So, this is Bartley Meadows – a bit of a hidden gem. I’ve lived here my whole life and never knew about this. It blooms between June-August. Simon Needle, the Principal Arboriculturist and Ecologist for Birmingham City Council, used to manage this area as a Park Ranger and reports that the Meadows derive from the area’s agriculture past as farm and pastureland.
A council wide ecology assessment of all Birmingham’s assets in the early 90’s designated the area a Potential Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, and advised that the area would benefit from increased biodiversity and so the council focused its efforts to improve and maintain the grassland that is now the meadows.
The council now receive a Higher-Level Stewardship Grant from central government to improve and maintain the meadows which is done by the Woodgate Valley Rangers. As there are no longer any grazing livestock, the grant pays for a harvester to come to cut and bail the hay that is left after the summer, where it is then donated to the local Urban Farm at Woodgate Valley Country Park.
The Meadows include Goats Beard, Yellow Rattle, and Ribwort Plantain, meadow buttercups, ox-eye daises, tufted vetch, birds-foot-trefoil, cowslip, hairy St. John’s wort, cow parsley, hogweed, white clover, pink clover, greater bindweed, field thistle, ragwort, fireweed, greater hairy willowherb, and common orchid to name a few. Steve Hinton advises that this is some of the greatest floral diversity in Birmingham.