We'd welcome your thoughts, comments and ideas on this website or any other Brent Island activity.
There's a Comments Form at the bottom of this page.
Graham Royle - Chair & Membership Secretary
Felicity Ferry - Treasurer
Phil Dean - Secretary
Bridie Kennerley - Vice Chair
You can contact us via the Comments Form at the bottom of this page.
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The Island is a beautiful stretch of land surrounded by the River Avon and is a short walk from the centre of South Brent. The Island was bought for the village by the residents in 1994 and is managed for the protection of wildlife and for people to enjoy.
This website is to help you understand the history and management of the Island and give you some idea of the diversity in this
special spot in South Brent.
How to find the Island
Brent Island is located at OS grid reference SX695602 about half a mile north west of South Brent village centre (look at the left hand side of the village map above). Access to it is signposted to the left of St Petroc's church.
Please note that the lane leading to the Island is uneven in places and the Island itself is reached through a gate and over a bridge across the river Avon. As the Island is intended to be a place for wildlife there are no formal paths and the ground is rough in places. However the whole island can readily be reached on foot and some parts of it by pushchairs and mobility scooters. Dogs are welcome but please do keep them under control and clear up afterwards (plastic bags are provided by the gate).
There is limited parking by the church but there is a free public car park on Station Yard.
Join Brent Island Trust and help to protect and manage this special space.
Maintenance of The Island includes costly major projects such as restoration of the linhay and weir through to maintenance such as replacement slates on the linhay roof and also regular tree work to remove dead branches and mowing the meadow each year. By becoming a member you'll help to ensure that The Island is always available as a space for wildlife and for peace for Brent residents and visitors. You'll also be able to attend the AGM each year which features a guest speaker.
Membership: Individual - £6.00 Family - £10.00 Junior - £2.00. You can request a membership form by contacting us via the form at the bottom of this page.
February 2021 Newsletter
Contents include Bridie's evocative description of Spring wildlife on The Island, good news about the 'elephant' Beech tree and much, much more !!!
Brent Island News
Several photos of spring on The Island taken in April 2020:
See the results from our Tree Survey
We've restarted The Brent Island Tree survey to monitor the health of our largest trees. You can see the work done so far on our Plants & Trees page.
Brent Island Trust introduces a Safeguarding Policy
"The purpose of this policy is to protect people from any physical or mental harm that may be caused due to their contact with The Brent Island Trust (BIT).
The policy lays out the commitments made by BIT and informs people of their responsibilities in relation to safeguarding."
You can download the policy from this link or from the documents list in the box at the top-right of this page.
A new lock on the gate to The Island
The eagle-eyed will have noticed that we have both a new split gate and a combination lock at the entrance path to The Island. This is to make it easier to gain access for people in wheelchairs, mobility scooters or for anyone who needs a wider gap than the kissing-gate gives. The combination is available to all members who have a need for special access and can be obtained by contacting us using the form at the bottom of this web page. Instructions for using the gate can be downloaded here or by clicking on the image of the instructions on the right.
Watch this space!!
Foraging on The Island
In April 2019 a group of some 10 children and 10 adults made a trip to The Island to find edible plants among the profusion growing there. The panel to the right shows what they found.
The group picked a few things in a sensitive way such as wild garlic & nettles. They were mindful of the vulnerability of wild flowers and habitats which would be emphasised as an integral part of the activity.
Some of the plants are poisonous and could be very harmful if eaten and some people may have an allergic reaction to the sap of others.
Please do not collect these plants yourselves as this could severely deplete the richness of the habitat.
Ivy leaved toad flax – on wall edible raw. Quite bitter
Pennywort – salad
Herb Robert – named after Saint Robert – French Monk 1000AD – cured people of diseases. High minerals, vitamins. Heals wounds, mosquito repellent. Tea, salad (eat all parts inc roots).
Herb Bennet – (or Wood Avens) – rhizome – clove flavour. Used to flavour wine, ale & soup. Substitute for cloves (e.g. apple pie).
Golden saxifrage (opposite or alternate leaved?) - both edible. Bitter
Primrose, hairy bittercress...
Pink purslane – salad/cooked – bland so good base for salad with other wild foods. Can get bitter in summer.
(Ground ivy – young leaves raw or cooked. Was used prior to hops in beer. Tea – ear, nose, throat, digestion. Catarrh, sinusitis, glue ear. Many other uses. Astringent!)
Ground elder – garden 'weed' very invasive if in a garden. Romans introduced it. Raw or cooked.
Skunk cabbage (Western N. America – sometimes naturalised in UK). Rich in calcium oxylate – toxic – mouth & digestive tract feel like 100s needles being stuck in! Destroyed by thorough cooking – several changes of water! Tasteless mush!! N American Indian tribes use. Dried can be used as a thickening agent.
Burdock – biannual. Small roots raw, or larger cooked. Harvest when not longer than 60cm. More flavour when older but absorbs other flavours. Contains inulin (not digestible) a sweetner suitable for diabetics. Young leaves & stalks (remove rind) raw/cooked.
Nettles – iron, Vit C. One of most widely applicable plants, strength & support whole body. Eczema, astringent – nose bleeds or any haemorrhage in body. Good for blood.
Wild garlic (ransoms) – same health benefits as cultivated garlic although milder. Reduces high blood pressure & blood cholesterol. Bulb most active. Tonic to digestion – colic, wind, indigestion, loss of appetite. Asthma, bronchitis. Juice aid to waste loss. Externally – can help arthritis/rheumatism – stimulates circulation.
Cleavers – immune system, lymphatic system. Tea not food.
Yarrow – salads, cook, medicinal.
Dandelion – diuretic, potassium, general tonic particularly for liver.
Ribwort plantain – edible, mushroom flavour. Stop bleeding. Also diarrhoea, IBS, catarrh, cystitis, bronchitis, asthma…seed contains mucilage, swells up in gut acting as a laxative & soothes irritated membranes.
Holly – berries cause vomiting & diarrhoea. In past leaves for infectious diseases – malaria & smallpox.
Pignut – umbellifer (flower later) – but much smaller – up to 1ft tall, leaves fine & feathery like fennel. April small plants. Be careful of umbellifer family with leaves in 'fronds' like this (e.g. hemlock water dropwort). Flowers 1-2mm. Careful to follow stem down & not get poisonous bluebells! Pignut has brown 'jacket'.
Sorrel Oxalic acid so in moderation.
Variegated yellow archangel – or one of the dead nettles! Not certain.
Poisonous plants to be careful of: Yew, Hemlock Water Dropwort
Please do send us your comments, thoughts or ideas about Brent Island using this form: