Wirral Hospice St John’s Christmas Tree Collections & Recycling

We are pleased to advise that the Friends of Bidston Hill have agreed to assist Wirral Hospice in the raising of funds for their Christmas tree collections & recycling initiative.

Fundraising Co-Ordinator Elaine Connell said: “We are running the Christmas Tree Collection and Recycling Scheme again this year in order to raise vital funds for the Hospice and helping towards our £3.6 million pounds running costs”.

The collections are taking place between 6th and 11th January 2018 and a donation of £5 for a small tree and £7 for a medium to large tree is suggested.

If you would like to support Elaine and the Hospice, volunteers for the collection of trees would be very welcome. You would need to register on the Hospice website www.wirralhospice.org or www.charitywmastreecollection.com

If you would like further information or, wish to ask any questions, Elaine can be contacted on 0151 343 0778.

On behalf of the Friends of Bidston Hill may I wish them every success in raising funds for this extremely worthwhile cause.

Roy Caligari


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Volunteer Warden’s Report: Oct-Nov 2017

There were at least four people on each work day in October.

On 6th October a visitor to Bidston Hill said he had seen a Land Rover Discovery being driven over the Hill. This was reported to the Police along with the registration number. John Jakeman was also informed. Bebington Police have agreed to put extra patrols in the area.

The plan to cut back Birch during the Autumn/Winter has continued and this month attention was paid to Oak Tree Heath which is to the left of Vyner Road bridge. A number of tall Birch trees have been cut down together with smaller ones, some Gorse and Rhododendron bushes. Many Heather plants have been revealed and these should grow better next year as a result of them receiving more light.

In Mid-October, bushes and trees around the car-park were pruned back.

The working party went international in November when students from the Wirral Metropolitan College came to spend two mornings on Bidston Hill. Accompanied by two members of staff, 29 students came to help out. They were all learning to speak English but seemed to have quite a good grasp of the language and were given a tour of the Hill. Also, Stephen gave them a brief talk about the Observatory and Lighthouse and most of the students seem to appreciate this lesson in history. After the tour, the group set about cutting down Birch and Gorse on North Heath, alongside the diagonal path from Wilding Way to the Rock Carving. The College staff indicated that the Hill visits had been very beneficial to the students and hinted that they may come back in the Spring 2018.

John Lee

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Volunteer Warden’s Report, July-September 2017

On average, six/seven people attend the Friday Group.

A number of tool purchases have been made, the FOBH now have 2 pairs of secateurs, 2 pairs of shears, 4 pairs of simple loppers, 4 pairs of extending loppers.  All have been engraved FOBH and a number.  It is planned to buy some bow saws and this will make the Friends independent of the Farm for tools.

On North Heath, near to the Windmill, burnt gorse has been cut down and birch cleared away from heather growing area.

A large party turned out in early August to cut away ivy and sycamore from the sandstone walls of the Observatory and Lighthouse: thank you Fiona for the bacon butties!

August 11th was Green Flag Award Day and the Mayor of Wirral came to the Hill and raised the flag.

On South Heath between the bridge and Taylor’s Wood, Heather Heath has been created: Heather in flower was being covered and smothered by gorse and much of the gorse has been cut away to reveal the heather.  It is by the main path to the Windmill and much used by visitors, they were able to see a large amount of heather in flower.

On Tree Stump Heath (North Heath, below Windmill) birch has been cut down to encourage heather growth.  Last Friday we were assisted by 9 people from the DWP office; they enjoy coming and working hard and another group is expected in October.  Also, Gaultheria creeping stems have been pulled out from this heath to stop it spreading.

At this time of the year, the main activity is birch removal.  This tree seeds early and profusely so the more the plant can be cut, the less birch seeds will be created.  The group tends to spend 2 to 3 weeks on one patch of ground in order to achieve a substantial growth removal on that area.  We then move onto another piece of heathland.

John Lee

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Bidston Hill Walk

On Tuesday, September 5th, I conducted a walk on Bidston Hill and was helped by three members of the Friday Group, Jon, Jayne, and Terry.  Jayne took the photos which you can see below.

