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.

Mistified

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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Autumn 2016 Newsletter

Our latest newsletter (Autumn 2016) is now available on-line and as a downloadable PDF. Paid up members should have received their copy already.

Contents:

Enjoy!

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Volunteers Needed

Friday Group

Each week we have a Friday Group that do various tasks on Bidston Hill, organised by our local Ranger. So if you have some time to spare and don’t mind getting ‘stuck in’, why not come along at around 10.00am on a Friday morning? We meet at the Tam O’Shanter Farm and have a cup of tea and a friendly chat before starting work. Tasks include; litter picking, pruning of trees, shrubs and gorse, path maintenance and a whole lot more. We are a friendly lot and you will be providing a very useful contribution to the work done by our volunteers. We hold various events as well throughout the year which you might like to get involved with.

If you are interested, simply come along any Friday morning, we will be delighted to see you. If you want to talk to somebody first or require further information, call John on 07887 665120.

If you fancy becoming a member of the Friends Group, have a word with us when you come along or have a look on our website: www.bidstonhill.org.uk

We hope to hear from you soon.

About the Friends of Bidston Hill

The Friends of Bidston Hill is a local community group created to watch over and assist in the management and improvement of this beautiful conservation area.

Our aim is to support the development of the Hill for the local and wider community, whilst striving to maintain the Hill’s unique character. The ‘Friends’ work in partnership with Wirral Council Parks and Countryside Service creating new ideas and projects for the benefit of the Hill and its users.

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Spring Clean

On Saturday 5th March, about 25 volunteers took part in an all-day Spring clean of Bidston Hill and Flaybrick Cemetery. The national “Clean for the Queen” weekend provided a convenient excuse, not that any was needed. March is a great time of year for a a clean-up of Bidston Hill, before the spring growth makes a lot of the rubbish too hard to get at. Fortunately the weather was clear, although some of the paths were still muddy from recent rains.

Some of the volunteers, outside Tam O'Shanter Cottage

Some of the volunteers, outside Tam O’Shanter Cottage

The volunteers gathered at Tam O’Shanter Farm to collect litter-pickers, refuse sacks, and maps of the area to be covered. Bidston Hill alone covers 100 acres, and our brave volunteers tackled Flaybrick Cemetery and the Rhododendron Gardens as well.

Some of the rubbish collected

Some of the rubbish collected

One of the volunteers was heard to say, as he pointed to the sacks of rubbish at the end of the day:

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. With ten times as many volunteers, we couldn’t have collected it all.”

Another volunteer confessed:

“I should be feeling proud to be part of the community that came together to clean up Bidston Hill today. But mostly I feel angry. Angry at the broken bottles, the bags of dog-****, and all the other rubbish. Angry at the selfish people who left it there. And especially angry at everyone who called  Clean for the Queen a Tory trick instead of helping to make our precious open spaces cleaner and safer.”

The area covered by the cleanup

The area covered by the cleanup

The Friends of Bidston Hill would like to thank everyone who helped clean up Bidston Hill and Flaybrick Cemetery today. And we’d also like to thank Bidston Hill’s Friday Group and the other volunteers who look after Bidston Hill all year round. Bidston Hill is a better place because of your efforts.

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Newsletter published

Our latest newsletter (February 2016) is now available on-line and as a downloadable PDF.

Contents:

Enjoy!

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Clean for the Queen

Press Release from the Friends of Bidston Hill:

As part of its support for the country’s biggest-ever community clear up, the Friends of Bidston Hill are organising a community litter-pick on Saturday March 5th 2016.

The national Clean for The Queen campaign aims to give the country a tidy-up ahead of The Queen’s 90th birthday in April.

The campaign is being backed by organisations including the Women’s Institute, the National Trust and RSPB, as well as businesses including McDonald’s, Costa, Greggs, KFC and Wrigley and anti-litter charities such as Keep Britain Tidy and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Supported by the Government, Clean for The Queen has also won the backing of councils across the UK and is centred on a weekend of activity from March 4th to 6th, 2016.

