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  towards a sustainable future for our village

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  SEG Home > News List > 2017 News Archive


2017 News Archive

The latest stories are on our home page.

As this is an archive some older links may no longer connect due to changes in web page URL addresses etc.

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We started the year by publishing a new photographic image of the oldest painting of Saltford c.1728. (A larger image can be seen in our Online Museum.)

Click on each story link or scroll down the page (most recent appears first):-

Come and see the new Heritage Centre

Rural 19th Century painting of Saltford revealed

River Avon heritage walks, 10-21 June

2017 General Election - local candidates back Saltford Station

New West of England Mayor backs re-opening of stations & protecting green fields

A Plastic Ocean - screening in Keynsham, 16 June

Waitrose green tokens for SEG in May

Saltford Festival 2017 (10-18 June)

Veteran Tree Identification Training

Free-ranging deer affecting wild bird populations

New River Avon Trail information board in Saltford

Appreciating Saltford's ecology

Saltford Conservation Area consultation (5 June - 14 July)

B&NES Draft WaterSpace Study and proposals affecting Saltford

2017 Big Garden Birdwatch results: House Sparrow remains top

News stories in January - April 2017 newsletters

We moved away from a regular monthly newsletter format to a rolling news service after the April 2017 newsletter.

April 2017 Newsletter

Future SEG website development - can you help?

Newsletter - a move to something more flexible

Your photographs of Saltford

Next Wombles litter pick (8 April)

Get Ready for Easter the Upcyling Way (13 April)

The parasitic Toothwort flowering in Saltford

Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 30th April

Festival of Nature, 8 - 25 June

New parking restrictions for Saltford

A4 traffic through Saltford down 12%

Mayoral Candidate backs the reopening of Saltford station

March 2017 Newsletter

Discovering Roman Saltford: Geophysics survey report published

Litter: Wombles (11 March) and tackling everyday litter

Great British Spring Clean - Blitz it by Bike - cycle path clear up (4 March)

Get Ready for Easter the Upcycling Way (24 March)

Saltford Photo Exhibition

Our village in the 1950s

Plans for Keynsham High Street one-way trial

Saltford Heritage Centre: SPC backs PCC

Healthy sustainable food in the West of England

Incentive to recycle more as waste collections go fortnightly in November

Opportunity to coordinate local habitat project

February 2017 Newsletter

Can you help SEG find this 1860 painting?

Imaginative Frames

Are you or your organisation a keen recycler? A chance to star!

Don't buy it, Borrow It!

New opportunity to coordinate local habitat project

The Grey Herons in Saltford

Saltford Weather Station

January 2017 Newsletter

SEG publishes image of the oldest painting of Saltford

Saltford Heritage Centre: Starting to take shape

Sale of last remaining 2017 Saltford Calendars

Get involved with the Big Garden Birdwatch 2017 (28-29 Jan)

Saltford Upcycling Craft Group, 12th Jan

SEG responds to JSP and JTS consultations

SEG responds to B&NES Core Strategy consultation by highlighting local Green Belt policies

Potential for Saltford station as an additional stop being tested

Standing room only at the Saltford bypass public meeting

B&NES wins British Food Fortnight's 2016 competition

Fairtrade & Traidcraft together at Saltford Christmas Market

Permaculture explained


Come and see the new Heritage Centre

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St Mary's Church Hall (2016)

The emerging and early beginnings of the Heritage Centre will be open on the first floor (upstairs) of the Church Hall for the Saltford Festival 2017 on Saturday 10th June (2pm-4pm) when it will host the Bath Record Office roadshow (including activities for children) and on the 'Old Village Day', Sunday 11th June (12 noon - 4pm).

The Heritage Centre opening on Saturday 10th June will be preceded by a presentation on "Life in 19th Century Saltford" by Dick Bateman and Saltford Drama Club - in St Mary's church at 1pm. That presentation followed by a visit to the Heritage Centre will be a great way to start discovering Saltford's interesting past.

Discussions, planning and initial work for this volunteer run community resource have continued during spring 2017 so that the early beginnings of the centre - with some key displays - will be open for the first weekend of the Saltford Festival.

June 2017

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Rural 19th Century painting of Saltford revealed

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Courtesy of Keynsham and Saltford Local History Society.

Our history project has recently published a wonderful old painting (pictured above) of Saltford Lock and the Jolly Sailor Inn in our Online Museum. It is thought to have been painted in the early-mid 19th Century. You can see a larger version in our Online Museum on the 19th Century page >>

May 2017

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River Avon heritage walks, 10-21 June

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A series of short and longer heritage walks along the River Avon "Sweet Waters: Legacies of Slave Ownership" have been organised as part of the Festival of Nature and the Bath Festival Fringe. These are:-

  • 10 June - Bath City centre to Beckford's Tower. Approx 3 miles.
  • 11 June - Beckford's Tower to Saltford Brass Mill. Approx 5 miles.
  • 12 June - Saltford Brass Mill to Keynsham Brass Mill. Approx 5 miles.
  • 13 June - Keynsham to Bristol. Approx 8 miles.
  • 17 June - Weston Lock to Saltford Brass Mill. Approx 5 miles.
  • 19 June - Bath City Centre to Keynsham Brass Mill. Approx 8 miles.
  • 20 June - Keynsham to Bristol. Approx 8 miles.
  • 21 June - Avonmouth to Bath along the river. Approx 26 miles.

These 'performative' creative walks (free) will be on the theme of legacies of slave ownership on paths alongside the river to Bristol and Avonmouth gathering and networking thoughts, impressions and stories of those legacies.

Walkers are encouraged to contribute and share their experiences, there will be opportunities to stop and reflect, write, sketch, make recordings and connect on social networks. The organiser Richard White (senior lecturer in Media Practise at Bath Spa University) plans to work with these for a future creative piece. Artists, poets, historians, naturalists and creatives of all kinds are very welcome but you need to book beforehand.

Visit this website for full details including booking arrangements if you would like to participate: www.walknowtracks.co.uk/walks.html.

More walks!

On the subject of walks, SEG's history project has published 8 self-guided Walks of Saltford (link) whilst there are guided walks organised for the Saltford Festival in June:-

  • Parish Walks (two levels) 7pm Tues 13 June (Cheryl Hannan & Robin Dixon)
  • History Walk 7pm Weds 14 June (Hilary Smedley & Rodger Fowler) £2
  • Geology Walk 7pm Thurs 15 June (Simon Carpenter) £2
  • Geology Walk 2.30pm Fri 16 June (Simon Carpenter) £2

- see the Saltford Festival website (link) for details.

May 2017

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2017 General Election - local candidates back Saltford Station

For the 2015 General Election members will recall that SEG's station campaign, which takes a politically neutral stance, enjoyed support from the local Parliamentary candidates of all three main political parties for the objective to re-open the station on the existing site. We can report that this cross-party support has been repeated by the 2017 candidates for the 8th June General Election.

In alphabetical order:-

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Robin Moss (pictured above), the Labour Party candidate for NE Somerset has told SEG of his support for re-opening the station on the current site: "A project to take cars off the A4 and so improve air quality in the village must be supported."

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Our local Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg (pictured above with Saltford Station campaign leader Chris Warren in 2015) has been a long term supporter for the re-opening of Saltford Station.

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Showing her support for the re-opening of Saltford station is the Liberal Democrats' 2017 General Election candidate for NE Somerset, Manda Rigby, seen pictured here at the station site with Chris Warren.

May 2017

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New West of England Mayor backs re-opening of stations & protecting green fields

Those backing our campaign to re-open Saltford station and our strongly held view that the Green Belt surrounding Saltford should be protected from development will wish to note that the West of England Plan in the election manifesto for newly elected West of England Mayor Tim Bowles includes two statements of particular relevance to Saltford:

  • "Transforming our local rail network by re-opening stations and increasing local services."
  • "Protecting more of our green fields by promoting urban regeneration sites instead to build more affordable homes."

The A34/46 Link Road in Tim Bowles' manifesto's West of England Plan of

  • "backing major transport infrastructure, particularly the Avon Ring Road/M4 J18a and the A34/46 Link Road"

if implemented has the potential to divert traffic between Southampton/Portsmouth and Bristol/Avonmouth away from the A4 through Saltford.

May 2017

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A Plastic Ocean - screening in Keynsham, 16 June

The Avon Wildlife Trust's Keynsham branch has organised a screening of the thought-provoking film "A Plastic Ocean" in Keynsham (Keynsham Community Space, 5 Temple Street) as part of Festival of Nature 2017 on Friday 16 June (doors open 6.45pm). This feature-length adventure documentary brings to light the consequences of our global disposable lifestyle.

During its four-year production period, "A Plastic Ocean" was filmed in 20 locations around the world in beautiful and chilling detail to document the global effects of plastic pollution and introduce workable technology and policy solutions that can, if implemented in time, change things for the better. Producers Adam Leipzig (March of the Penguins) and Jo Ruxton (BBC Blue Planet) take you through the plastic journey from source to solution.

The film features legendary broadcaster Sir David Attenborough and world renowned oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle. You can see trailer here (link).

Admission is £10 with proceeds supporting conservation in Avon. If you wish to see this film click on this external link for details: Event Brite.

May 2017

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Waitrose green tokens for SEG in May

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Waitrose has kindly offered SEG a green token 'Community Matters' box again so when shopping at Waitrose in Keynsham during May please show us your support by taking a green token from the person serving you at the till and putting it in our box (don't mind asking for a token if they forget to offer you one!).

