We love national nature days - they highlight many important things that we often take for granted and are relevant right here around Bartley Reservoir. This quarter we look at Earth Day, National Walking Month, National Meadow Day, and National Hedgerow Week.
International Earth Day: April 22nd, 2023.
Earth Day is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. A key part of their many objectives is to conserve and enhance nature, and increase biodiversity - all of which we will be doing around the reservoir in the coming years. From filling gaps in hedgerows, to planting a 30 tree orchard, to enhancing what we already have. Earth Day will be celebrated at Weoley Castle Square from 11-2, and Friends of Bartley Reservoir will have a stall there, manned by our own Secretary Portland. Learn more about Earth Day here.
National Walking Month: May, 2023.
Did you know May is dedicated to walking! Walking is the easiest, and simplest thing you can do for yourself to improve your health and mental well-being, and it costs nothing. There is so much walking to enjoy around the reservoir so why not introduce yourself to the three routes promoted on our website which you can find here. Hopefully by May we will have our fingerposts x 5 installed so you can be directed easily around the reservoir and explore all the fantastic natural heritage on offer. We are also hoping to be successful in a small grant application to acquire a brushcutter so we can keep the pathways on Severn Trent land clear through the summer. St Leonard's Church is the gateway to a network of Public Rights of Way across the Worcestershire Countryside for you to access and enjoy, so we recommend downloading the OS App and take a hike!
National Walk in the Woods Month: May, 2023.
Continuing the walking theme, May is also National Walk in the Woods Month and we have one of the best woods in the area. Bromwich Wood, aka Bluebell Wood, is a semi-natural, ancient, mostly Oak, woodland, but it is mostly known locally for its Bluebells. In April/May the Bluebells are out in force and create a fantastic purple canvas that covers the woodland floor, particularly north of the pathway that cuts diagonally through the woods. In the 1990's it was designated both a Site of Importance for Nature Conservations (SINC) and a Local Nature Reserve (LNR). So, get out there and enjoy this beautiful natural heritage that we have on our doorstep - it's free! You can learn more by visiting this section of our website here.
National Meadow Day: July 1st, 2022.
It's National Meadow Day on July 1st, and we have three of the best right here alongside the reservoir. It blooms between June-August so be sure to take a walk through Bartley Meadows, located between the Picnic Area on Scotland Lane and the Sailing Club. 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 pasture land.
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. This was the same report that designated Bromwich Wood as a Local Nature Reserve and other areas around the reservoir as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCS). 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 and Parks Team, who also mow pathways through and around the edges of the meadows throughout the spring and summer months. As there are no longer any grazing livestock, the grant pays for a harvester to come to cut the hay that is left after the summer, where it is then donated to the local Urban Farm at Woodgate Valley Country Park.
The ‘bloom’ of Bartley Meadows is dependent on the climate and weather conditions; 2021 was a fantastic year for the meadows - in full colour in June, but with variable weather and long periods of heat in 2022 the meadows turned to straw fairly quickly. Here's hoping for a great display this summer! The Meadows include Goats Beard, Yellow Rattle, and Ribwort Plantain, buttercups, and ox-eye daises to name a few. Take a walk and see what else can you identify there? There is one common orchid that grows in the field each year – can you find it? The display is usually best in July, and then in August the grasses grow tall, brown off, and tinges the entire surface with a purple haze around sunset.
National Hedgerow Week: May 8th-14th 2023.
National Hedgerow Week was launched by the Tree Council in 2021 to highlight what unsung heroes of the natural world hedgerows are; they absorb carbon and air pollution, provide filtration for farmed soil, provide wildlife habitats, and generally make us feel better with the green, leafy, goodness! Hedgerows are the UK’s largest priority habitat – and are home to 80% of our woodland birds, and yet 50% of hedgerows have been lost since WWII, and of those that remain, 60% are badly-managed.
Thanks to the agriculture heritage of the area, we have some amazing hedgerows around the reservoir too, most notably the ones that line Frankley Lane that are designated as a Site of Local Importance for Nature Conservation (SLINC) thanks to the diversity of flora and fauna they support, including bluebells in the Spring! The Climate Change Committee has advised that the UK needs to increase our hedgerows by 40% to meet our 2050 net zero target, which means planting 200,000km of new hedgerows – the equivalent of half the length of the UK road network. It is our ambition to do our bit, and over the coming years to use National Hedgerow Week to focus us and local organisations to fill in hedgerow gaps around the reservoir to meet our objective of increasing the habits and eco-diversity of the area.
To read more about the magic of hedgerows and hedgerow week, click 'hedgerows' button below.
To see more about which hedgerows are designated SLINCs around Bartley reservoir and other nature sites click
'Map' button below, type in postcode B323NU, zoom out a little, and explore the ‘biodiversity’ section down the right-hand side.