Tag: outdoors

Tree ‘Popping’ in the Parkland

We were busy Tree ‘popping’ with our LYRiC (Love your River Cole) trainees in the  Parkland last week.

It was both a training exercise showing them how the tool worked as well as what could be achieved with it, as well as a chance to do some much needed woodland work.

I borrowed the Tree Popping tools from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, one of our project partners, which we put to good use removing some of the many Horse chestnut and Sycamore saplings that are springing up as well as some of the Holly.

Fortune was on our side as all the recent rain ensured the ground was soft resulting in even very tall (7ft) saplings coming out with their roots intact. 

We created two ‘dead’ hedges with the removed saplings and brash which creates a nice habitat for wildlife and a tidy boundary between areas.

We cleared a good sized area between our historic ‘Avenue of Trees‘ which just starts to hint at how the avenue will look once we have opened up this section.

If you are interested to learning more and would like to get involved please get in touch – we would love to hear from you!

Email us on: CastleBromParklandInfo@gmail.com  – Your friendly Parkland Team: Tara, Ann & Oliver.

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Blossom Picnic Food bookings open

Yumi Grindley’s food for our English Hanami blossom picnics has been a feature of the event for a few years.

This year she is offering a greater variety of scrumptious Japanese home cooking for you to pre-order.

Each is made fresh to order for you, so although there will be some curry and other things on offer on the day, there is limited supply.

Make sure you get your order in by the Thursday before each  of our picnic weekends to ensure your sushi/Katsu sandwich or curry is there waiting for you to  enjoy .

Here is the menu .. .when you have decided, click through to the website here  to order

(PLEASE NOTE … you ALSO need to purcchase and book a ticket to the Garden – then you will be able to eat your food under the blossoms in our two heritage orchards (crossed fingers for good weather and good blossoms)

 

*Sushi should be eaten fresh on the day of purchase!!!*   All Sushi menu served  with Sushi Ginger, Wasabi, Soy Sauce & Chopsticks

PikaPika Signature Fish Sushi Maki Roll x 4 pieces

Smoked Salmon, Homemade Japanese Egg Omelette, Cucumber, Avocado & Japanese QP Mayo  £5.50
 

PikaPika Vegetarian Sushi Maki Roll x 4 pieces

Homemade Japanese Omelette, Cucumber, Avocado & Boiled Spinach ( No Mayo)      £5.50
 

PikaPika Signature Vegan Sushi Maki Roll x 4 pieces

Cucumber, Avocado, Roast Sweet Potato, Boiled Spinach & VeganMayo      £5.50
 

Pork Katsu Sandwiches –

Pork Katsu/Tonkatsu are thick pork cutlets breaded with flour, egg and bread crumbs and then deep fried.Shredded cabbage,QP Japanese Mayo and Tonkatsu sauce.                    £5.50
 

Chicken Katsu Sandwiches-

Chicken Katsu are chicken breast breaded with flour, egg and bread crumbs and then deep fried. Iceberg lettuce,QP Japanese Mayo and Tonkatsu sauce.                  £5.50
 

Japanese style Veg curry and boileled rice

  £5.50
 

Japanese style Chicken curry and boiled rice           

     £6.50

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Members Only treat…Friday evening open gardens

We are also proud to announce an extra treat for Members: Friday evening late openings.

These were always planned for 2020 and even though they are starting later in the season we are making every Friday evening in August a stroll and picnic evenings for Members.

The Gardens are a subtly different place on summer evenings; the bees still buzz around the scented flowers, light grows softer in the sky and it’s still warm enough to kick back and relax before bedtime.

Every Friday starting on August 7th members can use the Gardens from 5pm to 9pm.

We still ask members to prebook. This way you will know the Gardens will be safe for you and your family.

The car park will also be supervised throughout that time.

We hope to have the shop open for takeaway refreshments.

You can stay just for a stroll or hang out for the whole time for a picnic and chat.

As always, we just ask you to take home your rubbish and leave with a contented smile.

 

PS … It’s not too late to benefit from our covid-19 15 month membership deal. Join or  renew by July 31st and get an extra 3 months on your annual membership. See  HERE

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Cream Tea in a Box …. coming soon

The perfect takeaway food for a socially distanced Garden experience...

Last year’s popular Cream Tea in a carry out box is set to return to the Garden in the next week. Scrumptious locally made scones, oodles of proper Cornish cream and berry jams all ready for you to collect at our Orangery shop and take off to your favourite place around the gardens for your own summer picnic treat.

Just order your Cream Tea in a Box package online and collect it when you come to the Gardens.

The box and nearly all the packaging is made of totally compostable plant based materials – so nothing goes to waste. We are still offering never ending tea/coffee refills – but given current circs. these will be served in a new cup, so please help us by disposing of the packaging in the recycling bins.

With our 10acres of beautiful green space we are the ideal space for your staycation days out… pack a picnic basket, add an order for a Cream Tea in a Box and take a trip to 18th century elegance.

