Wildlife Week: 10th – 18th September

Our canal is an important wildlife resource. It provides a wildlife ‘corridor’ which allows wildlife to move freely between the river and the wider countryside. Worcester Canal Group, together with the Worcester, Birmingham & Droitwich Canal Society, wants to protect it.

But first, we need to find out what species of wildlife use the canal ‘corridor’. We have organised a ‘wildlife week’ along the canal with specialist events and a wildlife survey so that we can build up a picture of wildlife along the Worcester Canal. Come and join us! All welcome.

By Charlesjsharp - Own work, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42036616Saturday 10th September: ‘Moth Breakfast’ led by expert James Hitchcock.

Come along to see what moths have been attracted to our Moth Trap overnight.

8am-9.30am at Plot 8 Lansdowne Road Allotments.

£2 fee. Refreshments available. Pre-booking advisable. Email info@worcestercanalwildlife.org.uk

Flower WalkFriday 16th September: ‘A Flower Walk’ led by expert Mary Green.

11.30am -12.30pm meet at Lansdowne Park. Free.

No need to book.

Wildlife Survey 10th-18th September

Wildlife SurveySpend an hour observing wildlife along the canal or join in one of our sessions. Meet at the towpath benches by Wolverton Road.

Sunday 11th September 12 noon – 2pm

Wednesday 14th September 4pm – 6pm

Saturday 17th September 10am – 12 noon

Online monitoring forms available from here.

You can download and print a form from here.

Alternatively, you can pick up some survey forms from 25 Shrubbery Road or 133 Lansdowne Road.

Potential trips in 2016 – please let us know

At our Canal Group meeting in January some suggestions for possible trips to canal related places were put forward.

We would like to find out the level of interest for these. Please use the form below to tell us which events you would be interested in joining, plus whether there are any other trips that you think would interest other people.

  1. Visit to Stroud to see the improvements they have made to their canal and surrounding area. See Cotswold Canals Trust website for more information.
  2. Visit to the Waterways Museum in Gloucester (due to reopen in July). See the Gloucester Waterways Museum website for further details.

Painting under canal bridges project

Inside the boundaries of the city of Worcester the canal is spanned by many bridges. Some of these are modern and in good condition. Some are old but in a good condition which shows off the bricks which are themselves an important part of Worcester industrial history. However, several are deteriorating and in need of attention. We have the permission of the Canal and River Trust to give these bridges that attention. Three in particular stand out. They are all of the same square design and at present are painted the same unattractive dark green colour. They are marked with graffiti, are reputed to be the site of drug trafficking and are certainly close to spots where quite serious police incidents have occurred in the last year.

Our idea is to turn these sites into a heritage trail by painting the large rectangular canal facing side of these bridges with scenes reflecting the importance of the canal to Worcester life over the last two hundred years. An indication of the kind of effect this can produce can already be seen. With the cooperation of the property developers currently working on the site we recently painted a number of the temporary hoardings facing the canal behind what was one of the stands of the Worcester City Football Club ground. This work was done jointly with residents of St Paul’s Hostel. It has been well received. So:

Bridge one: St Georges Lane North. This is next to the Cavalier public house which will be demolished and redeveloped in the near future. More importantly it is very close to what was the St Georges lane football ground. Worcester city football club have gone and there is nothing to show that they were ever there. We would like to paint a football related scene here. For example, Worcester City scoring to knock Liverpool out of the FA cup. We would expect to talk to the supporters club with a view to involving them.

Bridge two: Lansdowne Road. This adjoins the site of the Water Festival. Here we would like to show the Arborteum as it was when it was an arboretum. There is extensive cross over between our group and the Arboretum Residents association. We anticipate undertaking this jointly with them.

Bridge three: Park Street: The canal here was vital to Worcesters industries. We would like to show this, perhaps by reproducing some of the distinctive Royal Worcester Porcelain patterns. We would expect to discuss this with the staff at the Royal Worcester Porcelain museum.

Costs are difficult to estimate accurately at this stage. Some repair work will need to be carried out to make the surfaces suitable for painting and that has not yet been costed. A solid background coat of paint will be needed. The paints used will need to be suitable for exterior use and some may, such as those for the porcelain , may need to be mixed as a “one off” colour. There will need to be safety precautions taken and signs put up. £100 per bridge would be an optimistic estimate. So we are asking for £300.