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This has been a very helpful source of funding in the past so once again your support would be much appreciated. The more tokens we get the larger our share of the £1,000 split between three community organisations/schemes in the monthly collection.

Thank you!

May 2017

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Saltford Festival 2017 (10-18 June)

The biennial 9-day Saltford Festival this year will be the fourth festival that has become part of Saltford's tradition. Organised by Saltford Community Association this year's extensive programme of over 80 events is as varied as ever, including music, dance, poetry, drama, comedy, open gardens, exhibitions, talks and guided walks, competitions, and, of course, food and drink, with some new events appearing for the first time.

HERITAGE & HISTORY AT THE FESTIVAL

The emerging and early beginnings of the Saltford Heritage Centre, a joint project from SEG and St Mary's Parochial Church Council based at the Church Hall, will be open on Saturday 10th (2pm-4pm) when it will host the Bath Record Office roadshow (including activities for children) and on the 'Old Village Day', Sunday 11th (12 noon - 4pm). The Heritage Centre opening on Saturday 10th will be preceded by a presentation on "Life in 19th Century Saltford" by Dick Bateman and Saltford Drama Club - in St Mary's church at 1pm.

2017 coincides with the 150th anniversary of the death of our 19th Century local hero Admiral Kelly; so watch out for the "Admiral" appearing in uniform outside Saltford House (by his blue plaque) on the afternoon of the 'Old Village Day' (Sunday 11th).

HELPING SEG

We would welcome help from members at the festival on our stall(s) and at the Heritage Centre - check out this poster: SEG at Saltford Festival (pdf) - so if you think you can help for an hour or two on 10, 11 or 17 June please contact Frances on 07789--528843 to join the team.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Most events are free (including the Heritage Centre), but some are ticketed. Tickets are on sale at Saltford Post Office (Monday to Saturday), Saltford Hall (weekday mornings), Davies & Way, Saltford (Monday to Saturday), the Bar at Saltford Golf Club (every day), or via email to events@saltfordhall.co.uk.

In addition to details appearing in the Festival Brochure delivered to each household in Saltford (with copies also available from Saltford Hall's Avon Room), the daily event programmes can be viewed on the Saltford Festival website: saltfordhall.co.uk/Festival.html.

Saltford Festival is "FairTrade Friendly".

May 2017

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Veteran Tree Identification Training

The Forest of Avon Trust are looking for volunteers that are willing to receive some training in the recognition and recording of veteran trees and to then work on their own to survey their local area. This information will then be used to update the Woodland Trust's Ancient Tree Hunt website (link).

This means the Forest of Avon Trust can then work with landowners to provide advice and information about grants to conserve these trees. If this interests you contact Anna Brunton, the Community Tree and Woodland Officer for the Forest of Avon Trust on tel: 0117--963--3383, email: woodlands@forestofavontrust.org.

If a SEG member gains this skill and wishes to survey Saltford's trees, do contact SEG.

April 2017

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Free-ranging deer affecting wild bird populations

According to a new study in the Journal of Applied Ecology, huge deer populations in England are damaging the important natural habitat of many ground-nesting woodland birds.

In 2008 Defra commissioned experts at Nottingham University to investigate the causes behind the decline of woodland birds in the UK. Ecology expert Markus Eichhorn in the University's School of Life Sciences worked with the British Trust for Ornithology to establish the implications for our woodlands of the large deer population (Roe, Red, Fallow, Water and Sika Deer, and Reeves's Muntjac).

A combination of the absence of large predators, a decline in hunting and the sowing of autumn crops that provide winter food for foraging deer has enabled the deer population to expand to very high levels. Markus Eichhorn suggests that encouraging people to eat venison as readily as beef or lamb, so that wild venison appeared on our menus or in local butchers, could help reduce the deer population. However this concept might be too controversial for some despite the benefits for woodland habitat conservation and woodland birds.

Just as UK woodlands are shaped and exist as they do as a result of human management, it comes down perhaps to a choice of which species we value most, woodland birds or free-ranging deer, and whether a sensible balance can be achieved through human intervention...

Information source: britishbirds.co.uk (2017)

April 2017

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New River Avon Trail information board in Saltford

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The Avon Frome Partnership erected a new River Avon Trail information board at the western end of Mead Lane in Saltford (see photograph) on 20th April. The board includes information and images on the historical significance of this section of the River Avon from information published by SEG's History of Saltford project.

Managed by the Avon Frome Partnership, the River Avon Trail runs from Pill in North Somerset to Pulteney Bridge, Bath. The trail's total length is about 23 miles and incorporates a series of individual walks, some circular, on the paths along or near the river. Further information about the trail can be found on the River Avon Trail website at www.riveravontrail.org.uk - downloadable walks (including circular walks) can be found in the "Resources" section of the website.

April 2017

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Appreciating Saltford's ecology

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With spring now well advanced and summer approaching, we become increasingly aware that our gardens and the countryside surrounding Saltford support a fascinating variety of wildlife that is so essential for maintaining nature's balance and providing a natural beauty that is a pleasure to behold.

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Trees are your best antiques - Alexander Smith

Our wildlife page has a huge range of information, advice, tips and links to other information providers to help you gain a better knowledge and understanding of the natural world that we enjoy here in Saltford and to enable you to play a part, however small, in supporting the provision of wildlife friendly habitat.

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Kingfishers can be seen on the River Avon in Saltford

From our list of the bird species regularly observed locally (with a link to their individual ID page on the RSPB website) and the butterflies that occur in Saltford, to trees that are ecologically appropriate to our village, rare and important plants, or advice on identifying non-native invasive plants found in Saltford, our wildlife page has something of interest for everyone. Check it out from this link: wildlife page >>.

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Crosswort growing on the railway habitat restoration project area.

Getting directly involved with habitat restoration: If you want to help restore some of our local habitat, SEG is looking for a new volunteer to be our railway path habitat restoration project coordinator as our existing coordinator, who did a great job getting things organised, has had to step down due to other commitments. This local project has seen some notable successes:

  • The return of a number of rare and unusual plants to the area.
  • Fantastic views recreated across to the village and the river.
  • Thanks and congratulations from Railway Path users.
  • Some first class efforts from our team of community volunteers and from Saltford's Guides, Beavers and Scout groups.
  • Removal from the upper and middle slope of the previous large population of the unwelcome alien invasive Himalayan Balsam.

The area needs some concerted effort over the next 2-3 years to prevent the area from reverting back to scrub and trees: obscuring views and shading some of the rare sun-loving plants that have so recently returned. This work is likely to involve:

  • Regular practical volunteer sessions during the growing season - pulling invasive weeds such as nettles and brambles (6 - 8 sessions per year).
  • Monthly strimming sessions (during the growing season) - shared between volunteers.

This is a great opportunity for someone with good organisational skills to help deliver a really exciting project: restoring a rare and beautiful habitat and bringing members of the community together through fun, practical activities.

No prior experience of wildlife conservation projects is required and there will be plenty of opportunities to learn more about the rare and beautiful plants and animals which would otherwise disappear from our area, to make new friends and learn new skills along the way. We are looking for someone with a can-do attitude and the enthusiasm to engage with volunteers and provide more of a social side to this worthwhile activity.

If this opportunity to manage and develop a small yet interesting and local outdoor project appeals to you, to express an interest please contact our Vice-Chairman Chris Warren (email cherokee1883@live.com).

The project has its own webpage: link >>

April 2017

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Saltford Conservation Area consultation (5 June - 14 July)

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B&NES Council is undertaking a review of the 35 Conservation Areas in the District in line with the latest guidance from Historic England. Eventually, the Council will have a 'Conservation Area Appraisal' for each of its designated areas.

The Appraisals define the Conservation Area boundaries and analyse the special architectural and historic interest of the area. They identify specific features which contribute towards an area's character, such as: historic buildings and buildings which are locally significant, important green and open spaces, significant views, natural elements such as trees and waterways, and features which help make an area locally distinct.

The consultation by B&NES Council on the draft "Saltford Conservation Area Boundary Character Appraisal and Management Proposals" will be held from 5 June - 14 July. This will include a drop-in event at St Mary's Church Hall on Weds 7th June from 12 noon to 8pm.

The draft proposals document is due to be posted on the B&NES Council website in June at www.bathnes.gov.uk/CACA-saltford. Any queries about this consultation should be addressed to B&NES Council (Email: conservation_andplanning@bathnes.gov.uk Tel: 01225--477083).

Further general information on Conservation Areas in B&NES can be found on the B&NES website from this link.

April 2017

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B&NES Draft WaterSpace Study and proposals affecting Saltford

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The River Avon corridor is undergoing significant redevelopment of brownfield sites, and is the focus for major new development in Bath. The WaterSpace project launched by B&NES Council in March 2015 has gathered data, mapped information, and generated ideas to work with the community and public, private and voluntary bodies to identify 35 projects and project ideas to revitalise the waterways.

Projects incorporating a range of proposals for three areas of Saltford are:

  • Saltford Brass Mill - improved connectivity with cycle routes, visitor information, etc.;
  • The Shallows - a site wide approach which considers measures to improve the Shallows with its open space for visitors and residents and the adjoining parking with the restoration of panoramic views, a canoe hire station/café kiosk, and detailed proposals for the Shallows Slipway as a discreet element within the wider project area; and
  • Mead Lane - during 2016/17 a mooring trial has been implemented, and new white lines installed to discourage parking on the lane blocking private residences. A proposal is being developed to consider a traffic regulation order to further restrict parking on the lane.

