Category Archives: Latest News

Work on the willows continues at Borrowpit Lake

The Lamb Angling Club held a work party on Sunday, 19th November 2017 to continue the work on the willows which have become a ‘den of mischief’ in recent years.

Six members of the Club worked hard to remove and stack the brash so that our Partner, Tamworth Borough Council – Streetscene team could chip them. The site is really starting to open up and feel safer.  Again, there was three big bags of litter collected – glass beer bottles, plastic soft drinks bottles and cans mostly.  We are continuing to get lots of positive feedback from passers by, which is great motivation.

There’s still lots to do and it has the making of a great wetland area. Watch this space!

Here are some before and after photos taken on Sunday.

Start of the ‘big’ stream clean up at Borrowpit Lake

Today, we have been working on clearing the brook that links Borrowpit Lake to the River Anker.  Just two people worked hard to clear a 30m section of litter and encroaching instream vegetation.

The clean up produced 10 bags of litter, 6 traffic cones, 1 tyre, 1 snowboard and 1 full size punch bag.  We estimate between 150-175 glass and plastic bottles and cans were removed from this short section of stream in less than 3 hours.

  • 6 traffic cones, 1 tyre, 1 snowboard and 1 full size punching bag were the interesting finds of the day
  • 10 bags of litter containing no less than 150-175 bottles and cans collected in 3 hours
  • Many bottles and cans were submerged in the stream.
  • Over 20 bottles were found within a 2m square area beneath nettles on the stream bank
  • It may look like vegetation but it is hiding something....
  • We discovered a headwall into the stream, completed blocked and with bottles inside the pipework too!

We received lots of great comments from passers by who told us to “keep up the good work” or “you are doing a great job”.   This nice feedback is great motivation.

Thanks again to Tamworth Borough Council Streetscene team who came out to collect all the rubbish.

Take a look at the before and after photos.

 

 

 

Pathway improvements at Borrowpit Lake

Tame Valley Wetlands are extremely grateful for help by six volunteers from Keir Services (Area 9) who transformed a dark, enclosed pathway to be more open and accessible at Borrowpit Lake, Tamworth.

  • The guys start to remove the willow dome den that is a hub of anti social mischief. Removing this will help make the area safer.
  • The girls remove the blackthorn scrub encroachment, opening up the pathway and making it more accessible and feeling safer by improving the sight lines
  • Streetscene came out to chip all the vegetation which can be used as landscaping material in the Borough
  • The Environmental team from Keir Services who manage Area 9 for Highways England.

The environmental team worked hard all day to clear vegetation near Borrowpit Lake and the Snowdome to help define a pathway and create a safer space for walkers around the lakeside. Their hard work was immediately recognised by passers by who welcomed the work and said what a difference it made.

Partners in our Borrowpit Lake project, Tamworth Borough Council and The Lamb Angling Club came out to see the work and thank the group.

We are also extremely grateful for support from Tamworth Borough Council, whose Streetscene team chipped the arisings and removed three large bags of rubbish from the site.  The  wood chippings can be reused as landscaping material.

Take a look at some of the before and after photos.

 

 

Curdworth hedge receives heritage makeover

If you have driven along the Kingsbury Road through Curdworth village you may have noticed some work happening at the King George V Playing Fields.

We are working in partnership with Curdworth Parish Council to give the hedgerow alongside the playing field car park a heritage makeover with the ancient skill of hedge laying.

The work should be complete by the end of October 2017. This work is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund.

Here are some before and after photos.

Mini-beast hotels

Creating Mini-beast hotels from recycled pallets.

As part of the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme, the Community Environmental Trust has enhanced an outdoor space at St. Gerards Primary School in Castle Vale, east Birmingham.

Simon Lowe, Tame Valley Wetlands’ Training and Education Officer together with Sarah Oulaghan, Project Officer Community Environmental Trust created a “ Mini-beast hotel “ in the grounds of the school. The hotel was constructed from recycled pallets which were kindly donated by BMW at Hams Hall and was filled with various bits of material, both natural and manmade, which were collected from the local area and also brought in from home by the children.

Ten children from the after-school eco club, came out and assisted with the construction of the hotel, with the idea being that it would provide an invaluable resource for future lessons involving insects, habitats and the environment, not to mention providing a home for an abundance of creatures ranging from insects, to amphibians and even hedgehogs.

