Volunteer Warden’s Report: Feb-Mar 2018

During February and the first part of March there has been a Friday working party of at least 4 people for most of the six weeks. There was one week when there was snow on the ground, but still two people attended, although for a slightly shorter than usual period.

Heather Heath (beside Main Path to the bridge over Vyner Road North) received attention in February with more Gorse being cut down to reveal Heather and the odd Pine sapling.

After two weeks, the Working Party moved down off Heather Heath to the adjacent Taylor’s Wood where there were two very large and uncontrolled Rhododendron Bushes within, what should be, a Pine wood. After three Fridays, the bushes had been substantially reduced in size. A small Yew sapling was found in the midst of the ground creeping stems of one of the Rhododendron bushes. This sapling is now well clear of other plants and has its own space in which to grow.

Several beds have been prepared in the Wild Plant area for the sowing of Wild Flower Seeds. A source of supply of these seeds is now being sought.

John Lee

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Spring Clean cancelled

We regret that the Bidston Hill Spring Clean has been cancelled. This was scheduled for Sunday 4th March as part of the Great British Spring Clean.

Although the snow on Bidston Hill is beginning to melt, there is still a yellow warning of ice in the morning and a high probability of sleet. Conditions should improve a little in the afternoon, but at best the air will be cold and the ground will be wet and slippery. Under the circumstances, we have decided that it is safer not to go ahead.

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Latest News

Now that spring is on its way we can tell you our plans for the Hill over the coming months.

On 4th March, 12 till 4pm, we will be having our Spring Clean Event (weather permitting) in support of the Great British Spring Clean. If you have some time to spare and would like to help with litter picking all are welcome. You can pick-up your litter picker at Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm, together with a suitable refuse sack. Please wear warm clothing and a good pair of boots. *** Stop Press – the Spring Clean has been cancelled due to inclement weather ***

Our Windmill is open to the public from 10 till 12 on the first Saturday of each month starting 7th April. The last opening will be 1st September.

The Windmill will also be open on Sunday, 13th May, from 11 till 1pm, for National Mills Weekend. This is also the day of our Family Open Day when there will be lots going on, including a chance to look around inside the Lighthouse, and Windmill. Other attractions take in our Heritage Trail, consisting of some ancient rock carvings, Punch & Judy, Viking Display, Guided Walks, Maypole, Novelty Chocolate and Candy Floss stalls, refreshments and more.

Guided Walks of Bidston Hill carry on throughout the year every Saturday morning, meet at Tam O’Shanter Farm café area at 11.00 am. For further information have a look on our Events Calendar.

Bidston Lighthouse will open on Saturday afternoons from Easter Saturday, for more information about specific times please visit www.bidstonlighthouse.org.uk/events

Renovations continue at Bidston Observatory with the aim for restoration and refurbishments to be completed early summer 2018. General public access will be possible in September, during the Wirral Heritage Open Day on pre booked tours. Plans for a visitor centre continue with 2019 hopefully seeing an exhibit open during the same hours of Bidston Lighthouse. We also hope this year to have a video screening during the summer months on Saturdays, twice a month, looking at the history of the building and the work undertaken within. More news soon, once building works are completed!

Finally, I thought I would mention our Friday Group, some of you may be aware of our volunteers who work alongside Wirral Council in the maintenance of Bidston Hill. We undertake all sorts of tasks throughout the year, including path clearance, shrub and tree pruning, litter picking and much more. We meet each Friday morning at 10am at the Tam O’Shanter Farm café, when we have a chat (sometimes a cup of tea) before going on the Hill to start work. We usually work for a couple of hours and there is no commitment, volunteers can come and go as they please. It is best to wear some good walking boots or wellingtons and warm clothes. All are welcome and the work is very rewarding.

That’s about it for now, a lot going on as you can see! I do hope you can spare some time to join us and would ask that you visit our events page from time to time to see what we are up to!

Roy Caligari – Chair

 

 

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Volunteer warden’s report: Dec 2017 – Jan 2018

In early December, wood chippings were spread underneath all the picnic benches in the field adjacent to the car park. Gorse and Birches were also cut down on Windmill Heath. One Friday there was a blizzard, so no work was done that day!

On Students Heath, more work was down to cut down Gorse and Birch to create a view point from the bench site north of the Lighthouse and the Wirral Parks and Countryside Service came to help. At the end of December, work was started to cut down Holly trees in Taylors Wood, near the Bridle Path. The rationale behind this activity is to create a clearing beneath mature trees in order for seeds from them to find space and light for germination.

During December, 5 people worked each Friday on average (except the day of the blizzard) and spent approximately 40 hours on Bidston Hill.

Woodland floor clearing of Holly trees continued in January and a substantial amount of cut-down material was shredded by a team from the Wirral Council Parks and Countryside Service. In addition, some shredded chippings which had been dumped in the car park were used to mark out a path in the Wild Flower Meadow.

During January, an average of 4 people worked each week, spending approximately 37 hours on the Hill.

John Lee

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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

Chair

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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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