Category Archives: Featured

The Tame Valley Wetlands Scheme – Our Achievements

The wetlands of the Tame Valley, located along a 20km stretch of the River Tame between Coleshill and Tamworth, offer a wonderful hidden landscape for people and wildlife.

The last century has seen huge impacts on the river and its floodplain due to pollution, sand and gravel extraction and fragmentation from development and transport routes.

In the past twenty years, the value of this area as a cohesive landscape has started to be recognised. In 2005, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust set up the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership and has championed action to strengthen the resilience of the area through the creation of bigger, better and more joined up habitats and by reconnecting local people with these natural assets that are so important for society.

Tame Valley Wetlands at Kingsbury Water Park © C.Harris (WWT)

Since then, the Partnership has grown and strengthened. On behalf of the Partnership, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust secured £1.8 million of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2013 to develop and deliver a landscape partnership scheme with the vision of ‘creating a wetland landscape, rich in wildlife and accessible to all’.

As we near the end of this funding, here are the headlines achievements from the last four years:

  • Over £2.5 million has been invested in the landscape.
  • The Trust and Partnership won the prestigious UK River Prize 2018 ‘Best Multiple Benefit Partnership Project’ category.
  • The area has been designated as Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull’s first Nature Improvement Area (NIA).
  • 23,500 volunteer hours have been donated and we’ve captured some really interesting local memories.
  • There have been over 110,000 page views of the Tame Valley Wetlands website and a Facebook total reach of nearly 450,000. We also reached an audience of 6.3 million people when we featured on BBC Countryfile!
  • 1,949 metres of hedgerow have been created or restored.

    Hedgelaying with volunteers © S.Lowe (WWT)

  • Over 2km of watercourse have been restored or enhanced, and 35 hectares of wetland habitat have been created or restored.

    River Tame re-profiling at Kingsbury Water Park © T.Haselden (WWT)

  • Nearly 300 school and youth sessions have been delivered, engaging with over 5,000 children and young people.

    Scarecrow event © R.Gries (WWT)

  • Over 240 events and training sessions have been run, with over 10,000 participants
    21 people have received a City & Guilds or Open College Network training accreditation, with a total of 3,088 guided learning hours. 40 young people have also received the John Muir Award.

    Live Willow Weaving at Lea Marston © Rita Gries (WWT)

  • 1 full-time, 18 month marketing apprenticeship has been completed, leading to the participant finding a full-time permanent job in the sector.
  • Over 6km of footpath have been improved and 74km made more accessible through the creation and promotion of 10 new circular trails.

    Finger post on the B’ham & Fazeley Canal © D.Jones (WWT)

  • A new brand and website has been established; a variety of new interpretation and films have been created; and a new ‘Gateway to the Tame Valley Wetlands’ visitor centre at Kingsbury Water Park has been created, with over 75,000 visitors.

    New interpretation at Kingsbury Water Park Visitor Centre © C.Harris (WWT)

But, that isn’t all!..

The grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has enabled us to deliver great outcomes for wildlife, people and heritage. It has also made us stronger as a partnership, with 24 organisations all working together towards our new shared 2030 vision.

‘Looking into the future’ (Farm wildlife event) © Rita Gries (WWT)

We have been working hard to make our presence in the area sustainable and a team of 5 members of staff plus our fantastic volunteers, hosted by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, will continue into 2019 and beyond.

Now, more than ever, partnership working at a landscape-scale is vital if we are to protect our wildlife and heritage, turn threats into opportunities, and build on the exciting momentum that we’ve created over the last few years.

A huge thank you to the Heritage Lottery Fund, Biffa Award, our other funders, partners, volunteers, the delivery team and the local community for making the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme such a success!

To find out more about our work over the last four years, watch our documentary film below!

Water & Habitats Specialist Officer (Tame Valley Wetlands)

An exciting opportunity has arisen to be part of the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Team!

Role: Water & Habitats Specialist Officer

Contract: Full-time post (Fixed term until 31st March 2020 with possible extension)

Salary: Grade 2b (£19,380 – £26,520)

Closing date: Sunday 4th November 2018

Job ref: WHSO-Oct18

Interview date: Friday 15th November 2018

Based at: Hams Hall Environmental Centre, B46 1GA, with travel across the Tame Valley Wetlands and wider catchment

Can you help us make water better for wildlife? We are looking for an outstanding individual who has strong project management and engagement skills.

