Past Projects – 2010-11
Bromwich Wood, Bartley Green
This site is adjacent to ancient woodland and is right on the edge of the City giving it a rural feel, but is immediately adjacent to a high density residential area developed to support city centre renewal in the early 1970s. Therefore the site is well used by local people. It is also opposite King Edwards Five Ways School, and on Thursday 24th March, 15 of their pupils came to help plant the 750 saplings. Varieties included oak, hazel, cherry, birch and ash. Some of them were used to enhance the existing Millennium Woodland. The older children worked independently, but the 30 younger ones from Kitwell Primary School were given a bit more help by the teachers, BTFL staff, local Rangers and some young volunteers. It is hoped that the new planting will extend the existing woodland, whilst retaining space for a football pitch at the other end of the site.
Grove Park, Harborne
The Harborne Ward Community Chest funded 32 trees thanks to the initiative of the local ward Member, Cllr J Alden. They were planted by 52 children from Harborne Primary, St Marys Catholic Primary and St Peters CE Primary on 16th March 2011. This event involved the most children of all the plantings and the Leader of the City Council, who also took part, was so impressed that he gave the schools an apple tree each as a thank you. Unusual trees were planted including a Handkerchief Tree, Indian Bean Tree and a Foxglove Tree. Black Poplars were planted in the wet areas.
2010/11 ‘Plant a Tree for Life’ Community Sponsors’ Planting Day – Woodgate Valley
On Saturday 5th March over 40 people came along to Woodgate Valley to plant their sponsored trees and more saplings. We were pleased to be joined by the Lord Mayor’s Deputy Cllr. Alden, who planted several trees himself. Altogether 20 ‘feathers’ (trees about 6ft tall) of oak, rowan, and silver birch, were planted, along with 50 saplings. Children and adults from one to over 80 all had a go at digging. Many of the trees were sponsored in memory of a loved one, and we were so pleased to be able to offer an opportunity to families to remember and honour their relatives in such a positive way. As ever, BTFL is indebted to the Woodgate Valley Ranger team and the Council’s Woodland Management team for their invaluable support in helping to organise the event and plant the trees.
2010/11 ‘Plant a Tree for Life’ Business Sponsors’ day – Woodgate Valley
On 4th March 2011 we were pleased to welcome over 30 staff from Horton’s Estate, Mills & Reeve, Eversheds, Arcadis and Waitrose Harborne – local companies that had all sponsored a ‘Tree for Life’ in 2010/11. Each company planted the large tree they had sponsored, and a number of saplings, choosing from silver birch, oak, ash and rowan; 60 trees were planted in total. We decided to revisit the woodland at Woodgate Valley Country Park that we had planted last year and extend it. This proved popular as people could see how well last year’s trees were doing. It was great to see young city centre professionals enjoying getting muddy in their wellies! After the trees were planted, David Clarke, Chairman of the Birmingham Civic Society, presented commemorative plaques to each company before everyone enjoyed a buffet lunch.
Queen’s Park, Harborne
The local Harborne Society campaigned to have trees allocated to Queen’s Park to replace those that had had to be felled because of old age or disease. They made a successful bid to the Ward Community Chest to have 32 trees planted. As at The Grove, some unusual species were chosen. Especially attractive trees, such as the Indian bean tree, liquidambar and pin oak were planted along the path within view of the main road. The latter two have wonderful autumn colour; the Indian bean tree has large flowers and bean-like fruits. Some limes replaced those lost in an avenue and a group of birches were planted in a less formal part of the park.
Witton Lakes, Erdington
The planting at Witton Lakes on Friday 11th March was one of our busiest, and Rangers, BTFL staff and local Friends of the park were kept busy channelling the considerable enthusiasm of 52 children from four different schools – Wilson Stuart (for children with a physical disability or complex medical condition), North Birmingham Academy, St Margaret Mary Catholic Primary, and Perry Common J&I. Future Job Fund Trainees helped too. We extended the area of whip planting that we planted the previous year as it had been a success with no vandalism, despite it being in an area of high use. In all, 1,000 mixed native saplings were planted in the park.
Rookery Park, Erdington
A Liquidambar tree was planted by a local family ‘In Memory’.
Pype Hayes Park
BTFL were very fortunate to be able acquire 12 very large trees (the largest with a girth of 35cm/12inches) at the end of an exhibition at the NEC. The trees had been donated by Barchams to the Birmingham Trees Design Action Group to enhance their stand at the Traffix exhibition to promote the importance of street trees. Immediately the exhibition ended, the trees were shipped by large lorry to Pype Hayes Park. Here they were used as part of a contract to create a new long distance cycle route, National Cycle Network Route 534, by SUSTRANS. The route starts at the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal towpath at Castle Vale, and links up with crossings of busy roads before reaching the brand new cycle and walking path through Pype Hayes Park and along the Plant’s Brook, all the way to Sutton Coldfield. The large trees, which have had an immediate impact on the new route, included 4 London Plane, 4 small leaved lime and 4 rowan/whitebeam cross. These unusual trees have green/grey foliage that turns a magnificent orange in the autumn.
Farnborough Fields, Castle Vale
This is part of a land restoration project that will eventually see a large wooded area, a wildflower meadow and grassland and a wet land area. There will be an outdoor classroom with interpretation panels describing what has been achieved. The planting event took place over half term, 21st – 25th February; local residents, resident groups and local agencies took part, as well as 10 children from the Castle Vale Youth Green Action Group – they were particularly keen and planted more trees than any other group! The Community Environmental Trust and The Castle Vale Nature Conservation Group helped show the children how to plant the trees, and they will keep an eye on the trees whilst they establish.
Kings Heath Park
This park is home to some magnificent trees, but sadly a few are coming to the end of their lives as they were planted in Victorian and Edwardian times. Two well known trees had to be felled; a Turkey Oak near to the car park by the House and a beech. In order to replace these trees, a copper beech was planted near to the location of the felled beech and a pin oak was planted near to the car park. It was decided not to replant a turkey oak; introduced in the 18th century this tree was planted for its fast growth. Its negative impact on native oaks was only discovered later- the tree harbours a parasitic wasp which destroys the acorns of other oaks, so preventing the growth of new oaks. The pin oak has glorious autumn colour and is not represented so far in the park.
Holder’s Lane Woods
This project was funded from the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Creation Grant and organised by the local Rangers. About 2,000 mixed native whips were planted, including oak and ash. Planting took place over several days and many members of the local community came to help including the Friends of the park and children from Cockshutt Hill Technical College. The site extended a woodland area planted 25 years ago – it was already starting to spread by natural colonising so a mixture of trees of different ages has been achieved. The data from this site has not been included in the summary table as the funding came from the Forestry Commission and not BTFL.
Ward End Park
The Friends of the park asked BTFL for help to replace some silver birches lost from an avenue leading down to the lake, to plant some alders and to introduce black poplars into damp ground near to the lake. On Friday 18th February the 7 trees were planted by the Friends and a local councillor, helped by enthusiastic pupils from Saltley School. Our Schools Liaison Officer walked with the teachers for the 20 minutes or so that it took to reach the park and the teachers were very happy with the information packs they received on the importance of trees. The children and the older adults from the Friends worked together, an unlikely but productive combination! Quadron were on hand to do the heavy digging. After the children were escorted back to school, the Friends entertained their guests, including the Parks Manager and BTFL volunteers and staff, to tea and cake!
New Spring Street North, Ladywood
This site is immediately adjacent to the Soho Loop of James Brindley’s canal in the inner city. At one time the area was red brick terraces and probably back-to-backs, but was redeveloped under the urban renewal programme of the late 1970’s. Some natural woodland had already been planted on one side of this small patch of green, but local people asked for more formal trees with autumn colour and berries for birds. Therefore 6 trees were planted on Friday 18th March, including 2 Liquidambar, 2 rowan and 2 oak. We had great fun with the 17 children from Brookfields Primary School who thought tree planting was “cool”. The Rangers worked hard as they had some difficulty digging the holes for the trees, due to the history of the site. The local councillor came and talked to the children about the importance of looking after “their” trees.
Following suggestions from the local Friends, 5 oak trees were supplied to them to replace some of the trees that had been lost from disease.