Check the website ticket page HERE

 

 

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What to expect in the post lockdown gardens

So how does visiting the Gardens now we’re open post Covid lockdown differ from the past?

We are still taking advice from with the RHS, other visitor attractions and of course the government about best practice to keep us all safe.

We have risk assessed and made changes  please bear with us if it things are not the same, or not quite perfect. We continue to evolve.
We just hope you will enjoy being here and making friends again with our beautiful space.

Getting in

We are open for longer hours but fewer days, Wednesday to Sunday  10.30 to 4.30.
At the gates there is one lane going in and one lane coming out -please keep your distances – you know how it goes!

We will continue to limit the numbers in the Gardens at any one time, so it will not be crowded and there is plenty of space for you to socially distance
Please be aware that the opening 30 minutes on some days may mean a queue.
Tickets: In general, tickets will be for the whole day, but we may introduce timed tickets for special days etc
Pre booked tickets and members will be able to have their tickets ‘scanned’ either at the entrance gates or at the steps of the visitor centre. This means we will be almost totally ‘contactless’.
Please help yourself to a map and examples of trails is available from the table .

The Gardens and getting round

All areas of the Garden are open.
There is a one way system out into the wilder area. Go in one way, come out the other.
Narrow pathways are all open, there are reminders for you to wait at one end until the path is clear.
Currently all the benches and tables are open.
Staff will clean these from time to time during the day.
Please be considerate in your usage –  think of people or sit there before and after.

A small team of gardeners have kept the Gardens in remarkable condition over the last 10 weeks. We are exceedingly lucky to have them.
There are weeds, there is long grass.. but the summer bedding is in and the vegetable plot is looking amazing … enjoy

Mud kitchen and play outside.

Currently we have closed the mud kitchen and taken pots away.
We will review all our play areas and equipment and re-instate as much as we can when we feel it’s right. Over the weeks we will also introduce new trails for amusement and learning… In the meantime we hope the little ones will enjoy exploring the area, discovering bugs and wildlife on the ground

Café

The café in the visitor centre is closed and is likely to stay closed all summer.
From now on drinks, snacks, ice cream and our shop goods are available from the Orangery.
In coming weeks we plan to expand our takeaway food and bring back our cream tea in a box … keep a lookout in the enews.

Toilets

For the time being all the toilets are remaining open.
They are deep cleaned regularly and we keep a strict rota for cleaning during out open hours.
Please keep to one person using the building at any one time to avoid congestion.
Liquid soap, paper towels and air dryers are supplied.
Please close the toilet lids before flushing and dispose of any paper towels in the bin immediately.
There is an extra ‘sanitation station’ outside the toilets if you want to wash hands again before or after

Dogs. Picnics and rubbish.

Picnics … please do take advantage of being in the space.
Please can you take your rubbish home! Currently rubbish is not being collected from the site and generally costs us over £1,0000 per year – money we can ill afford at present.
As normal we really welcome your family dog in the Gardens. We know they will be excited to be back, please keep them on a lead though, so that everyone else can relax.
As with picnics – we’d appreciate if you could take your doggy poo bags home

The summer

We are really thrilled to have people in the Gardens again – they are made for sharing.
We aim to keep opening hours, days , activities and maybe even events regular and consistent… but none of us know how things will progress so things will change.
We will keep you up to date as quickly as we can. As member you will be the first to hear about things and we hope to bring you all kinds of socially distanced entertainments and pleasures over the next months.

Please do tell your friends

We all need a safe and beautiful place to remake our relationship with the world, our selves and with nature. Spread the word to friends who need a little healing time.

Thank you #wegrowtogether

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Re-opening! Dates and plans

The Gardens are re-opening!

Starting with 2 special weekends for Members Only:  6th/7th and 13th/14th June.

Opening to the general public will start on Wednesday 17th June (Wednesdays to Sundays).

We are really pleased to be able to welcome people back into the Gardens again.

We know spirits will be lifted by a wander – or a run- in the Gardens, but we will naturally be monitoring how we can manage safety.  Numbers will be limited and there are no activities planned at present. Family picnics will be welcome – please take home your rubbish – we cannot dispose of it at present.

Most of the Gardens’ staff are on furlough and we are managing a limited volunteer return. So, preparing for opening and stewarding is a big job- please bear with us.

Tickets, for the Members weekends and general opening from 17th , will be released on Wednesday 3 June.

Full details will be released next week.

More details

In order to open the Gardens safely, we have had to make some changes to how we welcome visitors.

Everyone MUST book in advance, including Members.  New booking time slots will become available each Friday at midday for the following week.