The walk explored King George’s Way, Thermopolyae Pass, the original site of Bidston Court, (later moved to Royden Park), Bidston Windmill, Observatory and Lighthouse. In addition, we visited some of the ancient and interesting Rock Carvings before returning to Tam O’Shanter Farm.

Brian Sinton.


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Raising the flag

Bidston Hill's Green Flag

Bidston Hill’s Green Flag for 2017

Last Friday, the Friends of Bidston Hill and the “Friday Group” volunteers assembled to celebrate Bidston Hill’s Green Flag award for 2017. The guest of honour was Ann McLachlan, Mayor of Wirral and Councillor for Bidston and St. James.

Roy Caligari, Chair of the Friends of Bidston Hill, opened proceedings. He said:

I would like to welcome and thank our Madame Mayor for Wirral, who, in a few moments, I would like to ask to raise our flag in recognition of the hard work our volunteers have put in over the last 12 months, working hand in hand with Wirral Council for the benefit of Bidston Hill and surrounding areas.

Once again, the Hill has received the coveted Green Flag Status Award for yet another year!

The Green Flag Award is the mark of quality given in recognition of achieving the national standard for parks and green spaces.

Much credit for the continued green flag status should go to our Friday Group that works all year through, irrespective of what the weather is throwing at them! It is through such dedication and love for the Hill that makes it possible for us all to enjoy this beautiful conservation area throughout the seasons.

Mayor Ann McLachlan raising Bidston Hill's Green Flag

Mayor Ann McLachlan raising Bidston Hill’s Green Flag

Bidston Hill's Green Flag 2017

Bidston Hill’s Green Flag and some of Bidston Hill’s volunteers


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Have a Field Day

The Friends of Bidston Hill invite you to a family picnic on Bidston Hill on Saturday, 8th July, from 12 noon until 5 pm. The venue is the field adjacent to the main car park on Bidston Hill (on Boundary Road, near Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm, postcode CH43 7PD).

Our picnic is one of several hundred “Have a Field Day” events happening across the UK  to bring communities together and celebrate our parks and green spaces.

All that’s needed is you, your family, a picnic and liquid refreshment. There will be NO burger stands, NO beer tent, NO tacky souvenir stands and NO admission fee. It’s free!

All children should be accompanied and supervised by a responsible adult. Please don’t bring fragile glassware and crockery for your food and drink – paper or plastic items are much safer.

For more information, call Kevin on 07596 157234.

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Tesco Bidston Moss

We were delighted to hear from Tesco recently when they kindly advised they would like to make a donation to the Friends of Bidston Hill. In addition, they wanted to send along some willing employees of the store to assist with some of the maintenance chores our volunteers carry out each Friday morning (weather permitting).

We met at the Tam O’Shanter Farm around 10am and we briefed the staff on the type of work we do on the hill, our voluntary Bidston Hill Warden, John Lee, explained what we would be doing for the next couple of hours. After collecting the tools for the job from the workshop, we proceeded to the location of the Windmill, where John gave out instructions to begin to cut down an area of burnt gorse that had recently been gripped by fire. During the summer months, there can be a lot of fires on the hill and the local fire service is often called. In addition, John suggested some of us could embark upon a trail of litter picking.

To our delight, the Tesco staff worked their magic (every little helps!) and the area was soon cleared of the burnt gorse and surrounding litter – job complete.

The morning finished with Tesco presenting us with a cheque for £500 which was gratefully accepted, this will be put towards replacement and additional tools/utensils for the ongoing valuable work undertaken by our volunteers. Below are some photos showing work in progress – well done Tesco staff and thank you for your kind donation!

Friday Group 

Do you love Bidston Hill and have some spare time on Friday mornings? Not afraid of getting your hands dirty? Then join the Friday group and help with maintenance of pathways, litter picking, pruning of trees, shrubs, gorse and much more. If you are interested, please join us at Tam O’Shanter Farm at 10:00am for a cup of tea and a friendly chat before starting work. If you want to talk to somebody first or require further information, call John on 07887 665120

Roy Caligari




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Annual General Meeting 2017

The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Bidston Hill will take place during the afternoon of Monday 15th May at Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm.

