The Friday Group volunteers meet every Friday morning to carry out maintenance tasks on Bidston Hill. Lately, they’ve been clearing ivy from oak trees and the like, to keep the trees healthy.
Members of the Friends of Bidston Hill are reminded that all memberships become due for renewal in January of each year. The annual membership fee remains at only £5 per year, and covers all family members living at the same address. New members are always welcome.
You can download a membership form here.
It has been sometime since we have communicated through the website regarding matters relating to Bidston Hill. I think all will appreciate this is due to the pandemic which prevented any plans for events being initiated.
We are hopeful the 19th July will bring further unlocking of restrictions, giving way for our committee to meet and continue where we left off before the Covid-19 Outbreak.
With this in mind, assuming restrictions are lifted on this date, we plan to hold our Annual General Meeting, in order to put forward for appointment, nominees for those interested in serving on the committee for the forthcoming year.
All are welcome to attend and will have the opportunity to put forward suggestions about anything they would like to be considered for inclusion for events and planning for the year ahead. The meeting will take place on Thursday, 22nd July, at 6.00pm at Bidston Observatory. This iconic building was instrumental in predicting tide times in preparation for the WW2 D-Day landings and we are proud it is part of the heritage of Bidston Hill.
If coming by car, drive up Wilding Way (off Boundary Road) and proceed to the top where parking is available.
Hope to see you at the meeting.
It will come as no surprise that due to the virus and recent government restrictions, all of our planned events/activities on Bidston Hill have been cancelled.
This is notwithstanding my recent ‘Newsletter’ post which was written before the escalation of the crisis. Once the situation becomes clearer, we will post further information.
We hope you have a lovely summer and hope it is not too long before circumstances return to normal, when we can all continue to enjoy some of the events our committee work so hard to arrange each year on Bidston Hill.
17th January to 6th March 2020
It has been very wet this year but the Friday Group lost only two days owing to rain. Most of the time the Group has been working on North Heath, near the Sun Goddess. Many Birch trees have been cut down to prevent seeding this year, similarly many Birch saplings have been cut down to ground level. Material cut down is trimmed to a suitable length and then piled up; log piles like these make good wildlife habitats.
One morning was spent on South Heath, near to Rock Path. There is a lot of Heather growing here so time was spent trimming back Gorse to give more space and light for the Erica. Some Birch and Rhododendron were also cut down.
A lowland heath seminar was held at Dale Farm, Heswall on 29th February. This was attended by the Ranger, Neil Mutch and John Lee accompanied him. Representatives from other Wirral heathlands maintainers (e.g.Heswall Dales, Cleaver Heath, Caldy Hill, Grange Hill) also went to the meeting, the aim of which was to share and develop best practice in lowland heath management. This was the first meeting of its type and became the inaugural forum of the Wirral Heathland Partnership. The exchange of ideas was most useful and it is likely other meetings will be held in the future.
During this period of eight work days, forty-five persons attended and approximately ninety hours were spent on heath maintenance.
John Lee, Volunteer Warden
10th March 2020.
4th October 2019 to 10th January 2020
Season’s greetings from all members of the Friday Group and best wishes for a prosperous New Year.
Last October, Bidston Hill received a visit from the Mayor and Mayoress of Wirral. The occasion was the raising of the Green Flag by His Worship: the flag is awarded to public places which are well maintained for visitors and, once again, the Hill has been a recipient.
The following week many bulbs were planted in the wooded triangle of land opposite the entrance to Tam O’Shanter farm — look out for a colourful display this Spring.
On parts of South Heath, Heather is now re-generating after the disastrous fires of 2018 so a number of Birch saplings growing there have been cut down to prevent the spread of tree seeds; if left, their germination could result in woodland growth within the Heather area.
A benefactor’s donation was used to buy a wildlife recording camera and this has now been installed in a tree on Bidston Hill, its location, however, is not being publicised.
The Contractors Track on North Heath off Wilding Way has been extensively cleared and fire damaged Birch stems placed on the surface to give it some stability. Paths are also being widened on this heath to encourage walkers and create fire breaks.
During the fifteen work days, 74 volunteers spent approximately 129 hours maintaining Bidston Hill.
August 2nd to 27th September 2019
New to most members of the Friday Group was the overgrown driveway to a private house off Boundary Road (by Brow Road) known as “The Clubhouse.” Fire Service vehicles moving up the drive had been damaged by overhanging branches and it was at their request that the Group trimmed back all the bushes and trees.
Bidston Windmill was open on two occasions and over 100 visitors attended each time. The building is closed now until April 2020 and it is hoped that bats will return there for hibernation.
A bat detector has been purchased by the friends and in mid-August several Committee members met one evening to explore uses of the machine. Although heavy rain curtailed time spent walking, Pipistrelle and Noctule bats were detected.
Bridleways by the car park and alongside Tam o’ Shanter Farm have been trimmed back.
On South Heath to the left of Ridge Path (facing Windmill) there has been much growth of Birch, Gorse and Rhododendron so an effort is now being made to cut this down. This area is naturally boggy and wildlife for the habitat will be encouraged. Unfortunately, the Willow that also grows there is quite abundant and, because the tree will suck up so much moisture, some of this plant will have to also be removed.
Nature quickly grows back and there is lots of new growth on Bidston Hill after the enormous fires of the summer of 2018. Rapid growth may be expected of Gorse and Birch but this year there is more Bracken than usual and Broom plants are now to be seen on South Heath. Heather too is growing back and has been in flower. Good news also about Lizards; one was recently seen in Flaybrick Cemetery, so a colony did survive the fires.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are sorry to advise that the Windmill will not be open on Saturday morning, 7th September between 10am and 12 noon as planned. However, it will be open the following Saturday morning, 14th September, from 10 till 12 as part of the Wirral Heritage Open Days event.
May 3rd to July 19th 2019
The Windmill has been open to the public three times during this period. This is any ever-popular event with good attendances each time.
Tumbledown Hill was cleared in preparation for a visit by John Kuzmjak’s relatives. They were pleased to see the site and hear of the fall that John had had there some years ago.
A fire risk was identified behind the fence of Hillside Farm so the trees and bushes there have been cut back. At lot of litter was also found here and much of that was removed but some heavy items could not be carried in the litter bags.
Many of the paths from Upton Road are overgrown, although some have now been cleared. This is an on-going project.
Once again, the ventilation shaft to the underground bunker/air raid shelter had been opened up. The Friday Group assisted Council Staff in attempting to block the entrance but the following week all the “brash” had been removed and burnt. There is a plan for contractors to close off the entrance and a pathway has been cleared for a cross-country type vehicle to access the site. Stop press: the ventilation shaft has now been securely sealed in the interests of public safety. There is no longer any access to the air raid shelters on Bidston Hill.
There is a lot of regeneration of plants on the North and South Heaths after last year’s severe fires but, sadly, Heather is very slow to re-appear.
Plants are thriving in the Wild Plant areas and the plots continue to be maintained with additional plants being inserted.
During this 14 work day period, 56 personnel worked approximately 119 hours.