As part of this weekend of action the Friends of Bidston Hill will be holding an event for volunteers to meet at Tam O’Shanter Farm, Boundary Road, Bidston CH43 7PD which will run from 10am until 4pm. 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 Friends of Bidston Hill said: ‘Clean for The Queen is about everyone working together to give the country a big spring clean ahead of Her Majesty’s birthday. We do what we can as a group to keep on top of litter but would really appreciate some help on this special occasion’.

Litter is a problem that affects every corner of the country. By taking part in Clean for The Queen, individuals and communities will not only be giving the Queen a suitably impressive gift to mark her 90th birthday, they will also be giving themselves and their area a present – a clean space in which to live, work and play.’

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Membership renewals

Memberships of the Friends of Bidston Hill became due for renewal on 1st January 2016. The annual fee of £5 covers a whole family for a year. If you haven’t renewed your membership, or want to join, you can download the membership form here (or collect one from the Ranger’s office at Tam O’Shanter Farm).

Normally, members would have received a reminder with the winter newsletter. Unfortunately, we’ve been having problems with the production of our newsletter. We apologise for the inconvenience, and thank you for your patience while we sort things out.

In the meantime, we have introduced an email list, whereby anyone (not just members) can sign up to receive occasional news items and announcements of forthcoming events.

In other news, our programme of events for 2016 is shaping up. In March, we’re planning a big cleanup of Bidston Hill and Flaybrick Cemetery on Saturday 5th March, as part of the national “Clean for the Queen” weekend. Volunteers welcome – the more the merrier.

The following Saturday, 12th March, why not join us at the Wirral History and Heritage Fair in Birkenhead Town Hall, Hamilton Square. It promises to be a great day out for anyone interested in Wirral’s wonderful history and heritage.

The windmill openings will resume on Saturday 2nd April 2016, and continue on the first Saturday of each month through to September, with an extra opening on Saturday 14th May for National Mills Weekend.

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Chairman’s Report – Autumn 2015

What happened to the summer?

We didn’t let the weather get the better of us, from spring to the end of summer we held some interesting events, including Windmill openings, guided Hill walks, Tree & Rhododendron walks, Mersey Morris Men dancing sun up on May Day. We held our AGM on 12th May and our good friend Stephen Pickles gave a very interesting talk with visuals about Bidston Lighthouse.

In June we had our Midsummer Family Picnic, which included a nature treasure hunt and a Spiral Dance to celebrate the summer solstice. The children in particular had a great time trying to collect the specified items on their lists and were very pleased to find that they all got a prize for their efforts!

During July we attended the Wirral Parks Forum open day held at Wallasey Town Hall, this was an opportunity for the various ‘Friends Groups’ and others  to showcase some of the wonderful Wirral parks and green spaces we have on our lovely peninsular.

August saw the return of our much loved Teddy Bears’ Picnic, despite the rainy start, the weather picked-up and everyone enjoyed the afternoon, especially the children hunting for bears around the Hill! Here is a link to a photo http://www.bidstonhill.org.uk/teddy-bears-picnic-2015/ this can also be seen in our latest Newsletter which you will receive shortly.

The guided walks of the Hill continued throughout the summer and are continuous during the autumn and winter months. These are most popular and take in the very interesting heritage trail amongst other things. We meet at 11am at the Tam O’Shanter Cafe each Saturday.  The Windmill openings continued in September however, the bats are now due to hibernate in the building so will be closed until springtime. On Thursday, 29th October, we will be having our spooky Halloween Ghost Walk from 18:00 to approximately 20:30pm. If you are fond of spirits you won’t be disappointed (unless you are expecting a good single malt!) so please come along for a bone chilling experience! (please note, this is a bookable event with a small charge, please call Tam O’Shanter Farm on 0151 653 9332 to register your interest)

Our Friday Group is going strong and we are always looking for new helpers, we meet around 10:00am at the Tam O’Shanter Farm for a cup of tea and a chat before embarking on the various tasks that need to be done on the Hill. Why not come along, we are a friendly lot and you will be made most welcome.

Finally, the area was awarded the Green Flag status once again this year and we have just had our usual flag raising ceremony. I would like to thank everyone that has taken part in ensuring that the Hill and surrounding area is always a wonderful and enjoyable place to visit. Hope to see you out and about soon – keep checking our events calendar.

If you have any comments or useful suggestions for future events or the upkeep of the Hill in general please get in touch.

Roy Caligari

Chair

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