When you come, you will notice some differences to your usual visit:

  • The entrance courtyard will have separate ‘in’ and ‘out’ lanes.
  • The Visitor Centre will be closed.
  • Your pre-booked ticket and/or membership card will be checked in – contactless – from the wooden steps.
  • The Orangery will be selling limited takeaway refreshments.
  • Cards, gifts, jams and pickles will also be sold from here (1 person at a time in shop only)
  • All payments will be by contactless card only, or cash into a donation box (no change given).
  • For the time-being the mud kitchen will shut in line with Government guidance.
  • To maintain health standards there will be limited access to the Toilets.
  • All areas of the Gardens are open, but there are reminders to keep a minimum of 2m apart. Please Pause and make way for someone to pass on a narrow paths. Please respect this for the safety of  everyone.
  • Picnics are welcome – within the government guidelines. Please take your rubbish home – we cannot dispose of it, at present.

All arrangements have been risk assessed but will be constantly reviewed and may change without notice.

How to book

All visitors, including Members will need to book a ticket in advance.

We are sorry but there will be no ticket sales/bookings on the day.

We will post the link for booking the first week on Wednesday 3 June on our website, Facebook page and in our email newsletter.

A limited telephone booking system will be in place for those unable to book online. Telephone booking can be made on Thursday and Friday mornings 11am – 1pm. We can take credit card numbers over the phone.

The process will be as follows:

  • Please book one ticket per person, except for children aged five or under as they don’t need a ticket.
  • Currently the tickets will be for the whole day – but a limited number of tickets will be sold for the day.
  • New opening times 10.30 -4.30pm. We plan to introduce regular early evening openings later.
  • Dogs on leads are welcome.
  • Please note: we are not currently accepting two for one cards or other cards at present, we will keep this under review. RHS members need to book in advance.

 

 

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Kids and BBC Newsround – good as ever

Just sharing another round up of great things for kids to do.. BBCs Newsround has always been good and our national public broadcaster is really working well in the current situation.

Bug houses, Bee B&Bs, smile stones,  birdfeeders and growing veg are all featured on the current Newsround page… all things our Unplug and Play sessions really encourage.

Until we can welcome you back into the Gardens – why not practice with the Beeb.

I’m looking forward to a set of activities in the Gardens, led by enthusiastic, imaginative and skilled children!

Yes, we can make it happen.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/52009318

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https://www.geocaching.com/blog/2018/03/how-to-solve-mystery-caches-also-known-as-puzzle-caches/

Geocaching – treasure hunting with a phone.

We love treasure hunts of all kinds in the Gardens..

We know too that there are lots of other seek and find activities in and around the Gardens, the historic Parkland and the village locally – Pokemon Go of course, Wizards Unite and  our own ‘Mystery Mutts’ Doggy Treasure Hunts.

But how many of you know there are also some ‘geocaches’ around and about? Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game where participants (Geocachers) use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver (a smart phone! ) or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called “geocaches” or “caches”) anywhere in the world.

A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and “treasure,” usually toys or trinkets of little value.

There are over 6000 caches hidden around Birmingham and the National Trust are now recognising that geocaching is great for families to get outside together… so do we.

We’ve been wanting to develop some caching trails for a while- both inside and outside the Gardens – but while we now have the time to think about it, we don’t have the experience..

So …. Calling all geocaching fans and experts. The challenge is to create a geocaching trail for the Gardens (and maybe spreading outwards too). Can you help us out?

What do you think would work? How many caches makes sense on our site? What would our swag items be? Would there be a theme to them all?  Can we make special events for families?

Obviously we cannot get into the Gardens right now, but we’d love to work with you to think about something in summer and autumn…please contact us if you can help… and share with any geocaching chums too

 

“The best thing about it is you will be taken to places of interest and beauty that are on your doorstep that you never even knew existed.”

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invitation to tender – contract to manage/lead Unplug and Play

Due the success and rapid growth in popularity of our Unplug and Play family activities ‘brand’, we are now seeking to contract an individual, or small team, to lead, manage – and possibly develop – the delivery for 2020 and possibly beyond.

We are inviting expressions of interest from individuals or small teams to work with us on a fixed term contract – with a possibility of extension.

The post will remain open until it is filled

Please see attached PDF Expression of interest -managing and leading Unplug and Play 2020 with fuller information and how to apply

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Unplug and Play

Half Term Family Friendly Activities in the Gardens

Make the most of the warmer weather to get out and about in the open and discover nature.

Self Guided Trails all week 

There’s a caterpillar flower trail for the littl’uns and for everyone, try our ‘invent a plant name‘ to stretch everyone’s creative powers.

3 days of craft activities.

Leaf and plant printing.
Make your own pictures, bunting or gift tags with collected leaves and flowers.
We’ll use 2 techniques. One with paint and one with a hammer (Hapa zome).
suitable for all ages (with adult supervision
12- 3pm, £2 per person (including garden entry).

FREE for Family Friendly Activities Annual Pass holders

Tuesday 28th May
Wednesday 29th May
Friday 31st May

Don’t forget the Gardens open at 11am – Make a day of it

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