Author Archives: Tim

Summer 16′ – Young fun in the sun!

A summer of youth engagement across the Tame Valley Wetlands

Young people tend to get a bad rep in the summer holidays. “They’re always hanging around, making trouble” goes the old familiar complaint. Yes, some young people do hang around, some do make trouble and some make lots of noise and disturb their neighbours. But to tarnish all young people with the actions of a few is deeply unfair, and is stereotyping at its worst.

Here at the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme, we have been lucky enough to have an incredibly busy programme of youth engagement this summer, with no fewer than 132 young people putting in almost 500 hours of volunteering around the Tame Valley Wetlands scheme area in the Midlands – and the summer isn’t even over yet!

Making trouble? Far from it! Making haystacks is more like it!


NCS Tamworth at Warwickshire Moor Local Nature Reserve – Photo credit Nicola Lynes.

There have been two waves of participants from the National Citizen Service in Tamworth, delivered by Uprising Birmingham and they got stuck in on the hottest days of the year to remove invasive Himalayan balsam, plant reeds and rake up grass on a meadow to encourage the growth of wildflowers. One group even went a step further and organised an event to raise much needed funds and awareness for the Tameside Wildlife Conservation Group.

We have also had sessions with our regular youth groups, CareFirst in Tamworth and WCAVA from North Warwickshire. These groups are made up of young adults with additional needs, and have been visiting sites across the scheme area in order to explore their local spaces and contribute to the conservation of the areas.

Our own youth volunteering group, TameYouth, also had a great morning at Wigginton Park one Saturday removing old tree guards from an established hedge. Even though the group spent most of the time hidden under the hedgerow, the sudden appearance of tree guards being flung out from the greenery needed a warning sign to passing dog walkers!

The commitment and enthusiasm shown by the young people this summer has been staggering. Through conversation and discussion we’ve heard about how young people want to gain work experience, that they want to learn new things, spend more time outside, explore their local area more…does this sound like a lazy teenager to you? These young people are the ones who will be growing up to make waves in the world. We should all be encouraging their interests and talents, and at the Tame Valley Wetlands, we are proud to be doing just that.

Be a part of the Tame Valley Wetlands team! Join one of our volunteer groups today – it’s just a click away! – *Next TameYouth session is Saturday 10th September!!*

NCS Tamworth’s battle with balsam!

A team of 16-17 year-olds from Tamworth’s National Citizen Service (NCS), led by UpRising Birmingham, have given over 300 hours of their time to volunteer with the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme at Tameside Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in Tamworth.

P1011369 resized  Three days of practical conservation at Tameside LNR saw the youth group work tirelessly in the boiling sun and pouring rain to help carry out important reserve management. Tasks included non-native species control, focussing on Himalayan balsam, which is well known for its notorious spreading ability, outcompeting native species and increasing riverbank erosion. The team also tried their hand at some reed planting and meadow management, which entailed raking the meadow grass and creating hay stacks.

  The tasks will help improve a variety of habitats and increase the number of species living on this important wildlife site and area of floodplain next to the River Tame.

In addition, the NCS team delivered a fundraising and awareness day, where they spent the day in Tamworth’s town centre, selling cakes and raising awareness of the wider Tame Valley Wetlands area. By the end of the day they had ran out of stock and raised a fantastic £123.74 for Tameside Wildlife Conservation Group. All the proceeds will be spent to further improve Tameside LNR for people and wildlife.

Nicola Lynes, Youth Engagement Officer for the Tame Valley Wetlands Scheme said “We are honoured to have been chosen to be the group’s social action project for NCS and are really grateful for the time they spent volunteering with us”.

Ron Timms, Treasurer of Tameside Wildlife Conservation Group said “the effort they put in was excellent and I hope they enjoyed their experience”.

Are you interested in helping improve your local environment? Go to our volunteering page for opportunities available for all ages and abilities, and follow us on social media to keep up-to-date with everything that’s going on throughout the summer holidays.

A ‘buzzing’ day at Kingsbury Water Park!

Kingsbury Water Park buzzes in the sunshine!

On a hot, sunny, somewhat breezy day, visitors to Kingsbury Water Park enjoyed a range of fun activities with the theme of bees and their importance in the natural world last Sunday.