There is also a proposal for a new access road (and bridge across the river) to the Wessex Water sewage treatment works to connect the site to the A431.

Comments are sought on the draft study report online between 6th April 2017 and 22nd May 2017. The draft report can be found on the B&NES website from this link: WaterSpace Study.

April 2017

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2017 Big Garden Birdwatch results: House Sparrow remains top

Over 8 million birds were counted in the 2017 Big Garden Birdwatch held on the weekend of 28/29 January. The top ten most commonly observed birds across the UK were (2016 position in brackets):-

   1. House Sparrow (1)
   2. Starling (2)
   3. Blackbird (4)
   4. Blue Tit (3)
   5. Wood Pigeon (5)
   6. Goldfinch (6)
   7. Robin (9)
   8. Great Tit (8)
   9. Chaffinch (7)
   10. Long-tailed Tit (10)

This year saw an increase in the numbers of birds visiting gardens. The RSPB say that regularly feeding the birds has a big positive impact, as well as other actions such as putting up a nest box or gardening with nature in mind. They wish to thank everyone who is giving nature a home in their garden: with more birds visiting gardens this year, there's a reward for your efforts.

This year's Big Garden Birdwatch saw a downturn in sightings of Blue Tits, Great Tits and Coal Tits - all down by at least 10% on last year's figures. The weather during the breeding season can have a big impact on these small birds. Last year's prolonged wet spell meant there were fewer caterpillars about for feeding their young. It's likely that this led to fewer younger birds surviving than usual, meaning there were fewer seen in gardens.

You can see the 2017 Big Garden Birdwatch results on the RSPB website from this link: Big Garden Birdwatch. If you are interested in learning more about the birds that are regularly observed in Saltford, these are listed on the right hand side of our wildlife page and each bird species listed is a link to full details on the RSPB website.

Information source: RSPB

April 2017

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April 2017 Newsletter

Future SEG website development - can you help?

Our website has become a very popular resource for our members and others, with over 2,000 unique visitors per month, typically opening over 5,000 pages. Using a relatively simple design and basic html approach, it has grown organically since 2011 into an extensive library of articles, themes, links etc.

Thinking of our ongoing ability to maintain and develop our website we are looking for someone who could give some time to support our Chairman Phil Harding with the html website in the short term, and potentially help us to transfer the site across to a new system such as WordPress in the future, as well as maintaining and developing our presence on social media. Do you have the relevant experience, interest and time to get involved? If so, please get in touch with our Secretary at mail@deborahwilkes.co.uk to talk further. You'll be at the heart of SEG's activities and a valued member of our team of volunteers.

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Newsletter - a move to something more flexible

The popularity and success of our website has made us realise that having a monthly newsletter might not be the most time-effective way to make sure you can access the information you want. All news articles appear on the website front page, as an open and ongoing newsletter, so we are planning to move away from a rigid practice of issuing newsletters every month. You can take a monthly or more regular dive into the website whenever it suits you.

We are grateful for suggested website contributions we receive from members and we of course continue to welcome those from you. When we do have particular news, for example on issues affecting Saltford's Green Belt or our campaigns, we will still email you, and we'll send occasional news alerts or newsletters.

So, this is our last monthly newsletter in this format, but we look forward to keeping in touch. Please contact our Secretary Debbie Cini at mail@deborahwilkes.co.uk with your comments on this, or any input for the website.

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Your photographs of Saltford

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Saltford Rowing Centre

Don't forget to submit your Saltford photographs (themes: people, landscape, historical, fun, and/or events) to Saltford Community Association for consideration for the exhibition at the festival and the 2018 Saltford Calendar. This is free to enter for amateur photographers with prizes for "Young photographer" and "Comedy photo".

Entries should be jpeg files (up to 10Mb) and sent to John Davies email j.j.davies@bath.ac.uk (tel: 01225--344976) by no later than Monday 8th May.

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Next Wombles litter pick (8 April)

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The next Saltford Wombles' litter-pick will be on Saturday 8th April (meet 9.30am at The Little Coffee Shop, Manor Road) - weather permitting. New participants are always welcome so if you haven't taken part in one of our litter-picks before, why not come along and see how satisfying it is to clear away unsightly litter?

If you want to get involved with Saltford Wombles contact Julie Sampson by email to: juliebsampson@gmail.com or tel: 01225--874603 or 07807--671--267.

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Get Ready for Easter the Upcyling Way (13 April)

Following our Upcycling Craft Group's Easter theme we will be polishing up the nests and rabbit jars we made in March. We all enjoy creating and as a group welcome any other ideas you may have and would like to try out. Look us up on our Facebook page, 'Make it Magic' to add your ideas and thoughts, or ring Frances so we can communicate everything to the group. Don't worry if you haven't got the basics like glue etc. as we always have a supply and all share what we have and skills.

Everyone welcome just come along on Thursday April 13th (NOTE CHANGE OF DATE), 7 - 9pm at Signs of Saltford workshop, 559 Bath Road, Saltford. Look us up on our Facebook page 'Make it Magic' to see the kind of things we do. If you would like to find out more, have a chat with Frances on 07789--528834. Frances and Tina are looking forward to meeting you.

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The parasitic Toothwort flowering in Saltford

We apologise that we have been unable to provide a photograph of this interesting plant for this article but it is easy to find on the web with a search for Lathraea squamaria.

Most plants generate their food using the energy from sunlight, and this ability is unique to plants; no animals or fungi can make food. A number of plants are semi-parasitic, photosynthesising some of their own food but taking the rest from other plants; Mistletoe (Viscum album) is an example conspicuous in Saltford. A special few have lost all ability to make their own food, feeding like fungi. Also like fungi, they can be invisible above ground for 11 months of the year; but most fully parasitic plants flower and set seed, briefly, in the open air. Coming across such plants' anaemically pale above-ground parts can be an exciting moment.

The most notorious British fully parasitic plant is Ghost Orchid (Epipogium aphyllum), which can go for decades without being seen anywhere in the country. More predictable in its appearance, but still a special find in most places, is Toothwort (Lathraea squamaria), a relative of foxgloves and toadflaxes. Toothwort is locally distributed in lowland Britain, being rather scarce in our area: the 2000 Flora of the Bristol region traced records from only 72 (of the approx. 1500) 1km squares in the former county of Avon.

Many years can pass between its appearances in Saltford. This year, 2017, several clumps have come up in Saltford Mead, in the large field beside the River Avon on the Saltford bank immediately upstream of Swineford Lock (i.e., the third field downstream from the Jolly Sailor). These plants can be viewed from the public footpath along the bank, growing under the row of trees planted in the mid 1980s. The spikes grow straight out of the ground up to about six to eight inches high; at this time of year (early spring) there is little other fresh vegetation at this height. This, combined with the spikes' denture-like appearance, renders them conspicuous.

There are no confusion species: the only close relative growing in Britain, the introduced Purple Toothwort (Lathraea clandestina), looks very different. Photographs of both can be found readily on the internet; search using the scientific name Lathraea to avoid confusion with the unrelated American plant Cut-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata), a close relative of various British species here called bittercresses.

Toothwort is most associated with Hazel (Corylus avellana). Surprisingly, although there are some Hazels in this strip of trees, the Toothwort clumps are not close to large Hazels. Either, they are tapping into the roots of other species, or Toothwort roots spread a long distance through the soil. Please do not attempt to find out; it is illegal to dig out Toothwort in England without the landowner's permission.

British Toothwort flowers remain at their gruesome best only briefly. Anyone wishing to view these plants should not delay a visit.

Article by Will Duckworth.

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Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 30th April

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If you are able to get yourself up early, why not join our friends at the Keynsham and Saltford Branch of the Avon Wildlife Trust for a few hours listening to, and watching the birds get up after a night's roosting? This year's Dawn Chorus will be held on Sunday 30th April 4.30am - 8.00am, starting at Saltford Shallows car park.

This really is a great way to learn how to identify from their songs the many birds that are found in Saltford. Songs of all common species will be pointed out and their identification features clarified. The walk will follow the railway path cycle track towards Bath, and back again along the river. Wrap up warm as it can be very cold that early. Binoculars and a bird identification guide will be helpful for once it gets light. Above all you need good ears to be able to pick out the 30+ different species the annual walk normally finds! A hot flask of your favourite beverage is recommended.

For further information and to confirm your attendance, contact Dave Sage on mobile 07899--716068 the week before the event.

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Festival of Nature, 8 - 25 June

Established in 2003, the Festival of Nature is the UK's biggest free celebration of the natural world. The Festival began as a two-day showcase of interactive activities and live entertainment across Bristol's Harbourside, and in recent years has grown to include an ever-expanding programme of events across the city and region throughout the summer. Festival of Nature now includes free flagship family events in Bristol, Keynsham and Bath, as well as a range of fringe activity across the West of England.

More information can be found online at www.festivalofnature.org.uk.

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New parking restrictions for Saltford

B&NES Council has prepared an order under provisions contained in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, the effect of which will introduce variations to restrictions in Keynsham and Saltford.

For Saltford this is to introduce no parking at any time in lengths of Beech Road, Manor Road, Tyning Road and Rodney Road and the removal of no parking at any time in lengths of Manor Road.