The post will deliver a range of grant funded projects on rivers, canals and wetlands across the Tame Valley Wetlands and wider Warwickshire. Utilising techniques such as biological controls for non-native invasive species, natural flood management and the re-naturalisation of rivers the post holder will work with a range of partners and landowners to restore the ecological condition of wetlands, control invasive species, reduce flooding and help to create a more resilient landscape. Projects will aim to work at a landscape scale, helping to create bigger, better, more joined up areas for the benefits of key species like otter and water voles.

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust is the lead partner of the Tame Valley Wetlands Partnership with over 20 partners, including local, regional and national bodies such as the Environment Agency, Natural England, Parish, Borough and County Councils, the RSPB and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. The Partnership is working towards the vision that ‘by 2030, the Tame Valley Wetlands will be a high quality, well-known and valued landscape, rich in wildlife, beauty and culture for all to enjoy’.

The Tame Valley Wetlands is a unique and hidden landscape vital for people and wildlife. Located between Birmingham and Tamworth in North Warwickshire and south-east Staffordshire, it includes 29 kilometres of the River Tame, important tributaries and the canal corridor, as well as over 1,000 hectares of wetland habitat. In 2017, the area was designated as a Nature Improvement Area; the first in Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull.

Between 2014 and 2018 the Partnership has delivered a £2.5 million Landscape Partnership Scheme, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Partnership is now working towards an exciting sustainable future, continuing to act as an important collective voice and an active delivery agent, linking organisations and local communities together through a core delivery team in order to deliver its exciting 2030 vision.

For more information, to download the application pack and to apply, please visit: www.warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/jobs/water-habitats-officer

Tame Fish (Part 2)

Here’s another dreamy, relaxing video of fish on the River Tame.

In 2016, Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership led a project to recreate a back channel and reinstate an island feature at Tameside LNR, Tamworth, Staffordshire.

The back channel was created to serve as a fish refuge for small fish and fry, giving them a place that they could shelter, feed and grow within the dynamic River Tame environment.  Within the first summer, instream vegetation grew within the channel, offering ideal habitat for our target fish.

Two years on and the banks have established wonderful riparian plants, suitable for water vole should they return and the in channel vegetation is both submerged and emergent, which is great shelter for fish.

Our film evidences that minnow, gudgeon and fish fry are present within the refuge.  A job well done for securing an essential environment to support natural recruitment of freshwater fish in our big river systems.

 

 

The River Tame as you have never seen it before

Tame Valley Wetlands is excited to share with you the first of a few short videos filmed underwater in our fabulous rivers.

We have been working with Jack Perks who has perfected the art of underwater filming and we are truly thrilled with the results.

Our first clip was filmed on 25th September 2018 at three points within the River Tame at Kingsbury where we carried out river restoration work in 2014.

The River Tame was once dead to life.  Decades of work to improve water quality and improve river habitat are helping the river recover to its former glory, with grayling being caught by anglers in recent years.  The film shows different age classes of fish and certainly points to a productive fishery, supporting natural recruitment.

The short film is both fascinating to watch the behaviour of fish but also is very relaxing.

Dive in and watch the video.  Look out for the pike!

New Job Opportunity with the Tame Valley Wetlands – Tame Valley Wetlands NIA Development Manager

Do you want to lead development of the Tame Valley Wetlands Nature Improvement Area (NIA) for Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership? Are you keen to apply your skills in landscape-scale conservation, partnership work and securing resources, and want to take up a unique opportunity?

The Living Landscape vision is a key element in Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s new strategic plan, incorporating the Lawton principles of ‘Bigger, Better, More and Joined Up’. Tame Valley Wetlands is the Trust’s first landscape scale conservation scheme in Warwickshire, is designated a Nature Improvement Area (NIA) by the Local Nature Partnership, and is included in the developing wider vision for a National Park across the West Midlands.

We are seeking someone with the passion and knowledge to work on landscape scale habitat and species conservation to make this happen. The Development Manager will lead on the next phase for the Tame Valley Wetlands NIA, following a highly successful 4 year HLF and partner funded scheme 2014-2018 and previous development since 2005. You will develop Tame Valley Wetlands NIA as a destination for people and wildlife, and raise awareness of the increasing value to wildlife of this landscape area, whilst continuing our core work of habitat restoration and volunteer engagement and training.

A core part of your role will be to think creatively and work together with partners, identifying opportunities to develop and sustain our work. You will work to encourage delivery by partners and stakeholders across the landscape area. You will develop sustainable engagement of people, encouraging local ownership and long term management of habitats.

We welcome applicants from all sectors of the community.

Salary: Grade £28,560 – £34,680
This is a FIXED TERM appointment initially for 2 years, with the possibility of extension subject to securing further funding.

Location: Hams Hall Environmental Centre, Coleshill, North Warwickshire B46 1GA.