The formal business of the AGM will be preceded at 12:30pm by a guided walk of Bidston Hill (weather permitting), returning to the farm by 1:45 pm. All welcome.

The AGM itself starts at 2 pm. The formal business (including election of office bearers) will be followed by an illustrated lecture by Peter France on “Viking Wirral and the search for the site of  the Battle of Brunanburh”.

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The Great British Spring Clean

As part of its support for the Country’s spring clean community clear up, the Friends of Bidston Hill are organising a litter-pick on Saturday March 4th 2017. We are looking for volunteers to meet at Tam O’Shanter Farm, Boundary Road, Bidston, CH43 7PD, which will run from 11am until 3pm. All are welcome but children must be accompanied by an adult. Boots and gloves are sensible (and litter pickers if anyone happens to have one!) There is free car parking.

Roy Caligari, Chair of the the Friends of Bidston Hill said: ‘The Great British Spring Clean is about everyone working together to give the Country a big spring clean ahead of (hopefully) the good summer weather. We do what we can as a group to keep on top of litter but would really appreciate some help on this national occasion’.

Litter is a problem that affects every corner of the Country. By taking part in the spring clean individuals and communities will be giving themselves and their area a present – a clean space in which to live, work and play.’

We hope you can make it on the day and look forward to seeing you.

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Halloween on Bidston Hill 2016

Halloween. Seven o’clock in the evening. Well dark. Misty. I was on my way to Bidston Village and I was late. I decided to take a short cut over the hill and down to the village that way. Although I knew the hill well, I felt disorientated. Where was I? Was I still on the right track?

Then I noticed a strange light in the distance ahead of me. As I approached it, I found there was a group of ghostly figures sitting in a circle around a blazing fire in a brazier that looked suspiciously like a witches’ cauldron.


Then a voice called out: “Fear not. Hale and welcome. Come and join us. Please do.”

Although I really wanted to continue to the village, I felt compelled, as if by some magical spell, to take up the invitation. I soon found myself completing the circle around the fire. A glass of warm red liquid was pressed into my hand. In normal circumstances I would have said it was mulled wine, always popular at this time of year. But here I could not help but wonder what potion this was, what else was in it besides red wine.

I was probably right to wonder. At the very first sip, all the other figures around the fire transformed themselves into just about every sort of ghost you’ve ever seen – or at least read about. There were skeletons, transparent women in see-through nightgowns, witches – and wizards – with tall pointed hats; you know the sort, normally with stars on.

Then out of the gloom appeared the scariest ghost of all, with bony face and blooded hands – luminous blood. Apparently this ghost answered to the name of Roy, and he was no doubt attached to the story of Bidston Hill in some way, one of the many ghosts who roamed here. He was accompanied by a similarly scary assistant holding a lantern on the end of a cane who answered to the name of Angela.

Ghostly Roy

The others, including me, fell silent, suggesting perhaps that these ghosts held some special status amongst the Bidston Ghosts. Ghostly Roy then proceeded to tell stories, ghost stories of course, bringing all the other ghosts in the stories back to life. Whether these were real apparitions, if there is such a thing, or simply imagined hallucinations conjured up by the magical words of the story, was difficult to ascertain by this time, for however much of the red potion I drank, my glass would never empty. It remained full throughout the proceedings.

What happened next is a misty blur to me. Suddenly the lights had gone, the fire had gone, all the ghosts gone, and I was now on a downward slope of hill, and soon ascertained that this was one of the routes leading down to the village.

There was a light on at Yew Tree Farm.

“Can I come in, Stan? I just need to sit down before I head off home.”

“Come in, come in. Have you got any new stories about Bidston Hill? It’s Halloween, isn’t it? A glass of mulled wine, perhaps…?

written up by a MISTified Bob Hughes


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