Membership renewals

Memberships of the Friends of Bidston Hill became due for renewal on the 1st of January. Membership costs five pounds per family per year, and entitles you to our regular newsletter and invitations to special events.

If you haven’t yet renewed your membership for 2019 (or want to join), you can download the membership form here.

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Volunteer Warden’s Report: Winter 2018-19

Friday Group

December 2018 saw the continuation of clearing Birch and Gorse from around the two-bench Viewpoint on Windmill Ridge (North Heath). Looking toward Liverpool, it was decided to create a cleared strip of called “The Ribbon.” Clearing a strip some 15 to 20-foot-wide from the Ridge and reaching as far as Taylors Wood, would improve the sightline and also act as a fire-break. Within this cleared area, the wetland parts are being improved for wildlife and habitats for creatures made by piling up cut-down material. Further progress in cutting “The Ribbon” was made in January this year.

Looking a little bit further ahead to Spring and Summer, the Friends of Bidston Hill have purchased a Bat Detector. It will be used for research and training initially but perhaps bat walks could be organised later in the Summer and early Autumn, watch this space!

During the milder weather last December, some more Teasel wild flowers were planted in the wild plant area.

As February commenced, Bidston Hill was covered in snow and very picturesque it looked. It did not, however, deter the Friday Group and all personnel, lead by the Ranger, cut down a large patch of Gorse by the Windmill.

During this period, work was done on 9 Fridays, by 28 volunteers who spent 52 hours on Bidston Hill.

John Lee

4th February, 2019.

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Volunteer Warden’s Report: November 2018

During October and November, effort has been made to remove some of the taller bushes and trees on North Heath. This was at the Two-Bench View Point on Windmill Ridge and the aim was to increase the range of view here, particularly towards Wales.  Cutting vegetation is this area had its challenges as some of the trees removed were growing on the steep slope that falls away from the Penny-A-Day Dyke pathway.

Despite the fires on South Heath, several pockets of Heather were found to have survived. These areas were noticed on the “Heather Heath” between the Main (Windmill) Path and Rock Path, the plants were, however, being smothered by Gorse so this has been cut down. The Heathers are now “kissing the daylight” again. Tall Gorse plants have been noticed growing alongside paths at the edge of Taylors Wood. These plants are now being removed to allow more light into the woodland floor and perhaps prevent fires spreading into the wood next year.

On South Heath, some of the Pine trees which apparently survived the fires are now showing brown die-back. The true cause is unknown, but it is possible that the plants may have been damaged by smoke generated from the burning Gorse during the Summer fires.

During this period, 48 hours work has been spent on Bidston Hill by 7 volunteers lead by Ranger Neil Mutch.

John Lee

26th November 2018.

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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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