmouth C of E Primary School which also received a ‘Good’ Ofsted grading in October 2017.

St. Mary's News -  August

Hi Folks!

As I write these notes we are in the middle of a delightful heatwave ‐ let’s hope this weather lasts throughout the school holidays. The kids can then run around in the fresh air before being incarcerated inside once again with their school studies.

Our Summer Fayre and Patronal Festival was a very joyous occasion. Thanks, must go to the ladies who provided and arranged the flower decorations for the flower festival. They were a delight to the eye and involved many hours of hard work beforehand. Much fun was enjoyed at the fayre by the children in the Ball Pool & Bouncy Castle. Business was brisk and the total sum raised was £876.80. Hot dogs were cooked and sold in the Churchyard, thanks yet again to Jon Saunders and Chris Johnson (the Vicar’s husband). Does Chris have to slave over a hot stove as well at the Vicarage, I wonder?!! Jon’s expertise is so well known he is entitled to display a Banner advertising Saunder’s Sausages! They were delicious with the added onions and tomato sauce!

  • Wednesday, 8th August, 2018 Mother’s Union

    On Wednesday, 8th August, 2018, the Mother’s Union will be holding a garden party in The Tithe Barn from 2.00 pm until 4.00 pm. This will be used to promote The Summer of Hope when money collected will be used to provide vulnerable families and people with the things they need. Further details of The Summer of Hope are pinned up on the Mothers’ Union Notice Board inside the church. You are more than welcome to come and support the Mothers’ Union in this very worthwhile event.

  • Friday, 7th September Mothers’ Union

    Now some advance notice of another Mothers’ Union event at 12.00 noon on Friday, 7th September ‐ it is the Mothers’ Union Wave of Prayer. Further details when finalised will appear on the MU Notice Board inside the church ‐ so keep an eye open for details when they appear.

  • September launching our new website

    In September we shall be launching our new website. It is ‐ ‐ and it is anticipated it will be activated around the middle of the month.

  • August

    During August you may well find some of our Church Staff taking a well‐earned rest, but nevertheless, we shall still be open as usual for Teas and Coffee between 10.00 am and 12.00 noon each day. Please note that the church will be CLOSED on Bank Holiday Monday, 27th August, 2018.

  • September STOMP

    Also, please remember that Totstop, Messy Church, STOMP and Youth@TheBarn will not be running during the summer holidays but will resume as normal in September.

  • Saturday, 8th September BBQ at the Tithe Barn

    Please put this date in your Diaries ‐ Saturday, 8th September, when there will be a BBQ at the Tithe Barn ‐ exact time yet to be decided. This is a social occasion open to all for those who would like to hear more about coming events at St Mary’s and The Tithe Barn.

Now a plug for "Goldies, Sing & Smile UK”.

They meet once a month in The Tithe Barn for just one hour from 10.30 am until 11.30 am on the first Wednesday of the month.

The next dates are ‐ August 1st: September 5th: October 3rd: November 7th: and December 5th.

Why not go along and join Maggie for an hour of Fun & Friendly Singalongs? It is not a choir but a sing‐along session using the popular memory‐evoking hits from the 50s onwards, so please don’t worry if you think you haven’t got a great voice! It is also an opportunity to chat and make new friends. Participants are asked to make a donation of £2.00 for each session towards the work of the Goldies Charity. Regrettably the number of attendees has fallen of late and it would be a pity if this was to lead to the closure of the sessions.

Have you read this before? When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bike until I realised the Lord doesn’t work that way. So, I stole one and asked him to forgive me instead!

Bye for now! C.M.E.

Shirehampton Public Hall Coffee Mornings

Tuesday coffee mornings are held 9am‐12 midday at the public hall.

Upcoming dates: Sept 4th, Oct 2nd, Nov 6th, Dec 4th

Tea, coffee, biscuits and cake to enjoy ‐ all welcome! Come along and relax.

Nature Notes…

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Sunflowers can be seen just about everywhere as I write. They certainly provide a brilliant splash of colour and are being helped this year by an incredible spell of hot, sunny weather. The dry spell has sent the birds from our garden it seems. I have the water feature on every day, but it tends to be pigeons and other larger birds that swing by for a drink. The sparrows and their young are absent, so I hope they are doing ok elsewhere. The young goldfinches have arrived however, so I am enjoying their visits to the Niger seed.