The hotel has been in-situ for almost a year and the children are already using the hotel to learn about the different species which live in their school grounds and are already getting to grips with identifying what they find.

You can find out more about how you can help your local wildlife by visiting the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust website and clicking on the “ how to help wildlife “ page. Here you will find plenty of fun activities that you can do in your own garden.

warwickshirewildlifetrust  ▸

Quotes requested for the production of films

TVWLPS is seeking to commission a series of promotional films for its circular and long distance walks in the Tame Valley, a short documentary celebrating the work of the Heritage Lottery Funded project, and a short promotional film advertising the Tame Valley Wetlands’ landscape..

TVWLP is seeking to commission:

  • 10 x 90-second walks videos detailing the Tame Valley Wetlands’ package of circular walks (5 – 10 miles), and a 120-second video promoting the Tame Valley Wetlands’ longer distance route through the Tame Valley Wetlands scheme area, The Tame Way.
  • A short documentary film (3-5 mins) to celebrate the work of the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership project, featuring interviews with staff, volunteers and scheme partners, along with representative shots of on going and competed projects, and the Tame Valley landscape.
  • A short promotional film advertising the Tame Valley Wetlands’ landscape – its assets, appeal and value for people and wildlife – for marketing and tourism purposes.

A Brief outlining the work required is available to download here

Download Brief…

Deadline

Consultants are invited to quote for the work outlined in the Brief by 10.00am, Monday 30th October 2017.

Contact

For more information, please contact Dafydd Jones.

Quotes requested for the creation of animated film

TVWLPS is seeking to commission a short animated film to illustrate the story and importance of the Tame Valley from prehistory through to the present day.

The animation should be around 3 – 5 minutes in length and should tell the story of the valley in an engaging way. The final animation will be shown on the TVW and partner websites, and at the Kingsbury Water Park visitor centre.

The animation will show how the valley has changed over the centuries, through natural and human influences, from its’ formation at the end of the last Ice Age, through the arrival of human settlers, up to the modern era and the impact of industry, canals, railways, roads, gravel pits and mining on the landscape and wildlife.

A Brief outlining the work required is available to download here

Download Brief…

Deadline

Consultants are invited to quote for the work outlined in the Brief by 10.00am, Tuesday 24th October 2017.

Contact

For more information, please contact Chris Harris.

Himalayan balsam meets its match!

Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership is working with CABI scientists and Partners to introduce a new control method for Himalayan balsam, a non-native plant species that is negatively impacting the river corridor and its associated wetland habitats.

Non-native invasive species cost millions of pounds each year to control. Their negative effect on our native wildlife and habitats is of deep concern to conservation groups.  One such plant is Himalayan balsam.  In 2003, the Environment Agency estimated it would cost £300 million to eradicate completely; since then, the weed has continued to invade new areas.

Introduced to the UK in the 19th Century as an ornamental plant, its spread to the wider environment has negatively affected rivers, floodplains, connected ditches and waterbodies.  The plant efficiently spreads through seed dispersal, with each plant producing upto 2500 seeds that are released and catapulted to a distance of upto seven metres.  It is then widely spread through rivers and flood events, colonising river banks and connected wetland to create dense stands of plants.

In 2006, CABI scientists were commissioned by the Environment Agency, DEFRA and the Scottish Government to find a reliable and efficient biological control method for Himalayan balsam. Field visits to the Himalayan foothills of India and Pakistan identified a number of natural enemies that were tested as potential biological control agents for the weed.  Most of these agents were later ruled out, buta highly specific rust fungal plant pathogen, which lives its whole life cycle on Himalayan Balsam, was found to offer the best control solution.

The Tame Valley Wetlands area is now benefiting from over 10 years of CABI research, public consultation and associated field trials by introducing the rust fungus on to Himalayan balsam in the Tame Catchment area. If successful, the rust will help decrease the impact of the weed.

