Category Archives: Latest News

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”.

 

Himalayan Balsam meets its match!

Himalayan balsam is meeting its match right now in the Tame Valley Wetlands scheme area thanks to the support from Banister Charitable Trust!

This important funding is enabling us to work with our partners to tackle this highly invasive non-native species using a combination of people power and rust fungus!

Photo above shows a dominated river bank with flowering Himalayan balsam at Whitacre Heath SSSI

Our project aims to create an exemplar of best practice on how to finally address the challenge of Himalayan balsam at a number of sites in the Tame Valley through a combination of:-

  1. Working with volunteers to manage Himalayan balsam through easy practical methods (bashing / strimming / pulling) that everyone can do which can be easily maintained for at least 2-3 years.
  2. reinstate native plant species which help bind the soil which will prevent it being washed away during winter flood events and also prevents nutrients entering rivers, degrading habitat and causing silts to cover important fish spawning gravels.
  3. Improving biodiversity value of a site as native plant species are more beneficial to a wider range of pollinating insects who also benefit from a longer flowering season with a variety of flowers and grasses compared to a balsam dominated monoculture which shades out native species.
  4. Work with CABI scientists to introduce a biocontrol to help manage Himalayan balsam at a landscape scale with a ‘species specific’ rust fungus that has been given Government approval for release after 10 years of research and consultation.  It will not eradicate Himalayan balsam but will make it easier to manage, being one of a variety of plants on a site, instead of the dominant species we have now.
  5. Be proactive and improve awareness of non native species in the scheme area, provide useful resources and highlight the importance of biosecurity ‘Check Clean Dry’ to prevent the spread of them.  It’s as simple as cleaning the soles of your shoes properly to prevent seeds being transferred to another site!
  6. Create a lasting legacy in the Tame Valley Wetlands on good practice.

Watch this space!

If you want to learn more, get advice or get involved with our non native species control project then email enquiries@tamevalleywetlands.co.uk.

 

New tenants arrive at Hams Hall

Back in February we installed a series of wildlife cameras and nest boxes around the office at Hams Hall. During the last weekend in April, blue tits began to move in to one of the nest boxes.

Take a look at  some of the footage of our new tenants!

We’re in the final for the UK River Prize 2018!

**PRESS RELEASE**

The Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership reaches the final for the prestigious UK River Prize 2018!

Finalists have been announced for the 2018 UK River Prize. This prestigious award celebrates the important work being carried out in the UK to improve our rivers. The Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership is delighted to be named as a finalist and the winner of the ‘Multiple Benefit Partnership’ category.

The UK River Prize celebrates the achievements of those individuals and organisations working to improve our rivers and catchments, and recognises the benefits to society of having a healthy natural environment.

Administered by the River Restoration Centre and judged by a panel of experts, the overall winner of the UK River Prize for 2018, and recipient of the Nigel Holmes Trophy, will be announced at an Awards Dinner in Nottingham on the 24th April 2018.

There are four project categories to the Award:-Catchment Scale project, Urban River project, Innovation and Multiple Benefit Partnership project. Winners from each category go forward to the Overall UK River Prize.

Tracey Doherty, Wetland Landscape Officer for the Lead Partner, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, said:

“We are delighted to announce that the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership is the winner of the Multiple Benefit Partnership Category. This is wonderful acknowledgement of all the exciting projects and activities that have been delivered in the Tame Valley Wetlands Nature Improvement Area since September 2014 thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and support from a fantastic volunteer network. Our partners have supported our work and provided valuable match funding to make this scheme a success.

We’re working closely with the Environment Agency, Parish, Borough and County Councils, the local community, farmers, land owners and local volunteers, interest groups and angling clubs to deliver a wide range of projects which will enhance the Tame Valley Wetlands for wildlife and people.

Our large river and wetland habitat projects aim to restore river processes, reconnect floodplains, create wetland habitat which makes space for water in high flow events. Restoring natural processes has a positive effect to water quality which will ultimately benefit the small freshwater invertebrates and fish populations that depend on them. Fish require a variety of habitats at different life stages so making the river more complex and providing refuge areas will support natural recruitment and survival rates.

Our work to manage invasive non-native species such as Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed and American mink in the scheme area enhances the riparian habitats even further and will encourage recolonisation of our native plant species and mammals such as water vole which is in severe decline.”

Over the last four years, the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership has so far:

  • 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 226 events and training sessions;
  • secured £325,000 of volunteer time and in-kind support from partner organisations;
  • designated 3 sites as Local Wildlife Sites (with more planned this year);
  • 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.