Sadly, I stumbled upon a dead young hedgehog on the riverbank just a couple of days ago. I’m thinking that the dry weather has meant less prey about, although we have seen plenty of slugs and snails at night time in the garden. There is always water available, as hogs do drink quite a lot, but who knows for sure. Sad to see.

Our huge lavender bush, now in flower, is providing a good source of food for the bees and white butterflies. It’s great watching the constant fluttering dances of them all as they go about their work.

A rather horrific sighting to share with you: whilst in the garden recently, I looked skyward when I heard a loud screeching and squawking above my head. Several sea gulls swooping over and over again, trying to dislodge a hapless brown bird clamped tightly in one of the gulls’ beaks!

Most unpleasant to see, but just another example of the huge diversity we witness in nature.

With that in mind I will still wish you happy nature watching!

Bobbie Perkins

Botany in the Shire

The Wild Plants of the Shirehampton area

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Clive Lovatt examines the rare Service tree

Common names of plants can be quite unrelated to the scientific names that I prefer to use. Sometimes of course, the Latin scientific names which are universally used are translated into local language where no common name previously existed. An unusual example of this is a weedy white‐flowered alien plant persistent on Hung Road, near some garages. Its Latin ‘surname’ is Galinsoga and its English name became Gallant‐Soldier. The one we have is the hairy‐stemmed species whose English name is an otherwise unlikely combination, Shaggy‐Soldier.

When I was leading a recent botanical walk on Lamplighters Marsh, I thought it was important to show the party the Pepper‐saxifrage. It is a native plant of old damp meadows and here it is just hanging on.

In the late 1970’s when I first came to Bristol I found it down in the Avon Gorge ‐ just once before it became overgrown by Blackthorn scrub. In the 90’s it was known behind the railway in the Old Sneed Park reserve and there were those who wanted to keep it secret as it was thought to be “the last site along the Avon below Bristol”. That seems to have gone too, leaving our few Shirehampton plants holding the mantle as “the last”.

And so we trailed single‐file through the reeds to see the plant, by then more than knee‐high and coming into flower. “Plainly related to a carrot” I explained, the flower‐head being branched like an out‐turned umbrella. “Neither a Pepper, nor a Saxifrage”, I added. The Saxifrage part of the name means a stone‐breaker. Not that it grows on rocks like a proper Saxifrage but that it was once a herbal cure for kidney stones. Gerard’s Herbal of 1633 says of it, “Our English women Phisitians have it in great use…because of its virtues against the stone”.

I must say farewell…

And with that I must say farewell. By the time this appears I’ll have moved up‐country to Stroud. I’ve greatly enjoyed writing 40 or so short stories about the Wild Plants of the Shirehampton Area. The most precious of these plants is the extremely rare Service Tree on the cliffs at Horseshoe Bend, seen here in a photo of the undersigned taken soon after my return from Africa in 2011, admiring it and learning to distinguish it from the common Mountain Ash, a tree which I leave behind me in my garden.

Clive Lovatt

Farewell to Clive

Shire would like to thank Clive Lovatt for his contributions over the years. This months article is the last we’ll receive from Clive as he is moving away from Shire. His interesting botany articles have always been greatly received. Clive ‐ We wish you all the best for the future.

From the Shire team

Watch Out for Invaders!

Britain is at risk from a foreign invader ‐ the Asian Hornet!

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Asian Hornet

These insects were accidentally introduced to France in 2005, where they have now established themselves in large numbers. They are literally just across the channel and two outbreaks have been eliminated already in the UK.

The Asian hornet is a voracious predator of all sorts of insects and can seriously damage the populations of our native species, not least of which is the Honey Bee!

British Beekeepers are on high alert for the pest, and we need the help of everyone in the country to spot the beast so they can be eliminated before they become established.

The Asian Hornet is very distinctive, it is almost all black, with one bright yellow band near the tail, an orange face and yellow legs. It should not be confused with the native European Hornet, which has a brown coloured front end and very yellow rear end.

Bristol has set up a local Asian Hornet Action Team, which will help identify hornets and work with the National Bee Unit if the hornet is found nearby. Last year there were 4,500 calls about possible Asian Hornets, of which only one was identified as the real thing, so if you do see an unusual insect that raises your suspicions, take a photograph and try to catch it, but don’t necessarily kill it!