Mark Hunt, Ian and Katy Kapsis of the Nuneaton and Atherstone Beekeepers Association brought one of their bee hives along capturing the interest and imagination of visitors to the Old Barn Café. Mark, Ian and Katy spent the day answering questions about bees, explaining their life cycle and how they pollinate vital crops produced by our farmers.


Copyright: Friends of Kingsbury Water Park.

Friends of Kingsbury Water Park provided colourful craft activities including making homes for bees in your garden, badge making, games, quizzes and painted pebbles with distinctly black and yellow markings!

Tame Valley Wetlands led “bug hunts” where participants tried their hand with nets catching and identifying insects. It was a fun packed, educational day, over 250 people of all age groups joined in and went away with something to talk about or show others.

Youngster, James Collard spent his afternoon studying the live bees and discussing all aspects of a bee’s life with the beekeepers. James said “I like bees because they make honey, and I have honey with my hot Ribena.”

For lots more family fun activities near you this summer see and

For more information about beekeeping see the British Beekeepers Association website

For more information about the Friends of Kingsbury Water Park see

Fun Work Experience Week!

Steven’s account of his work experience week with the TVW team:

From the 27th of June to the 1st of July I experienced working for the ‘Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme’.

On the first day I saw the different work that the team did in order to make a difference to the local wildlife such as their ‘Community Wetlands’ project where they are helping the local wildlife by transforming the floodplain meadow into an area that is a suitable place for the different species of animals to live. One example would be the man made sand martin bank they built. They are also building the area to be aesthetically pleasing for the public and allowing them to experience the local wildlife for themselves. However in visiting the sites I also experienced the different problems that the project experiences such as vandalism and weather that can ruin their structures and buildings.
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On the second day I went to Ladywalk nature reserve with a group of volunteers and helped to get rid of a plant called Himalayan balsam. I enjoyed working outdoors as it was good to see the difference we had made to the local area. I also helped with getting a list of places such as 6th forms, colleges and youth centres that are in the local area that the project could contact in order for them to help educate the public on the importance of wildlife.

The third day consisted of me helping to plan a circular route around Shustoke that the project could then advertise to the public and allow them to have a route that they could walk round their local area. I also helped to organise the inventory of items that the project supplies to schools such as wellies and coats.

On Thursday I helped with one of the schools that came in to experience the project for themselves. We took the class round the site educating them on the different types of wildlife and nature that was in the area, such as showing them the different types of trees and plants that were in the forest and helping them search areas for wildlife such as insects.


I would like to thank the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme for the experience they gave me in the week I was there, it was impressive to see the work they are doing in order to make the local wildlife better.

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If you’d like to be involved with the Tame Valley Wetlands (LPS) then we have many volunteering opportunities available! Whether you’re young or old, we have vacancies for everyone. Join our TameYouth or TameForce team today! Click here for more information.

TameFest 2016 Success!

Tame Valley Wetlands has celebrated its local heritage with the annual TameFest event, hosted this year at Kingsbury Water Park. We couldn’t be more pleased with the success of the day and to show you, here’s the article from the Tamworth Herald:


Jaguar Charity Pantomime Society

AN annual family fun event celebrating the heritage and local groups in the Tame Valley Wetlands proved to be a “fantastic day”.

TameFest 2016 at Kingsbury Water Park was attended by 1,500 people on the bank holiday weekend.

The annual festival is a celebration of the Tame Valley Wetlands heritage, with many local businesses, community groups, charities and attractions holding a stall on the day.

The stall holders offered free activities such as stone carving, yoga sessions, crafts, games and much more. Plus, our friendly canines were able to enjoy the day, with some of the stalls offering pet accessories.’

Nicola Lynes, Tame Valley Wetlands youth engagement officer, said: “It was a fantastic day. The amount of people that came and took part was great, especially with the weather being so nice.


Border Collie meets Broomey Crofts little duckling

“The feedback that we’ve had has been really positive, creating a lot more awareness for all the groups involved. All in all, a very successful day with lots of smiling faces!”

TameFest will be returning in 2017, this time in Tamworth.

Emily Hill, owner of Hotchpotch Crafts which was represented on the day, said: “It was a well organised event and we’ve made some good contacts!”

TameFest was organised by Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme (TVWLPS).

Focusing on improving the area between Birmingham and Tamworth, the non-profit scheme hosts free events and workshops throughout the Tame Valley Wetlands area, aiming to engage the community with the ‘hidden’ landscape.

