Showing posts from December, 2015

New Trees - Woodland Wednesdays at Highbury

Highbury Park and neighbours - wooded Wooded Highbury
The term 'replete' has recently been used in reference to the wildlife provision at Highbury, and whilst the park can boast a healthy list of trees and bird life and perhaps reasonable opportunity for invertebrates, there is certainly room for enhancement and improvement in this regard.
The park is jealously viewed and guarded by its regular visitors and protest quickly develops as changes occur - for example recently planted hedges were met with anxiety and vandalism, new desire lines are seen as trespass and the recently announced proposal to improve the tarmac surfacing for cyclists was greeted with the following- Politics aside, if that's possible, an overview of the wooded fabric of the park would probably indicate a net loss of timber over the past 5 years due to ageing, and the need to 'make safe' trees within 'red zones', i.e. tree next to main paths, car parks, roads, play areas. This is irrefu…

From 'Woods in Winter' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

From 'Woods in Winter' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Alas! how changed from the fair scene,
When birds sang out their mellow lay,
And winds were soft, and woods were green,
And the song ceased not with the day!  But still wild music is abroad,
Pale, desert woods! within your crowd;
And gathering winds, in hoarse accord,
Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud.  Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
Has grown familiar with your song;
I hear it in the opening year,
I listen, and it cheers me long.

To learn more about identifying trees in winter follow the link below to the Woodland Trust website

Standing dead oak at Highbury


Mistletoe in the Rea Valley

Throughout the Rea Valley, Mistletoe can be seen at Kings Heath Park (Lime on Vicarage Road), Highbury Park (Poplar), Moor Green Lane (Robinia), near Holders Pavilion (Rowan) and within the grounds of St Edwards RC School at Greenlands Road (Poplar TBC), Selly Park; a Willow host on the banks of the Rea collapsed a couple of years ago, the cluster disappeared within days.

However the Flora for Birmingham and the Black Country,  suggests that "Atmospheric pollution possibly contributes to the scarcity of this species in B&BC....", although the plant is possibly under recorded, Mistletoe seems to be increasingly present throughout the Rea Valley,  the tree lined corridor may filter air pollution more effectively.  - this sprig was taken from a broken cluster at Kings Heath Park

Richard Mabey's Flora Britannica informs us that Mistletoe is one of the "last surviving remnants of plant magic" and there is a sense of titilation at this time of year whence a spri…

Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and Black Country

"Fungi grow on rotting matter, providing a complex system of nutrients for healthy woods" (Fungi images by Terry Quinn)

Buzzards and Ravens, Trees and Stories

A Raven and Buzzard were spotted at Highbury Park on 16th December and both birds are regularly seen within the Rea Valley
Mixed flocks of Tits and large gatherings of roosting Magpies are noticeable at this time of year as well as small flocks of Ringed Necked Parakeets. However the most noticeable birds at Highbury are the Carrion Crows together with lesser numbers of Jackdaws. The Corvid depicted above has not yet been spotted 

Highbury Woodland Wednesday December 16 2016

Alf Dimmock
Facebook activity
6 hrs · In the woods today at Highbury — in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Tag PhotoEdit LikeCommentShare Helen Baglee, Yolanda Ru, Terry Quinn and 3 others like this. 1 share Comments David Ps How's the treetop walkway going?
Activity on Facebook Like · Reply · 5 hrs David Ps By the way, Highbury Orchard Community aim to do a bit more tree planting there tomorrow afternoon (1-3) for our Stick Around scheme, and on Sunday afternoon we're having a late afternoon cake & mulled juice celebration of the arriving solstice. Anyone wanting to join in can follow us on here, or get in touch by other means. Including just showing up!
Like · Reply · 2 · 5 hrs · Edited Liz Wright 4PM for cake and juice. 1PM for work if you fancy it. Yolanda Ru replied · 3 Replies · 4 hrs

A seasonal touch - Thomas Hardy; Under The Greenwood Tree

"To dwellers in a wood almost every species of tree has its voice as well as its feature. At the passing of the breeze the fir-trees sob and moan no less distinctly than they rock; the holly whistles as it battles with itself; the ash hisses amid its quiverings; the beech rustles while its flat boughs rise and fall. And winter, which modifies the note of such trees as shed their leaves, does not destroy its individuality"

Under the Greenwood Tree: A Rural Painting of the Dutch School is a novel by Thomas Hardy,[1] published anonymously in 1872.
Below is an excerpt from an online Guardian article - 'Why we should celebrate winter woodland – not just the Christmas tree' -

The wind makes music in the woods, but the tune changes with the seasons. This week, I have been listening intently to the wind stripping the last leaves off the trees in Court Wood. In Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders, Giles Winterborne could distinguish different species of tree at a distance, simply fr…

Rea Valley Active Parks Woodland Wednesdays 2016

 Throughout 2016 Woodland Wednesdays will continue with a variety of activities designed to promote an understanding and enjoyment of the wooded areas at Highbury, Holders, Cannon Hill Park and elsewhere across the Rea Valley.
Rea Valley Woodland Wednesdays will aim to attract people from all age groups and is made possible through a partnership between -

Birmingham Parks and Nature ConservationActive Parks BirminghamPark Lives BirminghamBirmingham Open Space ForumBirmingham Parks' 'Friends' groups January 13th - March 9th 2016 Programme  - 9 sessions
all meetings 10.30 at Highbury Park (car park off Shutlock Lane)
Activities -  Tree plantingTree pruningCoppicingTree identification including ConifersCoppice crafts (hazel splitting and wattle fencing)Management PlanningSurveying (winter birds)Herbaceous plant identificationWoodland interpretation
For those attending Woodland Wednesday sessions they can expect to engage in a broad range of topics that will help them en…

Highbury Park

Another annual coup almost complete for the year at Highbury, replanting and the introduction of woodland flora required to add finishing touches for 2015.

Although not a NIA project (see below) The management of woodland at Highbury, Holders and elsewhere conforms to best practice and the strategies deployed by DEFRA

Friends of the Fields

The 'Friends of Holders and Pebble Mill Fields' hold monthly workdays in and around the woods and enjoy activity sessions throughout the year.

Workdays are held on the first Sunday of each month and there is always a warm and friendly welcome from the regulars.

For more details of the 'Friends' check out the link below, although the web page needs updating.

Oaks and hedgerows

New Hedgerows at Highbury

The wooded fabric of the Rea Valley was once again enhanced THANKS  to the support of 'Forest School Birmingham', 'Trees For Cities' and our WOODLAND WEDNESDAY VOLUNTEERS, on this occasion at Highbury Park, with the planting of 600 hedgerow trees/shrubs including HAWTHORN, HAZEL, APPLE, ROWAN, GUELDER ROSE, DOG ROSE, FIELD MAPLE, ELM and ALDER BUCKTHORN.

Check out to see more about the 10,000,000 trees project and to whom we owe gratitude for establishing this project.
The Highbury planting followed consultation between the Rangers and the 'Working Party' to establish the lines on which the new hedges should follow.
The 1904 OS map of the park shows old hedge lines within the grounds of Highbury, although many had been 'grubbed' out during the Chamberlain landscaping era.
Four lines were proposed, two to the south of the long pool and two to the north. One of the factors was the '…