If it really does look like the Asian Hornet, please report it to or through the Asian Hornet Action Team network If you would like some local advice on reporting or identification would be happy to help.

Please help us keep this beast out of the UK, we know it is coming and we are ready to repel it, before its too late. An Asian Hornet week is planned for 10th ‐ 16th September this year, with wide publicity and asking as many people as possible to spend an hour or two watching for the hornet which will easily be seen feeding on Ivy flowers at this point in the year, however we do need to start now!

Chris Morton, Bristol AHAT Co‐ordinator.

Letters to the Editor

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 Bee Bank  ‐ John Knight

Dear Editor

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Bee bank

Following the letter from Michael Cech‐Lucas in the July edition, I would like to reassure Michael and anyone else that the Dumpy Bags of sand and aggregate were emptied before use, as can be seen in the photograph taken by Bristol Urban Buzz. It was going to be difficult to get enough people on a Thursday to move 13 tonnes of material and then build a bee bank all by hand. Fortunately, Bristol Urban Buzz organised twenty fit volunteers from the Environment Agency for one day. Ground conditions prevented turves being cut to support the ends of the bee bank, so as a temporary measure “gable ends” were cut from two Dumpy Bags to use instead. Woven geotextile was used in the base to stop brambles growing though it and given the shortage of time a pragmatic approach was to use two end panels as well. The remaining empty bags were removed from site and either disposed of environmentally or used for growing potatoes.

If anyone has questions about FOLM’s work in Lamplighter’s Marsh we will be more than happy to answer them when we are working on site, or by emailing via the Friends of Lamplighters Marsh web site. Better still, come on the free expert‐led nature walks in Lamplighter’s Marsh

Regards, John Knight

 Bee bank ‐ I was mistaken  ‐ Michael Cech‐Lucas

Dear Editor

Further to my letter regarding of the crude inclusion of pollutant plastics in the construction of the Lamplighters Marsh Bee Bank. I now have reliable information that indicates I was mistaken in my original analysis of the structure and that the gravel core does not include the polypropylene dumpy bags it was delivered in. The visible plastic is from bags only at the ends of the structure where it was felt appropriate to stabilise it and this is a temporary solution and that the bags are to be removed and disposed of appropriately. Again my acknowledgement and support for the diligent work in the development and preservation of the unique environment of Lamplighters Marsh and we can be assured that the best efforts of those at the forefront of this vital work are continually engaged.

Regards, Michael Cech‐Lucas

 Maureen Grant  ‐ Alastair, Peter and Hamish

Dear Editor

The family of Maureen Grant would like to thank all friends, family and neighbours for their generous donations of £777 to St Peter’s Hospice who acknowledge receipt of it with gratitude, as it enables them to continue caring for patients and families in Bristol.

With sincere thanks, Alastair, Peter and Hamish

 Lamplighters Marsh  ‐ John Knight

Dear Editor

I write as an individual not as the Secretary of the Friends of Lamplighter’s Marsh. For years people like “Shirl” and George Cooper fought proposals to turn Lamplighter’s Marsh into a dump for burnt‐out cars, a traveller’s transit camp, or a 1,500 space car park. They believed that the community deserved better. You may remember the contractor’s compound next to the M5 Bridge in the days of Avon. Now companies and individuals are environmentally mature. Lamplighter’s Marsh is legally designated as a Local Nature Reserve. Policies and actions respect the environment and reverse the negative thinking of the past. Sadly not. The ASEA flood defence project has applied for planning permission to use Lamplighter’s Marsh Local Nature Reserve next to the M5 Bridge as a contractor’s compound. An area for building materials, site cabins, heavy machinery and lorries for up to five years. The ASEA team and Bristol City Council were advised in plenty of time that the area proposed as a contractor’s compound has national ecological importance: it is only one of two sites in the UK where a rare moss has been recorded and, two nationally scarce lichen are awaiting verification. Scrub clearance by local people has changed the site and for the first time there is an orchid flowering there. The proposal states that: Nationally rare and scarce moss and lichen species are present on manmade surfaces within the WCS and must be surveyed prior to siting of the construction compound so that any negative impacts to the species can be avoided. There is no need. There is a fenced area under the M5 Bridge that is used for road materials and would be ideal. Bristol City Council have now informally advised that they agree the proposed contractor’s compound should be elsewhere. That does not change the planning application.