According to B&NES the "order will come into operation on 30th March 2017 and a copy, together with a map and a Statement of the Council's Reasons for making the order may be inspected at The One Stop Shops at Manvers Street, Bath, The Hollies, Midsomer Norton and at the Civic Centre, Market Walk, Keynsham during normal office hours."

"Any person who desires to question the validity of, or any provision contained in the order on the grounds that it is not within the powers of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, or on the grounds that any of the relevant requirements of that Act has not been complied with in relation to the order, may within six weeks after the date on which the order was made, apply to the High Court for this purpose."

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A4 traffic through Saltford down 12%

photograph
Traffic in Saltford was very different in 1906(!)

There has been a drop of 12% in the total number of vehicles travelling on the A4 Bath Road since the peak of 2002.

Traffic count data from B&NES Council of the weekday average total number of vehicles in 24 hours on the A4 at Saltford from 1998 to 2016 was made known at the Saltford Parish Council meeting on 7th March. The data is shown below.

Very little traffic passes along the A4 between 8pm in the evening and 6am in the morning. Not surprisingly, traffic volumes normally peak daily between 7am and 8am and between 4pm and 6pm. On Fridays the morning traffic builds up more slowly.

A4 Bath Rd, volumetric 24 hr, 5-day average

Both directions combined.

1998   29911
1999   30117
2000   29998
2001   29869
2002   31075 (Peak year)
2003   30460
2004   30342
2005   30493
2006   No data
2007   No data
2008   No data
2009   29534
2010   28841
2011   28952
2012   29026
2013   29053
2014   No data (Kelston Road closure)
2015   27747
2016   27368 (provisional)

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Mayoral Candidate backs the reopening of Saltford station

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West of England Regional Mayoral Candidate Stephen Williams (Lib Dem, formerly MP for Bristol West and coalition government minister) visited Saltford on 6th March 2017 to discuss his backing for the reopening of the railway station at Saltford as part of the MetroWest project. He is pictured here (centre) at Saltford station site with Chairman of Saltford Parish Council and station campaign leader Chris Warren (left) and Adrian Betts (right), Chairman of Saltford Parish Council's Planning Committee.

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March 2017 Newsletter

Discovering Roman Saltford: Geophysics survey report published

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The geophysics survey in Saltford underway again, November 2016.

On 6th February 2017 SEG published the final report complete with expert analysis from our colleagues at Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society (BACAS). SEG assisted BACAS complete the geophysics search for a Roman dwelling in November 2016.

Below is a geophysics image from day 2 of the survey; as can be seen there is evidence of a major building (villa?) measuring up to approximately 70 metres in length and 40 to 50 metres in width that appears to have been discovered. This discovery in the parish of Saltford of a major structure that is probably Roman is a first for recorded history in modern times.

image

To the left (west) of the building are two large ditches running east-west. These might be for retaining livestock, irrigation or some other purpose.

As described in the final 2016 report, in the north western corner of the field an area of magnetic disturbance appears to indicate a structure but magnetometry has not provided a clear image. A trackway running up the west side of the field is also visible over part of its length. There also appears a pair of short, intense strong lines on the east side of the field, approximately 45 metres in from the field margin. It is not obvious what these represent, possibly the sides of a washing pool.

In the east portion of the field, a series of east - west lines, unevenly spaced, may be part of an earlier field system, perhaps medieval.

image
One of the LIDAR images from the survey final report.
Processed data shows Coffin Field & surrounding area.
© BACAS

LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) imaging was introduced for the 2016 survey report (courtesy of Andy McGrandle of BigAnomaly). This usefully provides complementary information in the form of landscape archaeology revealing many features of archaeological interest in the surrounding fields including evidence of an earlier and ancient field system, possibly Roman, and other features (mounds and other structures).

SEG is very grateful to the landowner, Adam Stratton, for allowing access to the field, to BACAS for carrying out this geophysics survey, for the assistance of survey volunteers from BACAS and SEG named in the report and to Andy McGrandle of BigAnomaly for the LIDAR imagery.

SEG is now in the early stages of discussing with BACAS the next steps for revealing more about this important find.

You can find the final survey report that includes technical data and imaging in the "Roman Saltford" section of our Online Museum.

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Litter: Wombles (11 March) and tackling everyday litter

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The next Saltford Wombles' litter-pick will be on Saturday 11th March (meet 9.30am at The Little Coffee Shop, Manor Road) - weather permitting. If you haven't taken part in a litter-pick before, why not come along and see how satisfying it is to clear the litter that spoils our village?

We would like to thank everyone who already takes the care and trouble to pick up litter when they see it in Saltford. One way we can all help to discourage litter is to remove it when it appears so that litter in our village is the exception, not the norm. We want to encourage everyone to remove litter from the pavements at and near their own properties so that together we can make a difference in keeping our village cleaner and tidier. Many residents already do this as a matter of course but the more of us who do this, the less there will be to pick up.

Information about Saltford Wombles and street volunteers, individuals or families who remove litter from the area where they live or regularly walk, is on our "Less Waste" page. If you want to get involved contact Julie Sampson by email to: juliebsampson@gmail.com or tel: 01225--874603 or 07807--671--267.

P.S. The provisional date for the Wombles April litter pick is Saturday 8th April (meet 9.30am at The Little Coffee Shop, Manor Road).

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Great British Spring Clean - Blitz it by Bike - cycle path clear up (4 March)

Organised by one of our members, Simone Burke, volunteers from the Environment Agency Bristol Office's Bike Users Group along with anyone who wants to join in (fellow cyclists, community members and residents) are doing a Blitz it by Bike - cycle path litter clear up. This will start at the Bristol entrance on St Philip's Rd, 10am, Saturday 4th March and working "Blitzing it by Bike" to Warmley Waiting Rooms Café.

Keen cycling members interested in this can find details from this external web link.

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Get Ready for Easter the Upcycling Way (24 March)

THE DATE FOR OUR EASTER SESSION HAS CHANGED TO 24th MARCH (previously 23rd)

What can you do with a balloon, odds and ends of wool, jam jars and shredded paper?

Well, how about an Easter egg with sweets in, a paper nest for Easter eggs or chicks and an Easter bunny sweet jar? If you have any odds and bods of knitting wool or thin twine/string and a jam jar with a lid please bring them along, we will have some if you haven't and we all share. We will have the eggs, balloons, shredded paper and some jam jars so don't worry if you haven't got any. The only other item needed is a bowl that can be lined with cling film to use as a frame to make your nest on.

Everyone welcome just pop in on Friday March 24th (NOTE REVISED DATE), 7 - 9pm at Signs of Saltford workshop, 559 Bath Road, Saltford. Look us up on our Facebook page 'Make it Magic' to see the kind of things we do. If you would like to find out more about our Upcycling Craft Group, have a chat with Frances on 07789--528834. Frances and Tina are looking forward to meeting you.

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Saltford Photo Exhibition

Photograph

Saltford Community Association is inviting all local residents to participate in the photo exhibition for the 2017 Saltford Village Festival that is being held in June. This is free to enter for amateur photographers with prizes for "Young photographer" and "Comedy photo".

Photographs must be taken in Saltford and suitable photographs will also be considered for the 2018 Saltford calendar. Entries can cover one or more of these themes:

  • People
  • Landscape
  • Historical
  • Fun
  • Events

Entries should be jpeg files (up to 10Mb) and sent to John Davies email j.j.davies@bath.ac.uk (tel: 01225--344976) by no later than Monday 8th May.

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Our village in the 1950s

Photograph
This 19th Century photograph of Saltford depicts
a similar landscape described in the 1950s.
(Photo courtesy of Clevedon Civic Society & Woodspring Museum.)

SEG has recently published in our history project's Online Museum key extracts from "Our Village", the 1959 un-illustrated brochure produced by Saltford W.I. 58 years ago. Published on 10 February 1959 this was compiled by six members of Saltford Women's Institute with "knowledge gained from various sources" and was kindly loaned to SEG by long-term resident Margaret Stabbins whose mother had been a W.I. member in the 1950s.

This provides a rare description of 1950s Saltford, a village "pleasantly situated on the South bank of a particularly picturesque portion of the River Avon" and where "steep, winding paths and curious old streets and lanes combine to give it a romantic attractiveness which one cannot fail to appreciate." Furthermore Saltford had "a quaint old world appearance due in a measure to its position on the slopes of a hill and to the almost medieval character of some of its habitations."

Below are just a few edited extracts concerning the village and the river from this quaint historical record:-

THE VILLAGE

The village has not been altered for many years, the chief characteristic feature being the rows of cottages built at angles off the road through the village. They have no back entrance or garden but have good front gardens.

Most of the village people are engaged on railway maintenance at Keynsham, Bristol or Bath. Some are agricultural workers.

At the cross roads in the village is the World War I Memorial, a dignified and simple Celtic Cross, surrounded by a tiny garden. Names have also been added of casualties in World War II.

The main Bristol-London road, the upper end of Saltford, is now given to ribbon development, modern houses, many of which are dormitories for residents occupied in nearby towns. On each side, off the main road, there are Council houses of various types, about two hundred in all. These are planned and arranged to give space and beauty for the occupants.

We have a very energetic Community Association, which is working hard to raise funds for a new Community Centre on the Sports ground. This is badly needed as the W.I. Hut is the only hall available for all the local activities.