Closing date for completed applications: 8.30am on Monday 8th October 2018.

Interviews: Thursday 18th October 2018 at Hams Hall Environmental Centre.

To download the application pack and to apply, please visit Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s website here:  www.warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/TameValleyDevelopmentManager

Balsam meets its match at Church Pool Covert!

Tameforce volunteers have installed 80m2 of pre planted coir pallets to transform a forgotten stream in Church Pool Covert at our Hams Hall office.

We have worked with volunteer groups this year, to clear Himalayan balsam from the wooded site where the invasive plant has dominated the area.  We have then reinstated native species to improve biodiversity value and help prevent soil loss in flood events.  This is part of our ‘Balsam meets its match’ project funded by Banister Charitable Trust where we are working with our partners to improve a number of sites with the Tame Valley Wetlands.

Yesterday, our Tameforce volunteers prepared a 400m2 area ready for grass seeding using species which are happy in shaded and wetland environments.

We then installed 80m2 of preplanted coir pallets along a 20m length of stream.  The coir pallets 2m x 1m in size and are like a planted rug.  The pallet is made from coconut fibre which will degrade over time, giving the plants the chance to establish the root system in the bank while also providing some erosion protection of the soil, preventing the soil being washed away in the winter into the river system, which degrades water quality.

Take a look at these awesome before and after photographs.

 

 

 

Telling the Tale of the Tame

We commissioned ‘History Needs You’ to create some enchanting films sharing your memories, photos and knowledge to help us Tell the Tale of the Tame.

After months of work gathering your precious memoirs, History Needs You have created three wonderful films which shines a light on the Tame Valley, allowing you to scratch the surface and delve deeper into what makes this area special.

Sit back and enjoy these three films with more to follow soon.

 

Working together in the Tame Valley Wetlands – celebrating our achievements!

Nearly one hundred volunteers and representatives from local groups and organisations on the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership came together to celebrate the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme on Tuesday 17th July 2018.

The evening event took place at Drayton Manor Park Hotel near Tamworth and celebrated the successes of working together in partnership for the benefit of the natural environment, heritage and people in the Tame Valley Wetlands – a unique, watery landscape between Birmingham and Tamworth.  The Partnership also presented its future vision and plans for the area.

Delivery staff talked about their top highlights and there were displays from partner organisations.  A film summarising the scheme’s achievements was also premiered, which will be launched online in August.  Volunteers and staff were thanked for their hard work and support and two individuals received a special award in recognition of their long-standing dedication and commitment to improving the environment of the Tame Valley Wetlands.

Andrew Crawford is the Biodiversity Technical Specialist at the Environment Agency and has worked tirelessly to improve the River Tame and its tributaries for over 30 years. Andrew has led and advised on many river restoration projects and has seen the transformation of the river over the decades – from one that was so polluted it sustained no life at all, to a thriving watercourse home to wildlife such as grayling and otter.

Maurice Arnold is a local naturalist with extensive knowledge of natural and local history.  Maurice was a founder member of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and has been an active local wildlife recorder and surveyor for over 60 years, in particular carrying out fritillary counts on Broad Meadow Local Nature Reserve in Tamworth since the 1950s.  This has provided vital data to protect these important sites and inform current and future management.

Celebration Event on 17 July 2018 at Drayton Manor Park Hotel © Tim Haselden (Warwickshire Wildlife Trust)

Tim Haselden, Tame Valley Wetlands Scheme Manager said:

“We are delighted to be able to present a special award to Andrew Crawford and Maurice Arnold for their outstanding service to the Tame Valley Wetlands over so many years. We would also like to thank everyone who has volunteered and worked on the scheme over the last four years – none of this would have been possible without their amazing help and support, and the vital funding received from the Heritage Lottery Fund, our partners and other funders.

The Partnership was established back in 2005 and we plan to build on the successes of the last few years with an ambitious 2030 vision, focussed on continuing to enhance the environment and connecting people with their landscape.  We also plan to develop the area as a green tourist destination and work with planners and developers to protect and enhance the environment where possible for both people and wildlife.

The River Tame is in recovery and the Partnership is focused on delivering further projects which will ensure there is ecological resilience in the River Tame Catchment, supporting our precious wildlife and habitats in the face of human pressures such as pollution, flooding, development and climate change.”

The evening was rounded off by a positive speech from Alan Taylor, Heritage Lottery Fund Committee Member for the West Midlands.  The Heritage Lottery Fund has been the primary funder of the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme, investing £1.8 million since 2013. This will result in investment in the Tame Valley Wetlands’ landscape of £2.5 million by the end of 2018.