If you think that the designation Nature Reserve does not mean a handy area for site cabins and a machinery park. If like “Shirl” and George you think that the community deserves better, write to Bristol City Council Planning Department. The planning application reference is 18/02847/FB, and the 179 documents accompanying the application can be seen online. Look for a drawing titled Visibility Spays Area 2 Access Sheet 3 of 3. If you have difficulty finding it, email me and I’ll send you a .pdf of that drawing.

John Knight

 Clive Lovett Salsify  ‐ Gillian Sheppard

Dear Editor

In his always interesting column, Clive Lovatt mentions the plant Salsify.

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A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to find a specimen growing on The Portway near Shirehampton. I say ‘lucky’ as according to the 2000 edition of ‘the flora f the Bristol region’, its appearance is indeed unpredictable. Growing mainly on rough or waste ground, it is also known as the vegetable oyster due to the flavour of its root.

As several plants have now been located in Shirehampton perhaps this is a particularly hospitable area.

Best Regards, Gillian Sheppard

 Pill Ferry  ‐ Daphne Grace

Dear Editor

I was pleased to see the photo of the Pill Ferry in the last edition. It brought back many memories of our trips across the river. My husband Don, who sadly passed away only a few weeks ago, had a friend who owned a boat. They belonged to the Portishead Sailing Club and sometimes joined the yacht races from Avonmouth. On one occasion after anchoring up, they were too late to get the last ferry home to Shirehampton. Don decided to get a bus into Bristol, with the hope of getting the last bus home along the Portway. He missed it! So had to walk many miles home arriving at about 2am. I was worried that they were lost at sea!

Another memory was when we went away on holiday and I would put our cat into my shopping bag and take him across on the ferry for a lady to look after hm. The cat was not please and growled all the way, making the other passengers concerned over what was in my bag.

Best Regards, Daphne Grace

City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club

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Well, if no-one else turns up shall we call it a draw?

Ladies impress

The Ladies League Team continues to impress with very good wins at Severnvale on June 29th and at home to Portishead RBL on July 6th. Having passed the mid‐point of the league season they are maintaining a top three position in Division Two of the Bristol Ladies League.

More good news, there was a Hot Shot for City and Port during the game against Portishead RBL, eight woods closer to the jack than any of the opposition woods. Skipped by Dawn Evans with Ray Cook leading, Lis Davies at number two and Julie Looker number three the fete was achieved on the eighth of the eighteen ends played. This achievement entitles all four players on the rink to the Hot Shot Badge and certificate.

The Ladies run of success in the Inter Club Competition came to an end against a very strong Olveston A Team on June 2nd.

Brittons beat men

The Men’s League team continues to pick up points in Division Four of the Bristol and District Men’s League but did not progress further in the GBA Two Rink competition, going to at home to a very good GB Britton A team in round two.

The clubs latest recruit, Howard Surman has now made his debut in the League following appearances in several mixed friendly games and is enjoying his first season on the green.

New trophy

There is a new trophy to be won this year, The Presidents Cup, to be contested between last season’s Ladies Singles winner and last season’s Men’s Singles winner.

So, it was on Saturday 30th June that Dawn Evans played David Hinksman to decide who would be the first winner of the Presidents Cup and become Club Champion. The game was very well contested, well worthy of the occasion with some very close heads and the measure was used on a number of times to decide the outcome of an end. After a long game in which fortunes fluctuated (it could have gone either way) David Hinksman was the winner by 21 shots to 17.

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Presidents cup - Dawn Evans and David Hinksman

Club competitions

Club competitions are now well underway, aiming toward finals days over the week‐end of September 8th and 9th. But there is chance to win silverware before then, the Jack Ashton Triples will be played on Sunday 29th July and the Two Wood Pairs on Saturday 11th August. These are competitions played to a finish on one afternoon with pairs and triples being drawn from a hat.

Free sessions - Tuesday evenings

Try bowling is still available on Tuesday evenings at 6pm. You can book your free session by calling Lis Davies on 0117 9380408. All equipment is supplied and there are experienced bowlers on hand to offer help and advice. Why not come along and give bowling a try. There is still plenty of bowling left to enjoy between now and the end of September, and reduced‐price membership is now available.