Tracey Doherty, Wetland Landscape Officer for Tame Valley Wetlands said “100,000’s of volunteer hours are spent controlling Himalayan balsam along our rivers and floodplains in the UK.  There are many negative effects of this plant on the environment, namely the monoculture that it creates. These tall 10-12ft plants with large leaves shade out our native plant species and also reduce the beneficial fungi that live in the soil that our native plants need but balsam doesn’t.  Its shallow root system does not help with soil retention, contributing to erosion and aiding sedimentation pathways into our rivers and streams that negatively affect water quality, fish and invertebrate populations. Biodiversity is reduced in these Himalayan balsam dominated sites.  Less species use the plant, although some pollinators do have a benefit when in flower.  An effective, plant specific rust fungus which has undergone consultation process and rigorous testing is a valuable tool to combat the spread and aid control of this invasive plant. The rust fungus will not eradicate Himalayan balsam completely from our landscape but it will make it more manageable, by being one of a number of plants along a water course instead of creating a monoculture, having more negative effects on our environment, than positive.  This means pollinators will still be able to use the plant but more importantly, they will be able to feed and pollinate our native plant species instead.  We are grateful to Heritage Lottery Fund and our Partners for supporting this pioneering work that will be monitored over the coming years.”

Carol Ellison, Senior Plant Pathologist, Invasive Species Management at CABI said “Invasive plants that have been introduced into a new area usually arrive without the natural enemies, such as insects and diseases, which keep them from dominating in their native habitats.  Biological control aims to redress this imbalance by introducing damaging, coevolved natural enemies into the invasive range, to achieve sustainable suppression of the weed.  This approach, although new to Europe, has been implemented globally for well over 100 years, with some spectacular successes. Strict scientific procedures are followed to ensure the safety of the selected agent. We are optimistic that once established in an area, the rust fungus will spread naturally and significantly reduce the growth and seed production of Himalayan balsam. Although this is likely to take a number of years to achieve, as the rust fungus needs to build up in a population, the impact will be permanent, unlike conventional control methods, such as manual removal and herbicides.”

  • Himalayan balsam dominates ditch system - early May © Warwickshire Wildlife Trust 2017

This project is part of the Tame Valley Wetlands – a landscape partnership scheme supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, aiming to create a wetland landscape, rich in wildlife and accessible to all.

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

This project is working collaboratively with CABI scientists, West Midland Bird Club, Warwickshire County Council Country Parks and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

 

Lights, camera, wildlife, action!

If you had the opportunity to film your experiences in the Tame Valley Wetlands, what would they include? Walks? Wildlife? History?

All this and more was the focus of a documentary made by young people in the Tame Valley Wetlands over the summer holiday. With the help of local film maker Simon Walker, the group from The Sanctuary in Castle Vale worked together to explore the wetlands, decide on the content of their film, and had a chance to get behind the camera and edit the final version.

Nicola, our Youth Engagement Officer, helped the girls to explore new locations in the Tame Valley Wetlands, get up close and personal with our native (and occasionally non-native!) wildlife and learn new skills, the most important of which was obviously how to toast the perfect marshmallow!

“We all had a really fun experience making this documentary, and it was amazing to see how the girls worked together over the summer to write the script and get the perfect shots to make the film, as well as exploring their local landscapes and learning about our local wildlife. This experience is something that they will remember for a long time”.

New Gnomes and Toy Trains

This is a story of generosity, of kindness and of garden gnomes. You may remember the great ‘Gnome Massacre’ at Echills Wood Railway in Kingsbury Water Park earlier this year, where dozens of gnomes that had been donated over the years were smashed overnight by vandals.

Well, one Tamworth based group decided that they wanted to help. SkillsTank from CareFirst, a group for adults with special needs, bought and handpainted several gnomes with the intention of donating them to the railway in replacement of the damaged population, and this week they were able to donate them in person.

Such an act of generosity gets repaid in kind! When the Echills Wood Railway volunteers heard that SkillsTank were visiting Kingsbury Water Park with their gnomes, they decided to put on a special chartered train ride for the group. After being met and briefed by Railway staff, we were taken round to the new gnome village, where the group were able to give their gnomes a new home next to the railway lines. This was followed by not one, but two, circuits around the Park on the toy trains, put on especially for the SkillsTank group. The friendliness and kindness of the Railway staff was met with vigorous waving all the way round the tracks!

Nicola Lynes, the Youth Engagement Officer for the Tame Valley Wetlands, said “part of what we try to do within the Tame Valley Wetlands is to connect different groups of people and work together for the benefit of the environment and people who live within the Wetlands.”

The Echills Wood Railway is a miniature railway located in Kingsbury Water Park and runs passenger services on weekends – find out more on their website www.ewr.org.uk

The Tame Valley Wetlands youth engagement programme aims to increase connection between young people and their local natural spaces. For more information, contact Nicola at youth@tamevalleywetlands.co.uk