The only shops in the old village are a news agent a grocery store but a number of other shops and a post office line a portion of the main Bristol-Bath road and these satisfy most every-day needs.

THE RIVER

It is a very pretty stretch of the river, with weirs adjoining both locks. Willow trees overhang into the river in places and here moorhens build their nests, such a charming picture they make when wee black, fluffy chicks are seen paddling about with their parents.

Swans also nest on the banks and are equally delightful to watch, gliding down the river in single file, with a parent bird at each end of the line of young cygnets. They are far more aggressive when nesting or protecting their young and will readily attack at any unwarranted interference.

There is plenty of fishing in season. The patient fishermen sit or stand all day, wet or fine, on the grassy banks and are sometimes rewarded with good catches of roach etc. At one time eels were caught in traps and sold in neighbouring towns.

Water rats or voles are sometimes seen, searching for food. They are pretty creatures with furry, mud-coloured coats. A lovely sight is the kingfisher, its brilliant blue plumage and large beak catching the sunlight, making it into a flying jewel.

During the summer months, especially at week-end, the river is alive with punts, rowing boats, canoes and similar craft, the main feature being the annual Saltford Regatta.

Many clubs use the river, the Clifton Rowing Club among others, having their own boat-houses there. Sea scouts also make full use of the water for their nautical training and camp in the adjoining fields.

The Shallows were so called because in olden times, before there were any weirs or locks, the tide came up to Saltford and where the road is low, there was a ford, or shallow place, where one could cross to the Kelston side of the river. A swift stream ran down the middle about a yard wide, which had to be jumped. The road is now very much higher than it was then, when it was often flooded. There was a flood path for foot passengers and it led through No. 2 Willow Cottages and up the field at the top of the Rectory. The door has been nailed up for a good many years but for a long time there was a strong piece of chain and a padlock on the inside of the stair door.

FURTHER INFORMATION FROM THE FULL DOCUMENT

The document also describes the brass mill, the Jolly Sailor and other pubs, St Mary's church, the railway station, and some of the sporting activities including the golf club. You can download the full online document we have produced from this direct link:- "Our Village" (pdf opens in new window). For future reference it is in the Online Museum, 20th Century (page 2, "Miscellaneous").

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Plans for Keynsham High Street one-way trial

Members may wish to be aware that B&NES Council has announced details of the one-way trial for Keynsham High Street.

The trial scheme is in response to public support for the idea; residents in Keynsham wished to see an improved shopping experience, with reduced traffic making it quieter and less congested. If the trial is successful, it would enable permanent improvements to be made such as widening of the footways to give pedestrians more space.

As part of the Keynsham, High Street trial, the following changes will take place:

  • A one-way system will work southbound on the High Street from Charlton Road towards Bath Hill.
  • A new bus stop will be added southbound, while a cycle contraflow will be created northbound towards Charlton Road.
  • At the end of the High Street, all southbound traffic except buses, taxis and bicycles will need to turn left down Bath Hill.
  • The current roundabout at the top of Bath Hill will be removed, creating a junction here between the High Street and Bath Hill/Temple Street. There will be no right turn into the High Street for traffic coming up Bath Hill.

Ashton Way will remain two-way to all traffic. If the trial is successful, implementation of a permanent one-way system would enable more significant changes to be made to the High Street in future. These could include widening of the pedestrian areas and additional street furniture such as more public seating.

Construction is expected to start in Ashton Way on Monday 27 February, with the trial layout expected to come into effect in May.

During the trial, B&NES will be undertaking a paper-based and online consultation process with the public about how they would like to see the space on the High Street developed. The project web page at www.bathnes.gov.uk/keynsham will feature news and updates regarding opportunities to get involved in this process.

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Saltford Heritage Centre: SPC backs PCC

photograph
St Mary's Church Hall (2016)

At its February meeting Saltford Parish Council approved a grant of £1,000 to St Mary's Parochial Church Council towards the cost of redecorating and other related internal improvements in the church hall as a venue for hosting Saltford's Heritage Centre.

The PCC has already started to make progress on decorating the hall and the financial assistance generously provided by the Parish Council demonstrates its support for this project to help Saltford as a community gain a better knowledge and appreciation of its heritage.

As reported previously, SEG and the PCC are working together with the aim of having the early beginnings of the Heritage Centre ready for the Saltford Festival in June (2017).

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Healthy sustainable food in the West of England

If we do not permit the Earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food either - Joseph Woodkrutch

Those SEG members who are involved with public catering and food procurement/supply may wish to be aware that a West of England Food Procurement Group has been set up by the 4 West of England local authorities to provide leadership on healthy and sustainable food procurement.

Membership includes procurement, catering and public health staff from the four West of England local authorities - Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset - along with representatives from local supply groups and other partners. The group works together to exchange information, share best practice and identify initiatives and actions to support healthy and sustainable food procurement across the West of England.

If you want to know more visit www.bathnes.gov.uk/sustainablefoodprocurement where guidance, tools, local suppliers and information on awards to support healthy and sustainable food procurement can be found.

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Incentive to recycle more as waste collections go fortnightly in November

With all waste or pollution, someone somewhere pays for it...

Here is the latest informatiomn from B&NES Council on the change to fortnightly waste collections:-

Most households across Bath and North East Somerset will be changing to every other week collection for their rubbish from 6 November. B&NES will be providing a 140 litre wheeled bin for the storage and collection of rubbish. B&NES realise that one size does not fit all, so in a small number of cases where a 140 litre wheeled bin is not suitable for a property, or family situation, they may provide a larger bin or a re-useable rubbish bag to contain rubbish for collection.

Recycling collections, including food waste will remain weekly and the emphasis from B&NES will be on encouraging everyone to use this weekly service to its full potential.

From 9-13 March all households will be sent a personalised letter informing them how the changes will affect them - most letters will be included in the envelope with your Council Tax Bill.

This letter will let you know whether B&NES has allocated your property a wheeled bin or re-useable rubbish bag for rubbish collection, and the frequency of your rubbish collection. The letter is for information and no response will be needed. If you are concerned that the container B&NES has allocated is not appropriate for your specific property, or if despite recycling all you can, you feel that your household will not manage with the allocated container you will be able to complete an online query form.

Why are B&NES introducing the changes?

1. To keep our streets cleaner

Containing rubbish in a bin or re-usable bag will prevent animals and birds ripping open bags and making a mess which is unpleasant for everyone and costs us to clear up.

2. To recycle more

B&NES have a very comprehensive recycling collection where you can already recycle 17 different types of household waste every week. We know that some residents can recycle more than they are currently doing - about 75% of a household's waste can be recycled using the current collections, but B&NES still find that over half of an average rubbish bag consists of items that could have been recycled. Local research shows that if you recycle all you can you will still have space left in your rubbish bin when collected every other week.

The change will help to encourage everyone to use their food recycling collection - only about 50% of households currently use this. About a third of the waste in black sacks currently is food.

3. To save money

Every lorry load of waste costs £1000 to dispose of whilst every lorry load of recycling earns an income of £100, so reducing the amount put out as rubbish is essential.

You can find out more at www.bathnes.gov.uk/recycle.

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Opportunity to coordinate local habitat project

photograph
Crosswort growing on the railway habitat restoration project area.

Just a reminder that Saltford Environment Group is looking for a new volunteer to be our railway path habitat restoration project coordinator as our existing coordinator, who did a great job getting things organised, has had to step down due to other commitments. This local project has seen some notable successes:

  • The return of a number of rare and unusual plants to the area.
  • Fantastic views recreated across to the village and the river.
  • Thanks and congratulations from Railway Path users.
  • Some first class efforts from our team of community volunteers and from Saltford's Guides, Beavers and Scout groups.
  • Removal from the upper and middle slope of the previous large population of the unwelcome alien invasive Himalayan Balsam.

The area needs some concerted effort over the next 2-3 years to prevent the area from reverting back to scrub and trees: obscuring views and shading some of the rare sun-loving plants that have so recently returned. This work is likely to involve:

  • Regular practical volunteer sessions during the growing season - pulling invasive weeds such as nettles and brambles (6 - 8 sessions per year).
  • Monthly strimming sessions (during the growing season) - shared between volunteers.

This is a great opportunity for someone with good organisational skills to help deliver a really exciting project: restoring a rare and beautiful habitat and bringing members of the community together through fun, practical activities.

No prior experience of wildlife conservation projects is required and there will be plenty of opportunities to learn more about the rare and beautiful plants and animals which would otherwise disappear from our area, to make new friends and learn new skills along the way. We are looking for someone with a can-do attitude and the enthusiasm to engage with volunteers and provide more of a social side to this worthwhile activity.

If this opportunity to manage and develop a small yet interesting and local outdoor project appeals to you, to express an interest please contact our Vice-Chairman Chris Warren (email cherokee1883@live.com).

The project has its own webpage: link >>

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February 2017 Newsletter

Can you help SEG find this 1860 painting?

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1860 painting of the River Avon

This (old) monochrome print of a Constable style painting of the River Avon was amongst the Percy Sims collection of Saltford photographs. The late Percy Sims was the author of the well known 1976 book 'A History of Saltford Village'.

The image is in our History of Saltford project's Online Museum but SEG would very much like to trace the actual painting so that we can photograph it in colour and thus share it in its full glory with residents and others. Do you know who has this particular painting? If so please contact SEG's Chairman.

