Category Archives: Projects

Visitor Centre gets a facelift

It’s all change this summer, as Kingsbury Water Park’s visitor centre, near Tamworth, gets a face-lift as part of a multi-million pound scheme funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Please see below for information on when the centre will be opening to the public.

Kingsbury Water Park, owned and managed by Warwickshire County Council, sits at the heart of the Tame Valley Wetlands, an extraordinary area of lakes, ponds, rivers and canals between Tamworth and Birmingham.

The 250 hectare country park is renowned for its wildlife and is one of the area’s most popular attractions; over 300,000 people visit the site each year to enjoy the park’s lakes, woodlands, way marked trails and activities.

As part of the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme, led by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, the park’s visitor centre is getting an £80,000 makeover and will be re-branded as “The Gateway to the Tame Valley Wetlands”.

Working with consultant ABG Design, the project, with funding from Warwickshire County Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, has redesigned the interior and exterior of the building with a range of interpretation panels, interactive displays and maps detailing the wildlife, landscape and heritage of the area. The interior layout of the building has also been re-organised to make it more user-friendly. Visitors will be encouraged to explore and discover the park and the wider Tame Valley Wetlands.

Tame Valley Wetlands LP Scheme Manager, Tim Haselden said:

Working with our partners at Warwickshire County Council, we are transforming the inside and outside of the visitor centre to help visitors to better understand and appreciate both the park and the wider landscape. Kingsbury Water Park will act as a gateway to explore the Tame Valley Wetlands.

The work to transform the centre will be carried out during May 2017. The centre will re-open with a soft launch in the week of 15th May (likely to open to the public on Wednesday 17th May), with an official opening on Saturday 1st July. Watch this space for more details about the opening.

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

Make a Difference in Conservation, Train for Free!

Local people are being offered a FREE, nationally recognised qualification in Environmental & Heritage Conservation.


Courtesy of the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme (LPS), people of all ages, looking for a new career path or wanting to gain new skills and experience, can now take part in practical conservation training, for no cost at all!This fantastic opportunity allows people to take advantage of the health benefits of socialising and being outside, whilst learning at their own pace. The courses available cover a variety of levels and completion times, from one day short courses in identifying freshwater invertebrates, through to longer courses lasting between six and nine months.

Simon Lowe, Training and Education Officer said:

“We are really excited at the chance to be able to offer this great training opportunity free of charge. We are delighted to be able to offer local people the chance to gain a qualification which may help them find future employment in the conservation sector. Whether you are out of work or looking to change career, our training courses can give you that vital, practical and hands on experience that employers are looking for!”

Tame Valley Wetlands LPS courses available include:

City and Guilds

Level Two – Certificate in Work-Based Environmental Conservation.

Open College Network West Midlands Region

Level One Award and Certificate in Environmental Conservation and Heritage

Level Two Award and Certificate in Environmental Conservation and Heritage

These training courses are part of the Tame Valley Wetlands LPS 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 over 20 organisations including charities, local groups, statutory bodies and councils.

For more information on the training courses provided, visit www.tamevalleywetlands.co.uk or contact Simon Lowe, Training and Education Officer, at training@tamevalleywetlands.co.uk /01675 470917.

Partnership Scheme engages with 2,500 school children!

Since May 2015, Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme has engaged with over 2,500 children from 31 different schools across Birmingham, North Warwickshire and Tamworth.

The children enjoyed a mixture of in-school sessions and field trips to the Tame Valley Wetlands, by learning about a variety of topics, including the Tame Valley’s iconic River Tame.

For those traveling from inner city Birmingham who, in some cases, had never stepped outside the city, these trips were their first discovery of the countryside. Thanks to the Education Team at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, the support from Castle Vale Environmental Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding the scheme, these children were able to explore more than the urban jungle they have grown up in and have been able to take away precious memories of the Tame Valley Wetlands.

Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme is led by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and funded by the Heritage lottery fund. The scheme is also in partnership with a wide variety of organisations including, charities, local groups, statutory bodies and councils.

Doing our bit for National Nest Box Week

BTO National Nest Box Week: 14th-21st February 2017

In preparation of the BTO’s 20th National Nest Box Week (NNBW) and the onset of 2017 breeding bird season, Tame Valley Wetlands have been doing their bit to create homes for our feathered friends.

