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The Friends of Brook Hollows are a community volunteer group establish by Transforming the Trent Valley in 2021 in partnership with East Staffordshire Borough Council and the Rolleston Civic Trust.
The purpose of the Friends is to work alongside the council and other community groups for the benefit of this beautiful community space. The Friends are undertaking small-scale tasks on site such as litter picking, cutting back bramble and managing the encroaching Himalayan Balsam, a vigorous invasive flowering plant. The Friends will not replace the obligations of the local authority to manage the site, but will complement and add value to what the council can deliver.
The Friends of Brook Hollows are also the eyes and the ears for the council on the ground. The group will have a direct contact to report any issues or problems on site.
They meet regularly on the first Sunday of the month.
How has Transforming the Trent Valley got involved?
Transforming the Trent Valley is funding an enhancement project for the lake and its woodland. The site is enjoyed by the whole community and is an important asset, but the funding is for specific works and there are further opportunities on site. We would like to leave a legacy for future generations of Rollestonians so have facilitated the establishment of a new Friends group to help work towards this ambition.
Some of the funding available is used to train and upskill volunteers so that they have the necessary knowledge to safely and correctly carry out work on site. We are also supporting the creation of a management plan so everyone is clear on roles and responsibilities and the long-term vision. This means that we can step back and leave the Friends as a self-governing and independent group.
Further funding is available to purchase tools and equipment, run family activities and update the signage and information on site. The Friends represent a broad skillset and will be able to support and lead upon some of these activities.
The site is owned and managed by East Staffordshire Borough Council
What have the Friends been up to?
Some of the skilled volunteers are designing new interpretation panels for the site, which discuss the interesting natural and cultural heritage that makes Brook Hollows unique. Working with a local wood sculptor, they are also designing new artwork and trails through the woodland.
The monthly work parties are focussed on seasonal activities. During winter they clear invasive scrub, remove young self-set trees, plant bulbs and improve footpaths. They have also recently planted an oak in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. In spring and summer the volunteers turn their attention to the invasive Himalayan balsam that is choking the banks of the lake and ongoing litter picking. They install and maintain bird feeders, create and maintain seating areas from fallen timber and continue with footpath improvements.
The volunteers are also learning new skills that they will be able to put to good use on the site and be able to pass to others.
Aerial image of Brook Hollows, spring 2022 (c) Mike Reith 2022
Once part of the large Mosley estate, this community space located at the heart of Rolleston-on-Dove now comprises a formerly ornamental woodland edging a series of lakes with a former waterfall above a lower pool which flows into the Alderbrook, a tributary of the River Dove.
Brook Hollows is important greenspace in the village and is locally connected by a network of footpaths. Over recent years the lake has become silted up and the woodland has become overgrown with self-seeded trees, losing some of the character of the original plantation and specimen trees. There is a plan to tackle some of these issues with funding contributed by Transforming the Trent Valley.
Brook Hollows in located in the Staffordshire village of Rolleston-on-Dove.
East Staffordshire Borough Council
Rolleston-on-Dove Parish Council
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