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.
This 12 hectare greenspace is an oasis of calm and tranquility in an otherwise densely built up area. A short stroll into the Parkland and you instantly start to relax and breath more easily, you are surrounded by tall grasses, brambles, trees and wildflowers getting ready to bloom. The site is made up of a mosaic of different habitats from the wild lower Marshlands to the higher grasslands and young developing woodland. The Parkland is classed as a Local Wildlife Site (LWS) and also has historic significance with a Grade II* listing from Historic England.
The Parkland has largely been left unmanaged since the estate was sold in 1969 with little work been done and so it now feels a bit neglected and quite wild. We plan to carry out a number of habitat improvements to enhance the site for wildlife and improve the experience for its visitors.
We are busy getting to know the Parkland and would love to hear from you. We want to know what wildlife you see here.
Do you regularly admire the birds? Have you seen any owls?
Caught a glimpse of a fox or badger? We would love to know!
Please get in touch and send us your stories and pictures.
Do you remember what the Parkland used to be like in the past?
Did you play here as a child or have your grandparents told you stories about the park?
Maybe they would go hunting for horse chestnuts or picnics on the grassland?
Do they remember what the Avenue of Trees looked like before it became wild? Or have stories about the ponds?
Have you been using the inaturalist wildlife spotting app on your walks out and about Castle Bromwich and surrounds?
The On your Doorstep project run by our friends over in B37 has so far gathered 212 different species of plants, insects, animals and birds….
Our Gardener on site has been participating too – although most of the rest of the staff are working from home..
She reports that there are great tits nesting by our office… we often have a nesting pair in the tall pole of our security cameras… I wonder if they’re there this year?
The On Your Doorstep project goes on for another week – and the app continues after that too. Do download the free app and use it to report your sitings however modest and ordinary – the more we know about all the wildlife around us, the better we will be able to protect it and enjoy it together.
We’ve some lovely night time footage of our resident hedgehogs (see the footage on previous blog posts). They’re free to roam across all of the different habitats in the Gardens – they like cover, but they also like a bit of mown grass… we have plenty of both.
This week, with so few people in the gardens one of them has been bold enough to come out a foraging in the day time.
We were initially a bit worried. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and seeing one in the daytime can be a sign of a poorly pig.
We looked at here, she looked at us.. We looked again. No longer interested in us, she turned slowly and waddled off into the undergrowth
We think – given she ‘waddled well’ that the one in this picture was probably a female foraging for food or for nesting materials. Given the lively group we’ve seen on the nightcam… we can only hope that our hogs are growing in number.
Citizen science: we can all make a difference to the world’s knowledge.
These days almost anyone can take part in gathering important information that adds to scientists’ understanding. From this Friday you can help us map some really important nature around the Gardens using a free app for your phone.
In the past we have taken part in things like national Bee Counts and flower surveys. Our colleagues over in Chelmsley Wood (B37 project and the Tribal Community Rangers) have started using this app iNaturalist from the National Geographic Society.
In May we will be taking part – where we can – at looking and recording the wildlife surrounding our Gardens, over the Parkland, on the church paddock, on Lady Bradfords Gardens (the green common in front of the hotel). It’s a month long bio-blitz!
Did you know that the Parkland, surrounding the Gardens, hasn’t had much change or disturbance on it for nearly 400 years! So, it’s a really rich place for biodiversity.
All you need to do is:
Download the app.
Have a look for ‘On your Doorstop’ under projects – and join (not compulsory- but will help them and us with the data )
Then on your daily walk around the area, take a snap or two and upload what you see: plants, insects, animals , birds….
At the end of the month Tribal will crunch the data for us – and we’ll share it with everyone.
And that’s it… ooh don’t forget to share some of your photos on our facebook/twitter/instagram
Thank you … you will be contributing to human knowledge and science – that’s a great thing!
[update: We are overwhelmed by the positive support and reaction of the public to this act of vandalism in the Gardens. we are grateful to everyone for their good wishes and take heart in knwoing that what we are trying to do pleases so many people.
We are busy prparng for our big 40s event at present, as soon as that is over we will be planning to invite our wellwishesr to be part of the reconstruction of the spaces – it might take a little planning- but we are really looking forward to involving even mor epeople in the pleasure of our spaces…. Please keep a look out for news of how you can help out… .With heartfelt thanks from the volunteers , staff and Trustees]
(PS Many people have asked how they might contribute financially – if this is something yu want and ware able to do, you can make a contriubtion of any size to our Just Giving page HERE. All contributions for the next month will go directly on the re-build project… THANKS)
…over the past few months thoughtless and destructive intruders have done some stupid things in the Gardens overnight – all of which has cost our charity and hard working volunteers both money and tears. Over the last 2 nights yet more destructive idiocy has happened. This time it directly affects our visitors too. Last night was even worse.
Our little mud kitchen – much beloved by toddlers and parents was set alight. The ‘bug hotel’ built by volunteers and visitors last year to attract creepy crawlies was also burned. The fences protecting the small bridges by our spinney pond have now been trashed 4 times. Its not just stuff we have built , but nearby trees have been scorched too.
Our charity and volunteers look after these unique Gardens on behalf of us all. What brains and hearts get pleasure out of spoiling things for everyone else? They are the few…we are the many…oh, and our hedgehog cameras are now trained on humans…
Sometimes all you want on Sunday afternoon at this time of year is a bit of fresh air and a stretching of the legs.
No kitting up for a long walk in the hills, just a stroll around a green and peaceful place…
This winter we are having a series of special weekend openings at the Gardens with this need in mind. There are five ‘Sunday Saunters’ between the end of January and the beginning of the season in April.
Late Winter and early Spring is also just a fascinating time in our Gardens.. the snowdrops, aconites and hellebores begin to emerge. As the days get longer the birds (and the box hedges!) get more active. Soon our drifts of daffodils begin to shoot up. When we are lucky enough to have some sunshine the low raking light illuminates the walkways and creates intriguing silhouettes.
We like to share these transient treasures, so Sunday opening offers a chance for our busy visitors to have a couple of hours of healthy pootering outdoors.
Of course it’s still a bit parky, so we have opened our 18th century Greenhouse (sometimes known as the Orangery) for people to find shelter and get a cup of warming chocolate.
On some of the days we will also strike up the firepit and indulge in toasted marshmallows and have some simple family crafts too.
Here are the dates. Do check back to the events calendar on this site or on Facebook just to make sure.
Sundays, 11am – 3pm
£4 adults, £1 children. Free for Members
Snowdrops+ RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and family craft
Daffs + Elite Tents Wedding Fair on site (free entry)
The Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) is a easy tree or shrub to identify, having both flowers and fruit present at the same time. The strawberry (or I think more like lychee) like fruit take up to a year to ripen, so as last year’s fruits turn red, the flowers that will form next year’s fruit start to appear. The fruit is said to be edible, although not very tasty, which may be hinted at in it’s Latin name ‘unedo‘; coming from unum edo ‘I eat one’ – meaning after you have eaten one you wouldn’t want another one? Having not yet tried one I couldn’t say! Which is good news for the birds, leaving plenty of fruit for them to feast on during the colder months.
A member of the Ericaceae family of plants, most commonly known as heather, the flowers bear a strong resemblance to those of heathers, with bell-like downward facing flowers in small clusters.
You may have also seen this plant in a well known Morris & Co. design, used in fabrics and wallpapers where you can clearly see the red fruits and white flowers.
Have a wander down to the Lower Wilderness to have a closer look at these interesting plants..
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