Keep the Green Clean

Keep the Green Clean
Keep the Green Clean

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Ghost Wood...

Although Greenstead consists of a huge council housing estate, those of us who live here are blessed with the opportunity to enjoy wildlife within a 10 minute walk from wherever you are. To the bottom is the large and fabulous Salary Brook Nature Reserve, and at the top is the small but perfectly formed Ghost Wood.

Historically, Ghost Wood has been inhabited by the dregs of society and been the victim of vandalism and dumping. These groups wrecked the trees and bushes where birds and animals nested, they lit fires that destroyed everything in sight and left piles of dirty needles, cigarette ends, beer cans and broken bottles all over the place. This made the entire area a no-go zone for locals for many years. Without the necessary resources, all that the local council could offer were a few ‘no litter’ signs, when in reality a full-time ranger would have been the ideal solution. However, thanks to a dedicated group of local residents and zone wardens, this once derelict woodland has been transformed into a haven for wildlife, and a beautiful area for wildlife lovers and responsible dog walkers to enjoy.

Yes, there are still a few areas of litter and dog fouling, but the improvement is marked.

I took a walk to the woods this afternoon, and despite the recent storms and flooding; which has felled trees and made some of the pathways too muddy to use; I was thrilled to see and hear so much nature. Within seconds a grey squirrel raced up a nearby tree trunk and within minutes I spotted another one!

The glorious sound of all the birds chirping and calling to mates (and potential mates) was almost deafening and I nearly forgot that I was actually standing just a few yards from a row of houses. Along with the larger pigeons, collared doves, magpies and a rather splendid jay, I saw robins, great tits and sparrows. On the ground I saw wild violets.

I was only in the wood for about ten minutes in total, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and will make regular visits in future so that I can see it throughout the different seasons.

I just hope that the small minority of sofa dumpers, irresponsible dog owners and shrubbery-wreckers don’t get the opportunity to spoil this wonderful space for the rest of us again.

Dog Fouling...

From this website:

Each year Colchester Borough Council receives many complaints regarding irresponsible owners not clearing up after their dogs. To report issues of dog fouling contact 01206 282581 or via email

Why should I scoop the poop?

·                 It damages your local environment.
·                 It increases tension between dog owners and others.
·                 It ruins everyone’s enjoyment of walking in our parks.
·                 It prevents children running freely and can make sports fields unusable.
·                 It is a very unpleasant to remove from shoes, wheelchair and pushchair wheels.
·                 Apart from it being unsightly, smelly and attracting flies the dog faeces can carry parasites that can cause us harm.

How you can help us

Irresponsible dog owners often behave responsibly when in sight of uniformed officers therefore catching people not clearing up after their dog can take up a lot of resources. Good information such as times, a date, description of the dog or owner is very helpful but it still needs to be witnessed. If you know the owner and are willing to give us a statement we can approach the dog owner and in some cases, will issue a fixed penalty notice.
·                 Please contact us if you are aware of anyone not clearing up after their dog – any information provided will be dealt with confidentially.
·                 If you do not know the dog owner, please let us know the time that you witnessed it with brief description of the dog and owner.
·                 Set a good example – always clear up after your own dog.
Under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996, owners are required to clear up after their dogs in most public areas. Failure to do this will result in a fixed penalty charge of £50 or a fine in court of up to £1000.

Bank Holiday Monday...

These photos were taken at lunchtime on Monday 26th August 2013.

As you can see, much of the grass has been allowed to grow which creates perfect habitats for a variety of wildlife species.

There are new and improved bins for litter and dog waste too, so no excuses for leaving a mess.

Locals and visitors can all enjoy blackberrying at this time of year.

In the distance you can see the top of The Town Hall as well as ‘Jumbo’ the Water Tower 
in the centre of Colchester.

Selfish Hobbyists...

Just when you think you’ve got on top of the litter issue and you think you’ve more-or-less got to grips with the dog mess problem, a new blight hits you – irresponsible metal detector enthusiasts! I had been warned about this recent nuisance, so I decided to go and see for myself what damage these vandals have caused, and I was appalled by what I saw.

The green looks lovely in the August sunshine, and much of the grassland has been left to wildlife. It’s a joy to listen to hundreds of grasshoppers and see a variety of butterflies flitting about; however, someone has been bust digging fist-sized holes right in the thoroughfares and grassy pathways completely ruining the look of the place. Not only that, it’s incredibly dangerous to walk along. With the recent rainfall, grass has grown inside these pits camouflaging them, and the first you know about it is when you’re laying flat on your back clutching your painful ankle!

It’s not just people who are facing this Health and Safety nightmare, but dogs are also becoming victims, with hefty vet bills for their unsuspecting owners.

At the moment, the hedgerows are brimming with elderberries and blackberries and the oak trees are laden with acorns. This should be a fabulous area for everyone to be able to share but it’s being totally ruined by a few small-minded and selfish individuals.

Dog Awareness Day...

Many thanks to everyone who gave up their time on a chilly / windy Saturday in June to help spread the word about scooping the poop! Unfortunately, the weather conditions saw the event close earlier than planned, but at least poopi bags and leaflets were given out and hopefully people are now more aware of the issue.

Dog Awareness Day...

Dog Awareness Day
Love where you live!
Saturday 15th June 2013
From Dawn to Dusk
Greenstead Green
Can you spare an hour or so of your time?
*Help raise awareness to keep the grass clean*
*Give out leaflets & dog poop bags to local walkers and dog biscuits to their dogs*
*Sit at a small information stand along Alyssum Walk for an hour or so*
**Together let’s try to reduce the level of dog fouling on our local greens**
If you can help please send an email to Keep The Green Clean with the following details:
Your Name
Your Dog’s Name
Mobile Number
The times You Are Available To help
Many thanks – we hope to hear from you!

Below is a map of the green and surrounding area.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Buttercups May 2013...

The green looking very yellow.


This blog is all about a project in Colchester called ‘Keep The Green Clean’. It’s based at The Greenstead Slopes at the top of Greenstead Estate and includes the woods (Ghost Woods) and the stream (Porter’s Brook). It was set up by local people due to the amount of litter that was scattered all over the area, making it an unpleasant environment for children, families and dog-walkers. After much hard work by a team of valuable volunteers, the green is looking much nicer but it is an uphill struggle to maintain. This blog aims to raise awareness of the issues and of the hard work being done every day in order to keep the green a pleasant environment for everyone who wishes to use it. Here are a few ‘before’ photos just to show you the type of problems which have been tackled, alongside the ‘everyday’ litter and, of course, the ongoing battle with dog mess…

As you can see, this was quite an eyesore! The aim is to rid the green of as much of this rubbish as is humanly possible, to maintain a high level of cleanliness and hopefully to get the adjacent stream running freely again some day….

Below is a map of the area surrounding the green.

If you’d like to help to Keep The Green Clean please send an email to Keep The Green Clean

For information regarding Rubbish & Recycling in Colchester, please click this link:  Colchester Borough Council 

A FREE pre-bookable ‘bulky goods’ collection service takes place every fortnight on a Saturday for some roads within the Barnhall, Monkwick and Blackheath, Old Heath, St Andrew’s, Shrub End and St Anne’s wards.  A date for collection is confirmed at the time of booking either automatically (if booked online) or by the Customer Service Adviser.  Please note that the operatives will only collect the items that you request to be collected.

The Council is unable to collect some items – for further details click this link: Recycling.

Please contact the Council on 01206 282700 if you’re unsure about any aspect of special collections.

There have been previous projects to tidy the area.

Please see here:

and here:

and here: