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National Days

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 National Meadow Day, Don't Step on a Bee Day, and National Hedgerow Week. 

National Meadow Day: July 2nd 2022.

It was National Meadow Day on July 2nd - 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 PotentialSite 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 in 2022 the meadows have not quite hit their stride yet. 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 and tinges the entire surface with a purple haze around sunset. 

Don’t Step on a Bee Day: July 10th 2022.

Who could pass up the opportunity to celebrate these amazing inspects that ensure our meadow continue to exist! They are the main pollinators of our flowers, plants, trees, and habitats more widely. Don’t Step On A Bee Day is observed every year on July 10 in the United Kingdom. Bees have been around for centuries and are closely related to wasps. They are mostly found in every part of the world that has insect-pollinated flowering plants. Bees are essential to our survival and play a big role in balancing our ecosystem. They are great pollinators, produce honey, and give us food. This day marks the importance of the existence of these insects and the work that they do, and to consider what life would be like without them. If bees ceased to exist one day, there would be harmful repercussions on the ecosystems. Without bees, the availability and diversity of fresh produce would decline substantially, and human nutrition would likely suffer.

Some interesting facts about Bees:

  • There are over 20,000 species of bees. 

  • Bees communicate by the waggle dance by which a worker bee indicates the location of a food source to other bees in the hive.

  • Bees are the world’s most important pollinator of food crops and, according to estimates, one-third of the food that we eat daily is due to the pollination carried out by bees.

  • A honey bee’s wings flap about 200 beats per second, which is also the reason for their buzzing sound.

  • The worker bees who do all the work are female and live for about six weeks.

  • The male bees are drones whose sole purpose is to find a queen bee to mate with.

National Hedgerow Week: September 17th-25th 2022. 

National Hedgerow Week was launched by the Tree Council in 2021 to highlight what unsung heroes of the natural world hedgerows are; they absorb caron 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, and explore the ‘biodiversity’ section down the right-hand side.