Showing posts from January, 2014

The discussion led to peasantry - woodland crafting

I must admit, I left earlier than the rest but still managed 4 hours of woodland crafting during 4 hours of incessant rain; but let's give credit to the NIA stalwarts who were still working in fine spirit on my departure, and it was raining hard and getting wetter by the second.

Today we expanded our vision for the crafted woodland and debated the issue of Hornbeam as a beneficial woodland species. It is evident that the Hornbeam leaves do not breakdown and decay as readily as other species such as Ash and Hazel, for which there is no leaf evidence on the woodland floor.

Working on the premise that all woodland arisings are of some value, and further, considering the possibility that the layer of Hornbeam leaves will probably impede desired growth in the field layer, the need to remove but make use of the leaves became food for thought; leading to the idea that they will be collected and used on a nearby tree nursery as a weed suppressant. This should keep parents and toddlers oc…


Siskin (image taken from
We certainly chose the best day for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch; as I write, (26th) it's cold, breezy and very wet, and not conducive to bird-watching.

Saturday 25th, however was perfectly fine and I hope the new bird-watchers attending our event will come back for more. One 7 year old brought his parents out for their first family bird-watching event, and although the one hour recording session had moments of bird absence we managed to create a bit of a list.

12 woodland species recorded

Robin x 6Crow x 10Blackbird x 3Wren x 1Great Tit x 2Magpie x 6Siskin x 12Sparrowhawk x 1 femaleBlue Tit x 2Bullfinch x 1Nuthatch x 1Wood Pigeon x 3 The highlight being the 12 Siskins feeding high in the Alders, deserting their post briefly as a female Sparrowhawk soared above, only to return a few moments later as said raptor moved on.
Work began on the 24th with the thinning of Hornbeam and Cherry on the eastern side making …

Crafting a woodland, a 'Centenary Woodland' just 25 years old


The term 'Woodland' has been described, and wooded land defined, by many people over many centuries in a variety of ways, both trees and woodland have been utilised, managed and mis-managed by people of the British Isles for millennia.

For a rounded presentation of the subject it is worth reading 'Trees and Woodland in the British Landscape' by Oliver Rackham, first published in 1976; in which the term 'woodland', together with tree species and the impact of trees and woodland on human existence, is thoroughly investigated and questioned.

Rackham acknowledges -"six traditional ways in which trees interact with human activities", whilst discounting "Orchards, and trees of streets and gardens" as outside the scope of the book.

. The others are -

Woodland. Woods are land on which trees have arisen naturally.Wood-pasture. involving the "grazing of animals as well as trees"Plantation. areas of planted treesNon-woodlan…

NIA Centenary (RSPB) Woodland Workdays at Cannon Hill

NIA workdays involving volunteers and education groups will take place on the following dates - all from 10.30am

 Monday 27th January from 10.30am

 Friday 31st January

 Friday 7th February

 Friday 14th February

 Friday 21st February - Half Term activities

 Friday 28th February

 WHERE IS THE WOODLAND? Not far from the tea rooms

 HOW DO I GET THERE? From Russell Road car park take the top road (within the park and away from the tea rooms)past the toilet block on your right, keep to the main road until you reach the Parks' depot and then take a smaller path to the right. keep to the top path until you eventually reach the woodland (Look out for markers along the way)

NIA application and Management Proposal

Cannon Hill Park was originally opened to the public in 1873 and is made up of 80 acres of formal parkland and 120 acres of conservation area and woodland plantation. It is situated within the heart of Birmingham and runs along the River Rea corridor. The park itself is popularly used by the community for numerous activities such as walking, running, football, forest schools, seasonal fair-grounds, picnics and other recreational pass-times. Alongside this there are walks and cycle paths running further along the River Rea corridor aimed at catering for wildlife enthusiasts, those seeking exercise and people looking for a good day out. Cannon Hill Park has successfully achieved Green Flag status for the past 10 years which recognises the park as one of the best green spaces in the country. Within the wilder areas of the park there is a need for some woodland management. A number of areas of plantation were created 20-30 years ago as part of various different planting schemes. These ha…

Work begins

Nature Improvement Area (NIA) work is likely to begin at the RSPB Woodland on the 24th January 2014, followed by a community involvement day on Monday 27th.

Around a sixth of the canopy trees will be felled between then and mid March with a similar amount felled between January and March 2015.

A large amount of timber will be generated from the operation and this will be used in a variety of ways; some of it will be used to develop 'dead wood' habitat, a vital component of a healthy woodland, attracting a host of fungi and invertebrates, some will be chipped and used on footpaths, some will be used for den building and woodland crafts and some will be taken as bio-fuel.

The beneficial impact on the woodland will be immediate but the most noticeable benefits occurring in following years with increasing numbers of low shrub nesting birds such as Dunnock, Wren and a variety of Warblers, possibly including Black Cap, Willow Warbler and Chiff Chaff.

Quite exciting really, thanks to…