Hawkesley Community Centre
Right on the southern edge of the City, this community centre is a focal point in an area developed in the late 1970s to house those looking for fresh air following the urban renewal of the terraces of the inner city. 9 small leaved limes were planted in an avenue along the path to the community centre and 1 flowering cherry was added to an existing group close to seats. A local resident had campaigned for the tree planting and she was present at the event on Wednesday 23rd March to see the trees planted. The local councillor, who had originally contacted BTFL, was also involved on the day. Children from Primrose Hill Primary (22) enjoyed filling the large holes with soil and they each took away a “goodie bag” which included a chart to help them identify trees
Perry Hall Playing Fields
The first planting at this site took place on Thursday 10th March, but as there were well over 1,000 saplings to plant, the Ranger met with the school again later the same week to plant in another part of the park. Dorrington Primary School had worked with BTFL before and were not put off by the rather cold and windy day. Of the 20 children who took part on both days, several had the most amazing coloured wellies! The saplings planted included hazel, birch, alder, black poplar, oak, rowan, guelder rose, hawthorn, blackthorn – the latter were planted by the two local councillors who came to help. In addition to the BTFL saplings, just over 400 were provided by the Woodland trust as part of their community planting scheme and we are very grateful to them for delivering them to us – at the right place on the right day!
On the weekend of 20/21st March, the Friends of Hazelwell Park, with help from the Ranger service, planted a number of fruit and nut trees in their local green space. The trees planted included eating, cooking and crab apples, plums, pears, cherry and of course giant hazels. The project has helped turn a neglected area of the park into a community orchard and increased the foraging potential throughout. The trees will increase biodiversity in the area when insects like bees will be encouraged there by the flowering trees and help pollinate them. The planning and planting of an edible park in an urban area presented the Friends group with a new and challenging project. The group is now looking forward to learning how to care for their trees and in the future a fruitful harvest.
Chinn Brook Meadows
This was a very special event as it marked the planting of BTFL’s 10,000th tree on 17th March 2011. The honour was given to the Lord and Lady Mayoress, Cllr and Mrs Gregory, and they were joined by the Chairman of The Birmingham Civic Society, David Clarke. They were not alone, as teenagers from Cockshutt Hill Technical College worked to help primary pupils from Our Lady of Lourdes plant well over 100 trees. These included 5 oaks & 5 alder, plus whips of alder, oak, field maple and small leaved lime. The site had been prepared by Quadron Contractors who stayed to lend a hand under the direction of the Parks Manager and Rangers. Joining the celebration were representatives from Severn Trent, who had also been tree planting in the park, and officers of the Landscape Practice Group who had worked with them.
Selly Oak Park
Our tree planting on 11th March was part of a much larger celebratory event, organised by the Friends of the park to celebrate the opening of an art & nature trail and the publication of a history of the park. The land for the park was originally farmland; as the area became increasingly industrialised, a Cadbury daughter realised that workers needed a park and it was laid out in 1899. The children from nearby St Marys CE Primary had already enjoyed hearing about the old canal alongside the park and seen wood carvers at work, before they helped to plant 9 trees along the edge of the park fronting Gibbins Road. The Friends wanted to continue the line of white and red hawthorn trees and add some more oak trees. Oak trees are of course very much part of the history of Selly Oak park!
Park House Orchard, Sutton Park
Park House, not far from Town Gate, is the site of a Blade Mill, but now a restaurant. At the rear of the building was an overgrown orchard within an old walled garden. A Park Ranger had the idea of restoring the orchard and replanting, but it was not until funds from BTFL were made available for the new apple trees that the project took off. The scrub was cleared by the Friends of the park and the adjacent overgrown holly trees pruned back by the Rangers to let in more light. The local Bee Keepers, who keep their hives immediately next to the site, saw the pollen potential and joined in too. In late March the volunteers got together to plant 28 apple trees – mostly local varieties. The site is now managed as a hay meadow and when the restoration of the site is complete, school children will be involved in harvesting the older trees which show signs of a good crop as a result of more light and care.
Suttun Park Memorial Oaks
12 large oak trees were sponsored by local residents and planted ‘In Memory’ of loved ones near the Arena Fields.
Sheldon Country Park
The Rangers at Sheldon Country Park used the 500 hawthorn whips supplied by BTFL to add to other native varieties supplied by the Woodland Trust to carry out a several planting projects with volunteers. On 25th March, 12 volunteers from Allianz Insurance worked in an area of the park that is adjacent to Church Road, Sheldon to repair the fence and plant whips up against it, not only to improve appearance but to improve biodiversity. Later two groups of 12 volunteers from npower planted hawthorn whips in front of an unsightly wall to screen it, soften the landscape and create new native habitats. The involvement of npower had been facilitated by Business in the Community as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility Programme. Within the park, Project Lapwing aims to create improved natural habitats and on 24th March 11 volunteers from Apex Credit Management planted a mixture of hawthorn and rowan and this project was continued on 18th April when 9 young people came through Community Service Volunteers to learn how to plant trees.