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Imaginative Frames

Do you have any old picture frames at the back of your cupboards? Then now is the time to get them out and dust them down. With a bit of imagination you can transform them into something beautiful for nothing. Modern, vintage, rustic - something for yourself, family and friends. Whatever you choose it will be unique.

To find out how this can be done, bring along your finds on Thursday February 16th with anything you may wish to decorate your frames with. Buttons, old maps, newspaper, twine, ribbon, the list is endless. We will have some frames and as usual we share ideas and finds.

Pop along and join Tina and Frances at Signs of Saltford, 559 Bath Road, Saltford where we meet in the workshop from 7-9pm. Our UPCYCLING CRAFT GROUP is free and fun for everyone, no experience needed. Phone Frances on 07789--528834 if you would like to find out more.

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Are you or your organisation a keen recycler? A chance to star!

How do you do it in your home/school/workplace?

B&NES Council need all kinds of resident recyclers to star in their campaign in 2017. Instead of using generic pictures, they want real Bath and North East Somerset residents! They want you to show how you recycle, to encourage others to recycle more, and to help people get ready for the change to every other week rubbish collections starting in November.

They want your stories, photos, videos and recycling tips to share with others and are keen to hear from individuals and groups - including schools, families, housemates, work groups - and show how you do it in your home/school/workplace.

They want to use your photos and stories mainly for their social media campaign. If there is anything unusual about how you recycle and/or you have a fun way to recycle or a humorous tale to tell please also get in touch with them by email wastecampaigns@bathnes.gov.uk - they welcome creative ideas. You can send your photos/stories/tips/videos to them or nominate recycling star(s).

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Don't buy it, Borrow It!

Did you know that the average drill is only used for 13 minutes during its entire lifetime? Bath Borrow It has been set up by TimeBank Plus in Twerton and will offer people in B&NES the opportunity to borrow a range of useful items which are needed only for occasional use, such as tools, household and gardening equipment, catering utensils, camping items, children & baby equipment, etc. - it could be anything from a hedge trimmer to a sewing machine, a gazebo or a chocolate fountain!

The Bath Borrow It project will provide a way to reduce waste and clutter, make better use of resources and help people to save money.

Details can be found on the timebankplus.co.uk/wp/ website. They are currently advertising their Wish List of items for loan. The telephone number for enquiries is 01225--442813.

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New opportunity to coordinate local habitat project

photograph
Crosswort growing on the railway habitat restoration project area.

Saltford Environment Group is looking for a new volunteer to be our railway path habitat restoration project coordinator as our existing coordinator, who did a great job getting things organised, has had to step down due to other commitments. This local project has seen some notable successes:

  • The return of a number of rare and unusual plants to the area.
  • Fantastic views recreated across to the village and the river.
  • Thanks and congratulations from Railway Path users.
  • Some first class efforts from our team of community volunteers and from Saltford's Guides, Beavers and Scout groups.
  • Removal from the upper and middle slope of the previous large population of the unwelcome alien invasive Himalayan Balsam.

The area needs some concerted effort over the next 2-3 years to prevent the area from reverting back to scrub and trees: obscuring views and shading some of the rare sun-loving plants that have so recently returned. This work is likely to involve:

  • Regular practical volunteer sessions during the growing season - pulling invasive weeds such as nettles and brambles (6 - 8 sessions per year).
  • Monthly strimming sessions (during the growing season) - shared between volunteers.

This is a great opportunity for someone with good organisational skills to help deliver a really exciting project: restoring a rare and beautiful habitat and bringing members of the community together through fun, practical activities.

No prior experience of wildlife conservation projects is required and there will be plenty of opportunities to learn more about the rare and beautiful plants and animals which would otherwise disappear from our area, to make new friends and learn new skills along the way. We are looking for someone with a can-do attitude and the enthusiasm to engage with volunteers and provide more of a social side to this worthwhile activity.

If this opportunity to manage and develop a small yet interesting and local outdoor project appeals to you, to express an interest please contact our Vice-Chairman Chris Warren (email cherokee1883@live.com).

The project has its own webpage: link >>

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The Grey Herons in Saltford

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Grey Heron by the River Avon, Saltford.

Grey Herons (species name Ardea cinerea) can frequently be seen along the River Avon in Saltford - especially searching out fish near the weirs, and visiting gardens with ponds. This prehistoric looking bird with its dagger like bill, long legs and S-shaped neck is one of our most unmistakable all-year round residents.

Their carnivorous diet consists principally of fish, but also small birds such as ducklings, small mammals like voles, and amphibians. After harvest, Grey Herons can sometimes be seen in our fields, searching out rodents. Similarly, after floods, they visit fields where various marooned fish and flooded land animals are easy pickings.

The Grey Heron is not currently a threatened species; in fact it is increasing its range, and is now more abundant in Britain than it has ever been since monitoring of heronries began in the 1920s. This may be due to an increase in winter temperatures and less persecution. Over the last half-century herons have become noticeably less shy in Saltford, again probably reflecting lowered persecution.

Here are some interesting facts about herons:-

  • With a wing span of around 6ft Grey Herons are the largest birds most of us will ever see in our garden.
  • In medieval times the heron was a favourite quarry of falconers who valued its great flying skills and ability to evade the falcon's stoops
  • Roast herons were also popular at medieval banquets: the young birds, called branchers, were thought to be the best to eat.
  • Herons are sociable birds when nesting, usually nesting in long-established heronries. It's not unusual for a single tree to hold as many as 10 nests although herons also breed solitarily.
  • The biggest heronry in Britain is currently at Northward Hill in Kent, an RSPB reserve. Numbers here have peaked at over 200 nests, but the current total is around 150.
  • Heronries are usually in tall trees. However, reed-bed heronries are not unusual, and they will also nest on cliffs, bushes, and sometimes even on buildings or bridges.
  • There are a number of small heronries within a few miles of Saltford, but none within Saltford itself. During the time when the young are in the nest (late spring and early summer) the adults can be seen flying between heronry and feeding area.
  • A number of British heronries also have Little Egrets (species name Egretta garzetta) nesting alongside the Herons. The Little Egret is a scarce but regular visitor to Saltford, particularly during floods.
  • 4 or 5 eggs are laid towards the end of March, though often earlier in mild winters. Both parents share the incubation of the eggs, which takes 25 to 26 days. The young are fed on regurgitated fish and fledge after 7 to 8 weeks.

Information sources:
www.rspb.org.uk, www.arkive.org and Will Duckworth.

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Saltford Weather Station

photograph
River Avon in Saltford breaking its banks after prolonged rainfall, November 2012.

2016 was the hottest year globally on record, according to NASA, and of the 17 hottest years ever recorded, 16 have now occurred since 2000. We know that extreme weather events such as droughts, storms and floods together with changing weather patterns are becoming increasingly the norm.

Members are reminded that SEG's Saltford Weather Station on our Climate Change page provides the 5-day local weather forecast, flood alerts, and a direct link to the constantly updated river level here in Saltford.

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January 2017 Newsletter

SEG publishes image of the oldest painting of Saltford

image
The Miller's House (later Jolly Sailor), c.1728. Courtesy of Carl Say.
A larger version of this image is in our Online Museum.

SEG has published just before Christmas this fascinating painting for everyone to see as part of our history project. Many residents were dismayed to see this painting leave Saltford in 1993 after it had been in the Jolly Sailor for some 265 years.

The original painting itself, oil on wood panel, was over 5 feet wide. We have scanned to a high resolution a small and rare photograph taken of the painting in the 1990s, digitally cleaned and colour corrected it, and the resulting image is now on SEG's website looking magnificent (the image above is a small version).

The following describes the painting and its historical context and is from our Online Museum where you can see a much larger version of the painting:-

~

Measuring 167.2cm x 64.2cm (5' 5.75" x 2' 1.25") and dated at c.1728 by art experts and industrial archaeologists, this is the oldest known painting depicting a Saltford scene.

The lock had been opened in 1727 when the Avon Navigation was opened linking Bath to Bristol. It is thought that the house became an inn, the Jolly Sailor, from the 1740s; the first recorded landlord, from 1749 to 1789, was Francis Hunt.

Despite its simplicity and stretched perspective the painting is an important industrial and social historical record for the River Avon and Saltford. It provides a rare depiction of activity on the river soon after the locks had been built by Bristol-based civil and mechanical engineer John Padmore that allowed river traffic to bypass Saltford and Kelston weirs.

As the somewhat grand house is central to the picture it is thought that this painting may have been commissioned by the mill owner at the time, Mr Faux.

The painting depicts the miller's home (central building), the paper mill itself (left-hand building) that was also at one time a leather mill, the drying house (right-hand building), and the new Saltford Lock.

In the central foreground is the lock island with steps, the original lock gates and beams. On the river can be seen a variety of boats including a wherry (left of picture, with square sail), passenger and other pleasure boats with red flags, small rowing boats, a cargo carrying barge with sail (centre within the lock) and a barge pulled by men (right).

This was before landowners along the river permitted horses onto their land for pulling barges. Concerned that heavy horses would damage their land, horses for pulling barges were not allowed access. However, lobbying and a petition from local manufacturers along the river led to the passing of the Amendment Act of 1807 (47 Geo III c.129) that allowed for a horse towpath along the river.

The painting shows a sense of prosperity for the Bath to Bristol area, sustained by the industrial activity of the many mills along the River Avon and the amount of river traffic including for pleasure use that had become possible by the new navigation as a result of the installation of locks.