…resulting in an investment of £2.1 million in the Tame Valley Wetlands’ landscape between Birmingham and Tamworth over the last four years, with a significant proportion from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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 wetland wildlife in the future from human pressures such as pollution, flooding, development and climate change.

Tame Valley Wetlands is 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.

*Ends*

Tamworth Spring Clean

DOZENS of bags of rubbish, four shopping trollies, two bicycles and a bench frame were among the waste and litter collected by community-spirited volunteers during a spring clean event in early March.

Willing volunteers of all ages rolled up their sleeves and helped tidy large parts of the Bolebridge ‘egg’ roundabout near the Castle Grounds, and the water channel that runs through it, during a four-hour community litter pick on Saturday, March 10.

The event was organised by Tamworth Borough Council as part of Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘Great British Spring Clean’ campaign, which aims to bring people across the country together to help tidy our streets, parks and countryside.

It was supported by volunteers from Tamworth Borough Council’s Street Scene department, Tame Valley Wetlands and Wild About Tamworth, local nature groups, people on Community Payback schemes and members of the public. Organisers were pleased with the turnout despite the poor weather forecast and gloomy conditions.

› Read the full story at Tamworth Informed

TORC lend a hand

If you’ve noticed any extra conservation work going on around Tamworth in the last few months, you may have TORC college to thank.

Tame Valley Wetlands teamed up with TORC college in Tamworth to provide work experience placements for their students, and everyone has reaped the benefits! The students have gained valuable real-life experience in the field, learning about the work of the Tame Valley Wetlands and the Wild about Tamworth project, and getting stuck into conservation tasks. The Wild about Tamworth volunteer groups have gained the man power of the students to help with extra conservation tasks on their sites.

Students have got involved in clearing reed beds at Warwickshire Moor, maintaining the paths at Kettle Brook LNR, and removing scrub and installing a bench at Hodge Lane among other tasks. These tasks have improved biodiversity of the sites, and help to improve access for those who use the site regularly. Pam Clark, a volunteer at Warwickshire Moor, said:

“Thanks to all the young people who came to help. They worked hard for us, and it really is appreciated.”

Nicola Lynes, Youth Engagement Officer for Tame Valley Wetlands said: “Work experience such as this can be a valuable asset to young people in college or high school in order to help them develop the skills they need to get a job in future, and also for them to decide what career path to take up. It also has the added benefit of giving something back to their local community.”

To find out more about youth projects in the Tame Valley Wetlands, contact youth@tamevalleywetlands.co.uk. To find out more, or to volunteer with your local Wild about Tamworth group, visit https://www.tamworth.gov.uk/wild-about-tamworth

Heritage Training Workshops to be held in Warwickshire

Warwickshire County Council in partnership with Tame Valley Wetlands is to hold a series of heritage training workshops over the next few months.

The events are being organised by the County Council’s Historic Environment Record Team and are entirely free to attend. The workshops will help local communities understand and be able to advocate for the heritage and historic environment in their area.

The series of workshops kicks off on 31 January at The Old Market Hall, Coleshill with an event entitled ‘Identifying, understanding and valuing heritage’. The workshop will seek to:

  • Explain the concepts of ‘historic environment’ and why it is important to local community, environment, and economy.
  • Provide guidance on how to obtain and develop an historic environment ‘evidence base’.
  • Provide instruction on how to identify and record the character of locally distinctive urban and rural areas.

Following this, there will be further events held throughout February and March on various different aspects of heritage and the environment.

Councillor Jeff Clarke, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Environment said:

“These workshops are a great way for residents to learn more about their area and how best to protect important parts of Warwickshire’s heritage.

“They’re entirely free for residents to attend and will enable you to get involved in looking after our fantastic county for generations to come”

For more information contact simon.lowe@wkwt.org.uk

To book please visit https://tamevalleywetlands.eventbrite.co.uk/

Tameforce volunteers pulling ragwort from Castle Vale Meadow (Birmingham), © Tame Valley Wetlands, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust 2017

Tameforce volunteers donate over 7,000 hours since 2015

A team of dedicated volunteers have been improving the landscape of the Tame Valley Wetlands for wildlife and people, totalling 7,009 hours of volunteering since 2015.

“Tameforce” is a group of volunteers carrying out environmental conservation and countryside access work as part of the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme. The group started in June 2015, with one volunteer, and 34 more have taken part since then. They have worked at 29 locations in the Tame Valley Wetlands area, from Southfields farm in Coleshill to Warwickshire Moor local nature reserve in Tamworth.