Recently, Tame Valley Wetlands supplied 23 nest boxes to project sites at Kingsbury Water Park, Community Wetlands and Tameside LNR in Tamworth.  These have been installed and are ready for 2017 occupation.  The woodcrete boxes are BTO’s official nest boxes for National Nest Box Week which runs from 14th to 21st February, every year.  These sturdy boxes can last 20-25 years, much longer than the classic wooden nest boxes and they have different designs to accommodate different bird species.

We have also provided specialist boxes for :-

  • Kestrel
  • Tawny Owl
  • Kingfisher
  • Two willow baskets which can be used by Hobby
  • Barn Owl

Kestrel box (Left,)                   Owl box (right)

As well as classic nest boxes, two Sand Martin hotels have been built in February 2017 offering a total of 102 flood proof nest burrows.  We may even get Kingfishers using them!

Tameside LNR, Tamworth                            Kingsbury Water Park

(Photos: © T Doherty 2017)

The simple action of putting up a nest box is easy and will provide a thrilling reward when our feathered friends use them.  Find out more about what you can do on the BTO website.  Alternatively, why not join us on Thursday, 23rd February 2017 in Tamworth to build your own bird box which you can take home and put up in your garden.  There are still a few places left.  Book online via the events page.

 

Photos from our Nest Box Building day in 2016. (Photos © R Gries 2017)

Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund

Tesco Bags for Help Projects

Work has started on the ground to improve walking routes throughout the Tame Valley Wetlands area, thanks to Tesco’s Bags for Help grant scheme, who have gifted £8000 from the 5p plastic bag levy.

A short distance from the urban city of Birmingham, the Tame Valley Wetlands is an ideal spot for city goers to escape the hectic buzz and enjoy the calm of the countryside. With help from Tesco’s funding, two new circular walks are being created, making access to the country easier than ever before!Improvements have already started in Curdworth, Over Green and Wishaw, by replacing way marking posts and installing kissing gates, with the help of Tame Valley’s TameForce volunteer group. Further work is to be carried out around Kingsbury Water Park, Bodymoor Heath and Marston, in preparation for the scenic circular walks.

Leaflets are also being produced to help connect the Tame Valley’s hidden landscape to it’s local community. They will feature the new routes available as well as activities that you can do along the way. Even better yet, they will act as great guides for a family day out that doesn’t cost a single penny!

For further information on the Tesco Bags for Help scheme, click here.

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Tameside LNR welcomes Sand Martins with new Des Res

 

Sand Martins migrating to the Tame Valley now have a new custom made hotel at Tameside Local Nature Reserve, Tamworth a site owned by Tamworth Borough Council and managed by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Tameside Wildlife Conservation Group

The artificial sand martin bank was built in February 2017 and will provide a valuable home to this summer visiting bird that migrates from parts of Africa, to breed in the UK.  Sand Martins like to nest in river banks and create burrows that can be as deep as 1m.  However, the unforgiving River Tame rises quickly during summer storm events and this floods the natural nest sites in the river bank.

This vulnerable species now has a new home installed on the edge of the floodplain, with the nest burrow entrances above the flood levels ensuring that our feathered friends have every opportunity to successfully breed and raise their young without the risk of being flooded.

We still have some landscaping work to do but the Sand Martin Hotel is ready and waiting for its first springtime guests to burrow in!

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Partners involved:  Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership – Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Tamworth Borough Council, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Tameside Wildlife Conservation Group, Environment Agency

Hedgerow restored at Whitacre Heath SSSI

During January 2017, contractors working for Tame Valley Wetlands restored 170m of native hedgerow using traditional methods at Whitacre Heath SSSI, a site owned and managed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

The hedgerow which has been laid had not been managed and was slowly turning into a line of trees.  A well managed hedge should be thick and bushy at the bottom, creating a perfect natural barrier for livestock enclosure.  By laying the hedge now, we will avoid having to coppice it to the ground in the future.

Other benefits include:-

  • Livestock can take shelter behind the hedgerow
  • It becomes an important haven for wildlife, connecting habitats along a linear corridor
  • It is a defining feature of the Warwickshire countryside and provides heritage value
  • A laid hedge will re-grow thicker and will have a longer life span than an un-managed hedge
  • This also increases biodiversity along the hedgerow

Consent from Natural England was granted to lay the hedge and also burn any brash created from the work.

Take a look at the before and after photographs using the slider to see the improvements made.

(Photo © T Doherty 2017)

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Partners involved:  Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership – Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Environment Agency