Our thanks to a local drone operator who shared these magical views with us.
In the following higher shot you are able to get a small insight into the amazing trees within Brandwood End. We are hoping to arrange a walk around the cemetery with Dean, our local Ranger but as local people will know- their time is very much at a premium.
I hope the residents of Kings Heath realise the amazing green space that sits quietly on their doorstep. Luckily for us, the local wildlife are well aware of their opportunities and the cemetery is home to Muntjac deer, Foxes, Hedgehogs, Squirrels,Woodpeckers, Owls, birds of prey……….and many species of familiar birds.
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.
Despite being cut back hard a few months ago, the hedge surrounding the small Commonwealth War Grave area had developed a some what wild look.
We have given it a very quick top cut to make it look tidy in readiness for our Heritage Open Event next Saturday the 8th, but it will have to wait till much later in the year for another good cut back . Its great to see this young hedge thriving!
Just a note to remind everyone that the Hawthorn hedge surrounding the Civilian Garden of Remembrance always looks a little unkempt at this time of year, as under the ‘Protection of Wildlife Regulations’ we are not allowed to cut this mature hedge whilst there are nesting birds. It will be cut back as soon as is allowed.
Those of you that were involved in the planting, along with pupils from St Albans Catholic Primary School, will remember that this was part of a Heritage Lottery Environmental Project to increase wildlife habitat as well as hedging this area. The hedge has been a victim of its own success as it has become really well established and supports lots of wildlife…..BUT it will be cut well back, as soon as is possible !
Our thanks go to all those that helped with the Hedgehog Project, and there may still be a little more to come…but we must thank Rachel for her brilliant work with us and all the local pupils, resulting in our lovely Hedgehog Film. We really hope we can work with her again on our next project. Watch this space…….and visit Rachel’s site via this link to see what she says about working on our Hedgehog project.
Last week members of the FBEC committee and Rachel Gillies (our Community Film Maker) joined parents , teachers and pupils at Woodthorpe Junior and Infants school for a showing of the ‘Help for Hedgehogs’ film. This film was made entirely by pupils of Woodthorpe Primary and St Albans RC Primary under Rachel’s direction.
Rachel reported lots of giggles and prods between pupils, lots of good comments from teachers and the Headteacher is very keen to share the film on Social Media and in the school newsletter once it is available.
Several members of FBEC have worked alongside Rachel on her visits to both schools and marveled at the enthusiasm and knowledge shown by all the pupils.
Have a look at Rachel’s own site, where she gives our project a great write up!! http://www.community-film-maker.org.uk/
Our thanks go to the Heritage Lottery for funding what has turned out to be a wonderful project. Just a couple of months left and St Albans get their chance to see their input!
This is the final reminder that there will be a chance to view the Help for Hedgehogs film that was made with assistance from local pupils. The film follows the year long project undertaken by FBEC, The Wildlife Trust (Birmingham and Black Country) and the Park Ranger Service to survey the cemetery for Hedgehog activity and increase awareness of Hedgehog requirements if we wish to stop their rapid decline.
7-8pm at Park House in Kings Heath Park Monday 5th June. Please visit this link to register if you think you will be coming along as space is limited. More details can be seen here.
This is a family event and suitable for children but those under 16 should be accompanied by an adult. There will also be a showing for pupils and parents in both local schools involved. (St Albans RC Primary, Woodthorpe Primary) Contact your school for dates.
Tomorrow represents the start of research work, by the Committee of FBEC, to design and produce a new ‘Tree Walk’ leaflet for Brandwood End.
It is several years since our original tree walk, which has been extensively used- but some of the included trees have fallen foul of the wind or disease and we felt it was time to feature trees across a wider area of the cemetery.
Once we have decided on the trees to be included and the format we will then have to bid for funding to produce a leaflet, so watch this space! (Or of course you could sponsor this project!)
FBEC have now enjoyed several family Hedgehog events, delivered on our behalf by Birmingham Park Ranger Service (Jan and Dean) and the Wildlife Trust (Emma). We are coming towards the end of this enormously enjoyable project that seems to have captured the imagination of local schools and residents.
On Monday the 20th March from 7-8pm at Park House in Kings Heath Park we will be holding an adults only event, to cover some of the more technical details relating to the why the well loved Hedgehog is declining in most areas of the UK.
Places are FREE but limited, so please reserve your place via this link.
Every year Friends of Brandwood End Committee turn out to try and keep the Ivy under control that takes over some of the most historic monuments in the cemetery.
Following advice from the Conservation Officer and also the Wildlife Trust, who are working closely with us on our Hedgehog Project, we try and restrict our activities to the month of February when the impact on insects and birds is at its lowest. Whilst removing the Ivy we did find one or two frogs and toads enjoying the sunshine in the damp undergrowth but we made sure they remained undisturbed (Apart from their photo call!)
I think you will agree that the improvement is quite striking and has exposed some of our most interesting and beautiful monuments.