Category: Environment

If you go down to the cemetery tonight, you are in for a big surprise!!

It’s not very often that you can get into Brandwood End Cemetery at night…..but tonight was the night! Great bat walk from Jasmin Fields to Brandwood Pool via the cemetery. All ages, and many new to the whole walk route, despite being local.

 

Thanks to Chris from Brum Bats and Ranger Dean for giving up their own time for this event. 30+ people, lots of bats and an amazing Tawny Owl made it worth it!

 

We hope that tonight’s adventure encourages people to visit all three sites again and be aware of the amazing natural spaces on their doorsteps.

If, as a result of tonight site visits, we could encourage anyone to be involved in litter picks or work parties to help Ranger Dean keep these sites accessible and welcoming to the public, please   e mail us with your contact details on ‘friendsofbec@gmail.com’ We can then add you to the mailing list or maybe consider joining the ‘Friends’ via this web site.

 

Annual Bat Walk with Brum Bats.

It’s time again for the ever popular Bat Walk that starts at the farm gate on Bayston Rd, B14 (facing Kinsey Grove) and finishes at Brandwood Pool.

August 21st.    8.15-10pm (prompt start). Good torch, stout shoes essential. Under 16…you need to bring an adult. Fair bit of walking on uneven surfaces and grassland.

Flowers make a difference!

The photographs below, taken today, show how welcoming flowers can be to an area. The first shows the entrance to the now unused Lodge on the main drive. The second is a small area of the Civilian Garden of Remembrance.

We need to get in and do a bit of weeding….but generally it looks lovely and we must thank the BCC grounds maintenance team for the excellent job they have done in reducing the hedge height and keeping it in check for us.

Best use of a few rare dry hours!!

The Friends grabbed the chance to tidy up the hedge surrounding a small Commonwealth War Graves area before the rain started again!

 

Before and after. All that is needed are a couple of hours to spare and a few willing hands!!

We have several hundred War Graves in Brandwood End and neither ourselves nor Bereavements Services staff can find an explanation as to why these 8 graves are not dispersed within the cemetery like the others. There have been many theories but all have proved incorrect. No one knows……unless you know different??

 

9 Volunteers and 9 bags, not a bad haul.

We managed to do the bulk of our litter pick before the rain started but a good job was done by all !!

It is noticeable that we now find mainly wind blown flower paper and nowhere as much real ‘litter’ A reminder to everyone to please remove the cellophane/ paper if leaving flowers!

I am afraid we are still spotting residents, backing on to the cemetery, tossing their garden rubbish over their fences into the grounds. Please stop it!!

New Interpretation Board

The eagle eyed amongst you, who read our article headed ‘Chapel news gets better and better’ will have spotted that everyone was standing in front of a new display board!

We were overjoyed when we were asked to provide content for a new ‘Interpretation Board’, to be installed in front of the chapel buildings. This has given everyone involved the opportunity to pass information about the chapels and their future to the public in general- especially those who do not use the internet and therefore are unable to view this web site or our facebook page.

Old Oak damaged by storm Hannah

Today we received the photo below and a message from the City Tree Officer:-

‘Unfortunately one of the mature Oaks adjacent to the Jewish Cemetery suffered severe storm damage over the weekend.
The tree has been assessed and found to have several severe structural defects.
Due to the prominent location of the tree the decision has been made to have it removed.’
Birmingham City Council’s tree service provider will be on site tomorrow to undertake the work.

Normally the Tree Officer likes to leave the main structure of a tree standing as ‘habitat’ if it needs to be felled through age etc but unfortunately, as you can see, that is not possible in this case. It is very sad, but nothing lives forever and the main tree stock in Brandwood End is 125 years old or more, so losses have to be expected. The Friends hope we can work with the Tree Officer and Bereavement Services to plant young trees to naturally take over from these beauties!

 

 

 

St George’s Day and the Mushroom sharing his name!

We all know that the 23rdApril is St George’s Day, but did we know that there is a St George’s Mushroom? What’s even more exciting is that they are growing in the cemetery!

St George’s mushrooms are so named as they are usually ready to pick from about St George’s Day, and it was with great joy that Carola, a member of our committee, stumbled across a specimen whilst refreshing our notice boards! The link below will tell you a little more about them and it appears that the ‘River Cottage’ Chef, is most partial to recipes including these edible mushrooms.

https://www.mushroomtable.com/mushrooms-menu/wild-mushrooms/saint-georges/

Remember never to pick and eat mushrooms/fungi unless you are accompanied by someone who knows which is which- as eating the wrong sort can be fatal!

 

Major tree work continues in the cemetery.

Tree contractors, Idverde, have crown lifted many conifers (removed lower branches) and other species, as well as removing Ivy from the lower 6 feet of trunks along the Sunderton road boundary.

Regular visitors to the cemetery will have noticed a huge increase in tree work in the last year. This has followed a survey to determine the safety of many of the older and diseased trees, to prevent damage to graves, property and people in the future. Brandwood End was opened in 1899 and many of the trees were planted then or, in the case of some of the oaks, before that date. Oaks often live for several hundred years but many other species have a much shorter life expectancy and that is the case with many of our 1700 plus trees!

 

We have seen major crown lifting on both sides of our Wellingtonia avenue, large trees removed on the Broad Lane boundary, Poplars removed along the Sunderton Road boundary, Woodland reduced on the pool end of Sunderton road and various trees crown lifted or removed across the cemetery.

On the plus side, great care has been taken to consider wildlife with trees left untouched that are being used by Woodpeckers, ivy growth removed in some areas and left in others for nesting, standing tree stumps left to improve biodiversity and logs piled for Hedgehog use.

A tree replacement programme has been started and a number of new trees have already been planted by local pupils. The Friends hope that this can continue, provided funding can be found.