Tameforce volunteers installing a bench in Dosthill Park local nature reserve, © Tame Valley Wetlands, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust 2017

Tameforce volunteers installing a bench in Dosthill Park local nature reserve, © Tame Valley Wetlands, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust 2017

“The idea behind Tameforce was to support local groups, landowners and local authorities who want to improve the environment or encourage people to enjoy nature, but may not have the capacity to do so.” Rita Gries, Tame Valley Wetlands community and events officer said. “Our volunteers have truly exceeded our expectations. Over the last 2.5 years, they accomplished so much, surpassed all the targets we had set, and kept an upbeat and supportive attitude whatever the weather”

Angella Rodgers, member of Friends of the Lakes, a Tamworth-based community group said “We greatly appreciated the input from the Tameforce volunteers at Stoneydelph lakes. They helped us clear a huge area of invasive brambles, thin trees in the woodland and clear a pathway. The extra manpower meant we were able to complete substantial tasks, but it was also like having a training day. The volunteers were used to doing these tasks and competed them with confidence. We began to see that we also could make a real difference in our volunteering, and we like to think that we carried on the good work.”

Stoneydelph lakes before and after: Orchard at Kettle brook local nature reserve (near Stoneydelph lake) before and after Tameforce volunteers cleared brambles ©Angella Rodgers

Stoneydelph lakes before and after: Orchard at Kettle brook local nature reserve (near Stoneydelph lake) before and after Tameforce volunteers cleared brambles ©Angella Rodgers

For volunteers, Tameforce offers an opportunity to give something back to society, build up skills, keep fit and socialise. Vicky Jorden, a Tameforce volunteer, said: “I enjoy the sense of achievement at the end of the day, when I can see the difference we have made to an area, and enjoy working with a diverse, friendly and interesting team. I have learnt many new practical skills through my volunteering and gained confidence in my physical abilities”

Tameforce volunteers meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and are led by Tame Valley Wetlands staff. They take on many different tasks, such as building nest boxes, planting trees and wildflowers, removing invasive non-native rhododendron and Himalayan balsam, managing woodland and wetland and hedge laying. They have also worked hard to improve access  for all in the Tame Valley Wetlands: clearing vegetation from footpaths, replacing stiles with kissing gates, installing benches and improving way marking. They have helped create four new circular walks, and improved a total of 30km of footpath. Since 2015, Tameforce has also cleared litter off 42 acres of land, the equivalent of 28 football pitches.

Tameforce volunteers pulling ragwort from Castle Vale Meadow (Birmingham), © Tame Valley Wetlands, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust 2017

Tameforce volunteers pulling ragwort from Castle Vale Meadow (Birmingham), © Tame Valley Wetlands, 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. Those interested in joining Tameforce should email volunteering@tamevalleywetlands.co.uk. The circular walks are downloadable from www.tamevalleywetlands.co.uk

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.

 

Kettle brook before and after laying woodchip: Path in Kettlebrook local nature reserve (Tamworth), before and after Tameforce volunteers laid woodchip, © Roy Chambers, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust 2017

Kettle brook before and after laying woodchip: Path in Kettlebrook local nature reserve (Tamworth), before and after Tameforce volunteers laid woodchip, © Roy Chambers, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust 2017

the bank of the River Tame arm at Tameside local nature reserve before and after Tameforce volunteers planted wildflowers © Tracey Doherty, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust 2017

the bank of the River Tame arm at Tameside local nature reserve before and after Tameforce volunteers planted wildflowers © Tracey Doherty, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust 2017

Tameforce volunteers planting a hedge in Castle Vale conservation area (Birmingham), © Tame Valley Wetlands, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust 2017

Tameforce volunteers planting a hedge in Castle Vale conservation area (Birmingham), © Tame Valley Wetlands, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust 2017

Tameforce volunteers laying a hedge at Kingsbury Water Park, © Tame Valley Wetlands, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust 2017

Tameforce volunteers laying a hedge at Kingsbury Water Park, © Tame Valley Wetlands, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust 2017

Tameforce volunteers putting in fencing at Kingsbury Water Park, © Ebony Chapman, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust

Tameforce volunteers putting in fencing at Kingsbury Water Park, © Ebony Chapman, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust

Bench installed by Tameforce volunteers in Dosthill Park local nature reserve, © Tame Valley Wetlands, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust 2017

Bench installed by Tameforce volunteers in Dosthill Park local nature reserve, © Tame Valley Wetlands, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust 2017

 

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.