Tame Valley Wetlands is a landscape partnership scheme, led by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Its vision is to create a wetland landscape, rich in wildlife and accessible to all. Work will include conservation projects to restore heritage and enhance the area for wildlife, access improvements, training and volunteering opportunities as well as a programme of events and activities aimed at all ages and interests.

For more information, including events and volunteering opportunities, go to

Read more: Tamworth Herald
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This week we’ve celebrated volunteering and encouraged people to join in. Volunteering is an essential asset to any charity, movement or local group as without it, many of these amazing organisations may not have been here today!  Not only does volunteering help organisations but people as well. Volunteers usually feel a sense of fulfilment and enjoyment when they are helping and get to see, discover and explore many things that you’d miss in every day life. It is not only a haven but a path, helping guide people into what they really want to do. They create lasting memories from which nothing else may compare to. Get involved, be a part and free yourself to the world that’s right at your feet.

If you don’t quite believe me, then take a glance at what our Youth Engagement Officer, Nicola Lynes, has to share…

#volunteersweek – an account of volunteering from our Youth Engagement Officer

Hi, my name is Nicola and I am the Youth Engagement Officer for the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme. I am passionate about nature conservation, volunteering and working with children and young people, and my job is a fantastic combination of all of these!

I started volunteering with Millennium Volunteers when I was still at school. My main reason for joining was because it would help towards my university applications, but I soon realised that volunteering with friends and going on residentials  was a lot more fun than I first thought!

I then spent my gap year volunteering for Conservation Volunteers Australia. For 5 months I worked in some stunning places and lived with some amazing people, and this is where my love of nature conservation stemmed from. Even the bad bits (like planting trees in the pouring rain and splitting my trousers on a barbed wire fence!) were offset by the incredible experiences like searching for nesting turtles by moonlight along the coast of Queensland.

Back in the UK, I went to university to studyvolunteering vietnam Environmental Science. My course included a Year in Industry, and I spent mine on a full time volunteer placement for South Norfolk Council. Even though I had to work in a restau
rant in the evenings to pay rent, this placement gave me the confidence, skills and knowledge I needed to start making nature conservation my career. I also discovered that I had a talent for environmental education, which would eventually lead me to living in Thailand for a year!

Soon after this, I started volunteering for Concordia International Volunteers, who have been the single greatest influence on my life and career so far. Through Concordia, I have created botanical gardens in rural Spain, co-ordinated international volunteers on projects in West Sussex and Brighton, attended conferences and workshops in France and Denmark, and taken Girl Guides to Vietnam and South Korea to volunteer on community projects. Volunteering with Concordia has allowed me to travel across the world and visit places which I would never have dreamed of going – or never could afford to go to! – of my own accord.

My volunteering is what got me my first graduate job as an environmental instructor at an activity centre, then as an environmental educator in Thailand for a year, and most recently my current position. I can say confidently that I would not have landed any of those paid positions without the valuable experience I gained while undertaking unpaid voluntary work. There have been many other organisations that I have also been involved with, and whether I volunteer somewhere for 1 day or 6 months, I always come away with a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment that I have benefitted an organisation by giving my time and skills for free.

I volunteer because it makes me happy. It has given me the skills I needed to get paid work in the field I wanted to work in. It gave me experience in areas which I didn’t think I would enjoy, but ended up making my job and career. I have made great friends. I have seen, touched and smelt beautiful places on Earth. In short, I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am today without my volunteer experiences – long may they continue!

If you are interested in gaining voluntary experience with the Tame Valley Wetlands, head over to our volunteering page.


TameYouth Volunteers

Are you between the ages of 16 and 25? Do you love nature and the outdoors? Then we need you to join our regular work parties to manage and restore sites of natural heritage interest in the Tame Valley Scheme area. Click on the link for further information!

Throwback Thursday – Lea Ford Cottage

The History of Lea Ford Cottage


Seen as it’s a Thursday, we’ve decided to do a throwback and what better throwback to do than our 17th Century Lea Ford Cottage? <— Click on the link for information!

Lea Ford Cottage 80s

Copyright Martin Wheeler

Hams Hall

Copyright Martin Wheeler












The old Hams Hall House, owned by the Adderley Family for 300 years until 1916.