Having said that, once work begins it can be completed fairly quickly. The hoardings already referred to took four people one week. Better preparation of surfaces and use of longer lasting materials adds to that.  Even so, four weeks will probably be adequate. We would like to start as soon as possible and have the work completed in time for the Water Festival in June.

Monitoring Wildlife in Worcester

Worcestershire Wildlife TrustThe Worcestershire Wildlife Trust has more than 20000 members. It manages more than 77 nature reserves, covering over 2650 acres across the county. The guide to the reserves lists 11 “all season wildlife walks”, 28 “local wildlife treasures” and 18 “delicate wildlife gems”. There are over 500 local wildlife sites which the trust does not manage, but does visit and track. This means that membership of the trust allows access to large sites and small sites, woods, marshes, meadows , fields, dingles, gravel pits and coppices.  For people who are travelling around the county, for instance people with narrowboats, membership is well worth considering. Worcestershire Wildlife Trust is based at Lower Smite Farm, Smite Hill, Hindlip, Worcestershire WR3 8SZ, (quite close to the Sixways rugby stadium just outside Worcester ) tel: 01905 754919, enquiries@ worcestershirewildlifetrust.org, www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk.

Based at the same address is the Worcestershire Biological Records Centre.

There are two projects aimed at surveying and monitoring wildlife which members might like to get involved with. It is not necessary to be an expert. If you do not know what species something you see belongs to that is fine. It is a lot like a project the RSPB has been running for some years now, where people are asked to record the bird species they see in their gardens.

The first project is called Wild Walks. The idea here is to monitor wildlife on the nature reserves. It allows users to log wildlife sightings and map records of plants and animals across the trusts landscape scale conservation schemes.  Not many of the reserves have a canal running through them; Hanbury Wharf may be an exception. However,  quite a few reserves are reasonably close to the canal, for example Droitwich Community woods and Upton Warren wetland reserve. So, to take part you consult the map of a nature reserve in Worcestershire and identify a route through this “living landscape”. You then travel this route and record what you see. The more times the route is travelled the more useful the results will be.  The maps can be found on the website. The monitoring form is very simple. It is notebook size. It asks for information on: grid ref/location i.e., which walk, date, recorder, group and then species. All species can be recorded; birds, insects, fungi, plants and fish.  If you would like to be involved in this project take a look at the information on the website. The contact person is  Michael Liley, tel: 01905 754 919.

The second is run by the Worcestershire Biological Records Centre (www.wbrc.org.uk). The contact person for this project is Simon Wood tel: 01905 759759, email: simon@wbrc.org.uk, or for biological recording data email records@wbrc.org.uk. The monitoring form is the same and again all species are included.  The idea here is to record outside the nature reserves. So for us in the Worcester Canal Group with our focus on the canal from Diglis basin to Perdiswell park this is the project we are interested in. Some parts of the canal are close to local wildlife sites. So for instance the allotments at Lansdowne Road are a nationally important site for slow worms. The whole of the canal network in Worcestershire could be surveyed in this way. All it would take is people willing to do it, an hour a week wherever you happen to be would provide useful information.

Painting along the canal

Members of Worcester Canal Group and volunteers from St Paul’s Hostel spent the first three days of last week painting images commemorating the history of waterway on a section of the wooden boards bordering the former home of Worcester City FC, where 80 new homes are currently being built.

painting1

The group’s chairman Graham Fowler said he hoped the project would help make the canal a more pleasant area.

“There have been three incidents along the canal between Lansdowne Park and here over the last three months. We want to make it feel a bit more welcoming and safe. Given how many developments there are going to be along the canal it probably won’t be the last time we do this.”

Graham added that the paint had been donated by the Worcester Resource Exchange in Shrub Hill and developers Careys New Homes had helped by advising the group which piece of the hoarding would stay up the longest.

“The canal is a big part of the city’s identity. It’s an amazing piece of heritage because you’ve got the old football ground and there used to be the brickworks on the other side. It seems more part of the city than the River Severn.”

painting2

Lansdowne Park and Canal Side Community Gardening Project: Phase 1

This is a Partnership between the Arboretum Residents Association and the Worcester Canal Group and is supported by the Canal and River TrustTransition Worcester and Worcester City Council.

Aerial view showing area being developed

Aerial view showing area being developed

The first phase of our project to improve the canal bank with seating and planting by Wolverton Road will start on Saturday 15 Feb at 11 a.m. with a session to plant 7 apple trees by the existing railings. Please come along and help if you are available.

There will be further sessions in March and April preparing ground and planting wild flowers.

For more details, view the PDF.