This new navigation enabled the river journey by wherry in 1728 of Princess Amelia the daughter of King George II from Bath to Hanham through Saltford - details of her journey can be found in our Online Museum as well as an account of the destruction of Saltford Lock by rioting Kingswood coal miners in 1738.

~

A larger version of the painting can be viewed in our Online Museum on the 18th Century page.

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Saltford Heritage Centre: Starting to take shape

photograph
St Mary's Church Hall (2016)

Whilst the development and planning for the centre is still in its early stages, discussions and planning behind the scenes continue to take place for this volunteer run community resource.

SEG should like to thank everyone who took the time to answer our short online survey from 14 September to the end of December 2016. Although the response rate was fairly low, and thus typical for surveys of this nature, the enthusiasm for the idea of establishing a Heritage Centre at the Church Hall in Saltford, for SEG's history project and the range of supportive ideas and comments were encouraging to read.

All respondents were in favour and 98% would visit the centre at least once or twice a year with 38% interested in visiting the centre more than twice a year. Whilst SEG's Online Museum had the highest single preference (35%) for finding out about Saltford's history, those preferring the Heritage Centre or having no preference was 57%. Most respondents (36%) were in the 35-44 age range.

These comments from the online survey are typical of the responses we have received:

"Ideal venue for the local and wider community"

"It's a great idea, for local people and for visitors"

"It's important that the Heritage Centre doesn't become just a collection of artefacts... Outreach to our local schools and other cultural centres, e.g. the Brass Mill, would help keep it fresh"

"SEG's history project is great; the heritage centre would complement the online material"

We are in regular contact with the Parochial Church Council as plans unfold for the church hall's redecoration and other internal improvements, and we shall aim to keep residents and SEG members informed as plans develop further. We aim to have the early beginnings of the Heritage Centre ready for the Saltford Festival in June (2017).

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Sale of last remaining 2017 Saltford Calendars

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The Saltford Calendar 2017 (front cover)

SCA are selling the last remaining unsold calendars for half price (£3) from the SCA office on the 1st floor of Saltford Hall on weekday mornings from Tuesday 3rd January. If you missed out on getting a calendar or want some for friends and family you can take advantage of this special low price while remaining stocks last.

As production costs have now been recovered future proceeds from this joint SEG/SCA initiative are split 50/50 between SCA and SEG to help further their voluntary work supporting the local community.

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Get involved with the Big Garden Birdwatch 2017 (28-29 Jan)

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The Robin came 9th in 2016.

In 2017 the world's largest wildlife survey, the Big Garden Birdwatch 2017, takes place over three days: Sat 28th - Mon 30th January. You can find out how you and your family can get involved on the RSPB website from this link ww2.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch.

Facts from the 2016 Big Garden Birdwatch:-

  • The House Sparrow kept its place at the top spot with around four appearing in each garden.
  • The Long-tailed Tit was a new entry in the top 10 for 2016, flying in at 10th position.
  • The Blackbird was the most widespread garden bird, appearing in 88% of gardens. However, their numbers have declined since the first Birdwatch in 1979.
  • There were more sightings of the tiny Goldcrest in 2016. Along with its cousin, the Firecrest, it's Britain's smallest bird.

Attracting birds to your garden

The RSPB website gives lots of useful advice on how to make your garden more bird friendly and how best to attract wild birds into your garden. Our Wildlife page section on Birds also gives feeding tips and reminds members that feeding bread to wild birds is strongly advised against as the nutritional value of bread is relatively low for birds (an 'empty filler'), uneaten bread can attract rats, and a bird that is on a diet of predominantly or only bread can suffer from serious vitamin deficiencies, or starve.

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Saltford Upcycling Craft Group, 12th Jan

The New Year brings a challenge and change of date for our first meeting in January.

1 - THE CHALLENGE
To create something from those random odds and ends you have around the house.

2 - ACTIONS:
Start looking for and collecting things you have at home that you just can't throw away. Save anything from your Christmas recycling bits and pieces that you're not sure what to do with, but are too good to put out. We know you have some... Put on your creative thinking hat and bring your finds along on JANUARY 12th.

3 - THE CHALLENGE BEGINS:
Start creating by sharing goodies, ideas and skills.

4 - SOMETHING ACHIEVED:
Seeing something transformed that would normally be passed by.

5 - TAKE HOME SOMETHING THAT IS TOTALLY UNIQUE AND MADE BY YOU

Everyone is welcome to come along to our free, friendly craft evening; Tina and Frances always have the basic tools for you to use and bits and pieces to help you along. Do give Frances a ring on 07789--528834 if you would like to find out more about our group.

We meet at: Signs of Saltford (works entrance), 559 Bath Road, Saltford, Thursday 12th January, 7-9pm.

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SEG responds to JSP and JTS consultations

SEG submitted its response to the West of England's consultation on the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) and Joint Transport Study (JTS) on 10th December. NOTE: The deadline for submitting comments via https://www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk was 19th December.

Some of the key comments included in SEG's response were as follows:-

Joint Spatial Plan (JSP)

The proposed JSP fails to empower or take account of the emerging role that WoE Councils could have in building housing themselves rather than private sector developers. WoE Councils would thereby determine timescales and location sequencing of their own choosing and in line with improved transport infrastructure.

There is an insufficient emphasis on the urgent need to drastically reduce car commuting.

Joint Transport Study (JTS)

Insufficient investment in heavy rail solutions has been proposed whilst too high a priority is given to road building (that simply attracts more car use) despite the lack of space and the need to transfer commuting away from the car. Attention should be been given to investigate the possibility of additional use of the existing disused rail corridors in the region, for example the Avon Valley railway line currently shares the Bristol-Bath cycle path with cyclists. A study could be made to see if this could be extended in both directions to provide a modern LRT (Light Rail Tram/Train) alongside a cycle way.

New road proposals represent poor value for money and can create new or worse problems further along the commuter route/corridor compared to improved public transport infrastructure for tackling peak time congestion. They can also have negative impacts on established communities without addressing the cause of bottlenecks.

Saltford Environment Group shares Saltford Parish Council's opposition to the proposed bypass at Saltford for several reasons including loss of the Green Belt, the negative impact on the environment, local commerce, and the integrity of Saltford as a place. Furthermore it is important that the proposed bypass route shown as a blue line south of Saltford is removed from the next version of this JTS document. The publication of a route line/option or series of options will cause a housing blight for a significant proportion of Saltford that could last as long as the duration of the JTS period.

A strategic look at all the transport options for Saltford and the surrounding area is required but does not need to show a Saltford bypass route on a map when there are no firm plans for a bypass and it is being considered as one of a number of traffic congestion mitigation measures.

SEG questions the proposal to put an LRT scheme on an existing road corridor like the A4 through Saltford, particularly when other options that do not affect road space need to be considered first, e.g. an LRT sharing the Bristol-Bath cycle path with cyclists as partially happens now with the Avon Valley Railway. Investment in heavy rail can provide a better, longer term solution. An LRT scheme on the A4 through Saltford would reduce road space for existing car-based commuters when there are better transport solutions that can be delivered much more quickly such as re-opening Saltford station.

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SEG responds to B&NES Core Strategy consultation by highlighting local Green Belt policies

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Keep Saltford's Green Belt green!

In response to the B&NES Council review of its Core Strategy and consultation on the proposed content, scope and programme for the Core Strategy Review for the period 2016-2036, SEG has submitted the following response on 7th December to the question "Do you have any specific observations to make on the Core Strategy review?" :-

   The public commitment on 1st December 2016 by the Leader of B&NES Council, Cllr Tim Warren, at the public meeting in Saltford about a proposed bypass that there was not any housing development planned for Saltford is welcomed by Saltford Environment Group (SEG). SEG also supports Cllr Tim Warren's opposition stated at that meeting to the use of any of Saltford's Green Belt land for housing development.

   Cllr Tim Warren's statement is in line with the fact that there is no political mandate or permission from the residents of B&NES or Saltford to allow any loss of the Green Belt to development. The ruling Conservative administration at B&NES Council was elected in May 2015 on a manifesto to defend the Green Belt from development. The Core Strategy Review should not therefore propose, suggest or even hint at housing development on any parcel of Green Belt land in Saltford as that would be contrary to the declared land use planning policy of B&NES Council.

Following this initial consultation, from 7th November to 19th December 2016, the Core Strategy Review will allocate strategic sites at locations identified in the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) and other "development opportunities" will be identified and allocated - hence SEG's reminder to B&NES Council of the Council's own declared policies and the political commitments made by its elected members to the local electorate. B&NES Council will also take the opportunity to look again at other policy areas such as renewable energy targets and what infrastructure is needed to support additional development.

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Potential for Saltford station as an additional stop being tested

After discussions and lobbying of B&NES Council the Saltford station campaign team learned on 1st December from B&NES Council's Divisional Director of Environmental Services that within the timetabling work for Metro West Phase 1 the potential for Saltford Station as an additional stop within this part of the GWR network is being tested.

We shall report on this again when we hear further news.

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Standing room only at the Saltford bypass public meeting

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Some of the bypass meeting audience on 1st December 2016.

Approx. 200 residents attended the public meeting at Saltford Golf Club on the evening of 1st December. This was arranged at short notice by Saltford Parish Council to give residents an opportunity to hear about the proposed bypass as illustrated in the West of England Joint Transport Study "Transport Vision" document which has a very short consultation period from 7th November to 19th December.