Amongst the successes of the past few years, the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust were named as a finalist for the UK River Prize 2018 and the winner of the ‘Multiple Benefit Partnership’ category.

Over the last four years, the scheme has:

  • improved 1,935 metres of watercourse;
  • created or restored 35 hectares of wetland habitat;
  • restored 1,466 metres of hedgerow through planting and laying;
  • created over 15,500 face-to-face engagements with the public, through school and youth sessions, events and training;
  • held 230 events and training sessions;
  • secured over £325,000 of volunteer time and in-kind support from partner organisations;
  • designated 3 sites as Local Wildlife Sites and the landscape as a Nature Improvement Area;
  • created the ‘Gateway to the Tame Valley Wetlands’ Visitor Centre at Kingsbury Water Park;
  • created a long distance footpath ‘The Tame Way’ and various circular walks.

The Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme is 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’.

The Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership is led by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust in partnership with a wide variety of organisations including charities, local groups, statutory bodies and councils.

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Notes for Editors:

The Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership (TVWLP) has a vision of creating a wetland landscape, rich in wildlife and accessible to all. There are 23 organisations on the Partnership and the Board consists of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (Lead Partner), the Canal & River Trust, the Environment Agency, Natural England, North Warwickshire Borough Council, the RSPB, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Tamworth Borough Council and Warwickshire County Council.

The Tame Valley Wetlands (Landscape Partnership) Scheme will be delivered by the TVWLP between 2014 and 2018. The Partnership will receive £1.7 million funding from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund (plus £100K development funding in 2013), enabling a £2.5 million scheme to be delivered, which aims to restore built and natural heritage and reconnect local people with their landscape. The scheme covers a 104 km² area of the Tame Valley Wetlands between Birmingham and Tamworth, in North Warwickshire and south-east Staffordshire.

Work will focus on conserving and enhancing approximately 50 hectares of river and wetland habitat and restoring two Grade II listed structures on the canal network. The scheme includes the development of the Tame Way – linking, enhancing and promoting a network of footpaths, bridleways and cycle routes between Birmingham and Tamworth. Plans are also in place for a new interpretation centre at Kingsbury Water Park and an interactive website and phone app, providing easily accessible information and resources to help people explore and discover the Tame Valley Wetlands.

The initiative will also provide volunteering and training opportunities for local people and support groups working to look after their local area. A series of events and activities will also be delivered, with the aim of engaging with hundreds of school children, young people and members of the public. Informal training will be provided through taster days, with the chance for people to learn new skills and improve their CVs through more formal, accredited training programmes.

Wetlands provide a vital role in reducing flooding and improving water quality, whilst their biodiversity-rich habitats also provide an important home for wildlife and a place for sensitive recreation and relaxation. The Tame Valley Wetlands are a ‘blue lung’ in an area of the country otherwise dominated by transport routes and development. For more information, visit www.tamevalleywetlands.co.uk.

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (WWT) is the lead partner on the TVWLP. The Trust is the largest local conservation charity working across Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull. Their main purpose is to promote the interests of wildlife, wild places and the natural environment for the wider benefit of society, people and local communities. They promote a better natural environment for local wildlife and local people as part of the aim to create a Living Landscape in the West Midlands where wildlife and local people can live and thrive together. WWT manages 65 nature reserves, covering over 800 hectares and is a voluntary membership organisation supported by more than 23,000 individual members, over 20 corporate members and over 700 volunteers. For more information, visit www.warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, they invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 36,000 projects with more than £6bn across the UK. For more information, visit www.hlf.org.uk.

Sand Martins move into the Community Wetlands at Kingsbury Water Park

Exciting news! Sand martins have moved into the sand martin hotel at Kingsbury Water Park’s, Community Wetlands.

The sand martin hotel was built in January 2017 and features 51 nest hole entrances.  It was planted up during the spring and was featured on Countryfile in April 2017 as pupils from Kingsbury School, volunteers from Friends of Kingsbury Water Park and Country Park Rangers, installed pre-planted coir rolls and pallets around the base of the moated feature.

Tracey Doherty, Wetland Landscape Officer for Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership said “This is great news.  We were thrilled to learn this week that our feathered friends have moved in with approximately 20 of the nest holes being used.  Sand martins like to nest in river banks along the Valley.  Summer flood events are getting more common and the nature of the River Tame is such that, the nest burrows will quickly get flooded during the critical breeding bird season.  We designed an artificial nest site which mimicked the aspects of natural nest sites in the river corridor but then ensured that the nesting area was above the level of the highest flood.    It’s a wonderful asset for the Tame Valley corridor and a much needed safe nesting site.  They are likely to return to this site next year, now they have found it”.