Keynsham wildlife group head into city to see first signs of spring

Published on: 04 Mar 2016

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March 2016

Keynsham’s Avon Wildlife Trust group began the 2016 season of walks with a trip to a mild but breezy and muddy Bristol Downs, writes chairman Dave Sage.

Expertly organised and led by our newest committee member Liz Wintle, 15 of us enjoyed identifying birdsong, including a noisy dunnock, a cheeky robin in search of food and a nuthatch calling. 

We found celandines, primroses and snowdrops well in flower, true signs of spring! Liz explained about the problem of gall wasp larvae causing the growth of oak galls, which can reduce acorn production. She also pointed out numerous holm oak trees, which are being controlled as they are a non-native species, as well as a number of “adopted” hawthorn trees, lovingly tended to reduce competition from other plants. 

We finally reached Avon Gorge, giving us a splendid view of Clifton Suspension Bridge but no sign of the resident peregrine falcons, which were probably sheltering from the wind in Leigh Woods.

After a brisk walk back to the water tower (pausing only to admire some shrubby lichens, indicators of unpolluted air, and the sign explaining about the wildflower meadow, which should be worth a visit this summer!) we enjoyed a well-earned drink and snack in the Downs cafe, sharing the space with a number of muddy quidditch players and their broomsticks! Our next indoor meeting is on Friday, March 11, in Keynsham Baptist Church hall, at 7.30pm. It is a talk on Filnore Woods by old favourite Jerry Dicker.

Our next walk is on Saturday, March 19, to Bennett’s Patch and White’s Paddock, on Bristol Portway, leaving Wellsway School at 10am. This walk is a follow-up to Julie Doherty's interesting and informative talk on this new trust reserve at our February meeting.

The group can be contacted on

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