On the panel stating their position on a bypass and taking questions from residents were Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of B&NES Council; Cllr Tony Clarke, B&NES Cabinet Member for Transport; Cllr Francine Haeberling, Ward Councillor for Saltford (Cons); Cllr Chris Warren, Chairman of Saltford Parish Council; and Duncan Hounsell, representing B&NES and Saltford Liberal Democrats. The meeting was chaired by independent chairman and Saltford resident, Dick Bateman.

Cllrs Tim Warren and Tony Clarke were emphatic that the line on the map showing a bypass route south of Saltford was illustrative only and there were no plans for a bypass on any particular route around Saltford. It was being considered in only general terms at this stage as part of the mix of transport solutions to help alleviate the traffic congestion on the Bath-Bristol transport corridor as part of the Joint Transport Study which was intended to cover a 20 year period from 2016 to 2036.

The majority of questions from the floor expressed concerns at the potential impacts on Saltford and the potential for infill housing on the Green Belt from a bypass. The need for evidence based information on the different options or solutions before the community was asked to express a firm opinion was also emphasised by several residents.

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The indicative blue line of a possible Saltford bypass route.

A number of residents in the audience and the panel members from Saltford asked for the next published draft of the transport vision to not include any indicative line for a Saltford bypass. It was strongly felt that any indicative line showing a possible bypass would put an unnecessary long term housing and planning blight on a large part of Saltford.

Cllr Tim Warren promised to organise another public meeting in Saltford with the relevant transport officers present so that a more informed discussion could be held on the various transport options under consideration. He said that if the residents of Saltford do not want a bypass, then a Saltford bypass would not be built. He also said that the current B&NES administration had no intention to allow housing development on Saltford's Green Belt in the Joint Spatial Plan. Duncan Hounsell said the Liberal Democrats would seek to remove a Saltford orbital road from the proposed Transport Strategy when the opportunity arises should the proposal find its way into the final document.

The timing on any future public meeting, whether hosted by the Parish Council or B&NES Council, would be dependent on timing with the next draft Joint Transport Study "Transport Vision" document. In the meantime the Parish Council would decide its response to the current consultation at its meeting on 6th December.

The four west of England councils' (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire) short consultation period on the Joint Spatial Plan and Joint Transport Study from 7 November to 19 December 2016 has been a cause for concern when the plans have such major implications. These plans set out a prospectus for sustainable growth to meet the area's housing and transport needs for the next 20 years. However there should be further opportunities to comment on future drafts of those plans.

Residents can see the plans and comment online (but comment deadline was 19th December) at www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk.

Written responses can be sent to: West of England Joint Planning Consultation, Corporate Research & Consultation team, Civic Centre, High St, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 0DR.

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B&NES wins British Food Fortnight's 2016 competition

Some good news for our area - B&NES Council has won the National British Food Fortnight competition for 2016. The British Food Fortnight competition acknowledged the most imaginative and inclusive celebrations of British Food across the nation.

B&NES was named the unanimous winner due to the way it brought "the whole community together to celebrate all that is great about British food". Over 30 businesses and organisations in B&NES participated by hosting food festivals, cooking and growing courses and special local food promotions and menus. The Council launched a new online local food directory to enable residents and visitors to easily find and buy locally produced food and drink - there is a link to the new online B&NES local food map from our links page. A special British Breakfast lunch was also provided for primary schools prepared from healthy, locally sourced and organic ingredients, supporting children to celebrate British food traditions and local produce.

The voting judges were: The Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom, MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Breige Donaghy, Director of Delicious Food, Co-op Food, Chef Raymond Blanc OBE, and Alexia Robinson, Founder of Love British Food.

Congratulations to Sophie Kirk, Corporate Sustainability Officer (Food), and her colleagues at B&NES Council for achieving this award.

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Fairtrade & Traidcraft together at Saltford Christmas Market

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The Saltford Fairtrade Group had their annual stall again at this year's Saltford Christmas Market on 3rd December, this time working alongside a local representative (Lyndsey Wright) who had on display Fairtrade products from Traidcraft. Traidcraft is claimed to be the UK's leading fair trade organisation. Their mission is to fight poverty through trade. Established in 1979, Traidcraft's unique structure - a UK trading company and a development charity working together - enables them to build long-term relationships with producers, support people to trade out of poverty and work to bring about trade justice.

You can find out more about Traidcraft's work (and order their products) at www.traidcraft.co.uk or you can contact Lyndsey via her email fairtrade@stsaviours.org.uk and she will also be delighted to tell you more about their products and other Fairtrade companies and how to order from them. In addition to the Traidcraft display the Saltford group continued to promote Fairtrade and ran a small raffle which contained a mix of products some kindly donated by the local Co-Operative store.

Finally, the group were grateful once again for the support received from the Village Hall and the Saltford Community Association who served Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar at this and at all their events.

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Permaculture explained

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We're never going to scare people into living more sustainably! We have to be able to demonstrate just how dynamic and aspirational such a world could be
Jonathon Porritt

Permaculture as a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature, originates from the late 1970s. Most of us have heard of permaculture, a word created originally from 'permanent agriculture' and now defined as 'permanent culture' but what does it mean in practice?

The Permaculture Association (link) describes permaculture as:

"living lightly on the planet, and making sure that we can sustain human activities for many generations to come, in harmony with nature. Permanence is not about everything staying the same. It's about stability, about deepening soils and cleaner water, thriving communities in self-reliant regions, biodiverse agriculture and social justice, peace and abundance."

The association says permaculture combines three key aspects:

   1. an ethical framework

   2. an understanding of how nature works, and

   3. a design approach.

Here is an example from each of those aspects to help explain what this might mean from a practical viewpoint:-

Ethical

ETHICAL SHOPPING:
Individuals can reduce their environmental impact by producing things themselves, be that food, homes, or power. However, very few people are able to achieve self-sufficiency and would need a huge garden to do so. The self-sufficient lifestyle as portrayed in the 1970s TV sitcom "The Good Life" is not a realistic proposition for the overwhelming majority of people living on this crowded island. As a result our shopping choices will have a significant impact on the planet and its people - but will that impact be good or bad?

By thinking carefully carefully about how and where they shop and what they buy, consumers can ensure their money has a positive social and environmental impact rather than a negative one. Buying local produce and choosing Fairtrade products where available is a typical approach to ethical shopping.

B&NES Local Food Map (link) can help you find your local food producers (for future reference we have a link to this from our links page), and our Fairtrade page explains what we as a community are doing in Saltford, a Fairtrade Village, to encourage Fairtrade and gives more information about this topic.

Nature

GARDENING:
Using a permaculture approach in how we manage our gardens can contribute to a functioning ecological system, composed of many parts, each contributing to the overall stability, health and resilience of the whole. This results in a community of plants and fauna that live in equilibrium. There are many techniques for gardening, but permaculture is clear about using organic approaches and increasing biological diversity. By building soil diversity and fertility naturally, the results are increased natural stability, improved productivity and resilience. By taking this approach any dependency on synthetic, and often toxic, chemicals is removed.

Plant choice is also important. The role of fruit and nut trees, for example, in offering early bee fodder is a good reason for their inclusion in wildlife corridors and green infrastructure for they are multiple providers of ecosystem services valuable to us all.

Here in Saltford choosing native varieties of trees, shrubs and plants suitable for North East Somerset is key. Our insect population eats and thrives on the foliage of native plants and trees whereas non-native plants provide little or no larval food at all. The crucial role of insects in our ecosystem ranges from helping to consume waste products including dead animals to being food for our wild bird population.

So, if you want to attract birds and encourage beneficial insects to your garden that are healthier for flowers whilst your population of harmful insects such as aphids, mealy bugs and cutworms gradually diminish, plant choice can be important. As a result of correct plant choice, you can also reduce or eliminate use of harmful pesticides that end up in the air and water supply and threaten important insects such as bees.

Design

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT:
It is becoming clear that to be sustainable, the built environment must go beyond reduced environmental impacts in terms of energy, water, carbon, and waste, to have net-positive environmental benefits for the living world. This means that the built environment can go beyond being neutral in its environmental impact by being regenerative; producing more than it consumes, as well as helping to remedy pollution and damage. This approach, being regenerative, is relatively new, but a good example might be an energy efficient house that has solar panels that not only produces enough electricity for the needs of the house but generates a surplus that is exported back into the grid for use by other homes or is used to charge an electric vehicle, thus reducing fossil fuel consumption.

Rethinking the future

It is a profound challenge, at the end of an era of cheap oil and materials to rethink and redesign how we produce and consume; to reshape how we live and work, or even to imagine the jobs that will be needed for transition
Ellen MacArthur
(round-the-world yachtswoman)

We know that we cannot go on producing more things, consuming more, creating more waste, and destroying the natural environment on this finite planet. Perhaps the time is now right for a "permaculture approach" to how we as a modern society move forward in a more sustainable way.

If this topic interests you there are several websites, training courses and publications about permaculture and its growing relevance that can easily be found via Google or other search engines.

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Phil Harding (SEG Chairman)

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Famous quotes relevant to some of the issues reported on:


Trying to relieve traffic congestion by building more roads is like trying to lose weight by loosening your belt

- unattributable


Cherish the natural world because you're part of it and you depend on it

Sir David Attenborough


What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say

Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1803-1882)


Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication

Leonardo da Vinci