Volunteer Warden’s Report – October 2018

During April and May, the Group were active in cutting down Birch and Gorse on South Heath to open up Heather growing areas. Wirral Council purchased some “Tree Poppers,” a device to lever out trees from their roots. These levers were very effective in removing Birch saplings but didn’t work on Gorse bushes; the roots of these are too extensive underground. The first Bidston Hill Open Day was held in May, in very good weather and was a great success, many people coming to the Windmill, Observatory, Punch and Judy (at the Farm) and a Viking display (also at the Farm).

Sadly, in June, one of our stalwart supporters, Ron Williams, passed away after a short illness, we all attended his funeral at St. John’s in Frankby. Ron helped to create the Wild Flower Meadow which has been a success this year despite the lack of rain during the Summer. Wild flowers have been grown from seed and then transplanted into the Meadow, this plot flowered, and has been much visited by bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects.

This year Britain has had a very hot Summer and wild fires have been much in the national news. Unfortunately, Bidston Hill has not been spared and palls of smoke have frequently been seen over the Hill as Gorse, Heather and Birch burnt on both South and North Heaths. Plants are starting to regenerate but it will be sometime before we know how much damage there has been to the Heathers.

In August we welcomed a new part-time Ranger for Bidston Hill, Neil Mutch, and we all wish him good luck in his new role.

In August and September, Rhododendron bushes in Taylors Wood were severely cut back to open-up the woodland floor. Additionally, the Two-Bench view point on Windmill Ridge path has been improved by the cutting back of tall vegetation. One of the benches here will be dedicated to Ron Williams.

John Lee

9th October 2018.

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Poems by Terry Briscoe

Our good friend Terry Briscoe has contributed much over the years with his voluntary work in the maintenance of Bidston Hill and surrounding areas, he is a valued and respected member of the local community. Those who know him will be endeared by his kindness towards others and his refreshing sense of humour.

What you may not know is that Terry is a bit of an author and has written a series of around 300 short poems about Wirral history, people and places, which stir a range of emotions. Quite where Terry acquires his inspiration I do not know however, his work envelops many of our senses including happiness, sadness, and everything in between.

Attached is the front cover and contents of two of Terry’s booklets entitled: Local Rhythmic History and Monatery Gains. If you wish to purchase one or both, Terry has provided his mobile number 07928 140921, they are priced at £1.50 each.

Roy Caligari

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Volunteer Warden’s Report: April-June 2018

In order to reduce fires, Birch and Gorse were cut down in April on a part of South
Heath. The Heather was revealed and looked very attractive for a short while until,
at the beginning of the current heat wave, this area was blackened by fire.

An Open Day was held in May and, blessed with sunny weather, it was successful in
publicising Bidston Hill; The Windmill, Observatory, Lighthouse and Farm receiving
many visitors.

Using the new “Tree Poppers”, in May a large number of young Birch saplings were
dug up from the edge of Taylor’s Wood, not far from the car park. These lever-type
implements were found to be very effective and more purchases of them are being
considered.

At the beginning of June, we learnt of the sad news that one of the Friday Group
members, Ron Williams, had passed away in hospital after a short illness. He will be
sadly missed but most of the members of FOBH attended his funeral on 28 th June.
Terry, the “Bidston Bard”, read out a poem which he had written about Ron and this
was well received by the very large congregation at St. John’s Church (Frankby)
celebrating Ron’s active life.

Park Wood’s Rhododendrons are becoming overgrown and a start has been made
to cut them back, particularly away from the main path through the wood.
Progress has also been made in the planting out of Wild Flowers in the Wild area
adjacent to the car park. Many plants have been grown from seed and are now
planted out in a sunny part of this area. It is hoped that they will self-seed and be a
haven for bees and insects. A pathway round the site has been prepared and
covered with wood chippings. Plants which were overgrowing the car park have
been trimmed back.

The current heat wave has inevitably brought with it fire and by the end of June the
Fire Brigade had to spend day and night on the Hill to try and keep fires under
control. North Heath has been particularly badly hit with many seats of fire all the
way from the Windmill to the Observatory.

During the 17 work days of this period, 63 personnel worked for 163 hours. It should
be noted that these figures include the extra time spent holding the Open Day.

John Lee

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Ron Williams

Our dear friend Ron Williams passed away last week after a short illness. For many years, Ron played a big part in helping keep Bidston Hill and Flaybrick Cemetery suitably maintained for the local community, along with all other volunteers. In addition, every Saturday morning he would head a guided walk through Flaybrick and across Bidston Hill and was very popular with participants, some of which would regularly return time and again. From my knowledge, I think Ron was involved with other local volunteer groups offering his services because he enjoyed this so much. Ron was also the piano/keyboard player with the Northern Rhythm Swing Band, playing at local venues including Heswall Hall and Gladstone Theatre. In addition, he was a member of the Wirral Community Choir. Ron took pride in everything he did and showed a passion for getting involved locally and he will be greatly missed. Ron’s funeral service will take place on Thursday, 28th June, at St John the Divine Church, Frankby at 12:30pm, then on to Landican Crematorium for 1:30.

Roy Caligari

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Bidston Hill Family Open Day

Sunday, 13th May from 10:00am until 4:00pm

Bidston Hill Family Open Day 2018 - click for poster

Click to download poster

Bring the whole family for a great day out!

From our landmark Lighthouse, Observatory and Windmill buildings, to our intriguing Heritage Trail, there is a vast amount of history to explore. Lots of attractions including: Punch & Judy shows, Viking Display, Guided Walks, Farm Animals, and more.

Refreshments available at Shanterz Café at Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm.

Admission free. Donations welcome.

 

Timetable

  • Punch and Judy shows at 10:30, 12:15 and 13:30 (each about 45 minutes long), at Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm.
  • Windmill and Lighthouse open to visitors from 11:00 until 13:00. Children must be at least 1.06m tall to access the upper floors. Free admission.
  • Guided walks. Meet at the Friends of Bidston Hill information desk near the car park at Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm.
    • 10:00 Wild plant area
    • 14:00 Rhododendrons in bloom
    • 15:00 Wild plant area
    • Self-guided walks of the Bidston Hill Heritage Trail throughout the day

Parking

Parking is available at the car park near Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm.

Limited additional parking will be available in the grounds of the Lighthouse and Observatory on Wilding Way. This is convenient for visiting the Lighthouse and Windmill.

 

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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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