Spring time at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens

For those of you who aren’t able to make it there yourself, Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens have begun to put together slide show images. The first is a selection of images from the gardens in early spring, listen carefully and you will hear the birds whistling in the background.

Don’t forget Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens ‘Easter Event’. Saturday 23rd April- 1-4pm. Free car parking. Click here for more information. 

A common cause?

Hodge Hill Common- David Parker

by David Parker

The spaces of our childhood never leave us even if we move away from them. Yet more than the nostalgic afterglow of youthful sun-drenched summers spent on Hodge Hill Common makes me lament at the Common’s present state.

The Southern expanse between Coleshill Road and Stechford Road which previously played host to countless games of cricket and football, dozens of dog-walkers and strollers is being left to grow wild. Clumps of unkempt trees, tangles of Japanese knotweed, branches jutting onto the footpath are all evidence of a cycle of neglect – the more overgrown the Common gets the fewer people walk on it, the taller the grass, the trees and the weeds become, the less safe it becomes for children to play.

The larger Northern sections of the Common have occasionally played host to traveller caravans undeterred by the tokenistic fence posts and verge trimming which are the only traces of City Council care and attention. The demise of St Phillips and St James Church adds to the sense of relative abandonment.

Site where St Philips & St James Church once stood- David Parker

Hodge Hill Common deserves better. It is both the heart of the area and a much-needed pair of green lungs. A 2005 Wildlife Trust report noted the Common’s value as a rare example of dry acid grassland in an urban area and called for its designation as a Site of Importance for Nature Conversation. At that time the Common provided a favourable environment for the house sparrow and supported a number of floral species rare for Birmingham such as Harebell and Small Timothy. In practical terms the Wildlife Trust recommended the removal of some of the sprouting trees and shrubs and a concerted effort to eliminate Japanese knotweed.

Hodge Hill Common- David Parker

Given current public spending constraints such measures are unlikely to be a priority for the City Council, so perhaps the residents of Hodge Hill should take matters into our own hands and organise ourselves into a band of gardeners, seeking funding and tools, for example from Groundwork?

Unless something is done to correct the neglect, the current generation of children will be denied the simple pleasures of a precious open space on our doorstep.

More about the history of Hodge Hill Common can be found at William Dargue’s History of Birmingham Places and Place Names.

Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens launches its first blog

Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens Blog

The beautiful Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens has launched its very first blog in hope that contributors and volunteers will come forward to help preserve this special part our history.

Already responsible for their successful Twitter account (@cbhallgardens) and Facebook page, press officer Graham High is extremely passionate about the gardens and hopes the blog will help to promote, inform and create opportunity for contributors.

“I wanted to open up the site to serve as an outlet for the many creative and knowledgeable people I have met, worked, and corresponded with during my limited acquaintance with the gardens. Volunteers, staff and visitors have quite an astonishing breadth of knowledge and experience, and I feel that it is a real shame that this resource remains largely untapped. It is open to anyone in the world who would like to contribute,” says Graham.

Grahams hopes that contributors will bring ‘knowledge, creativity and fun’ to the blog and that it will offer something different to any other heritage website.

“Our official website and Twitter takes care of the Trust’s news, so the blog has an opportunity to step out a little from the beaten track.”

The blog provides local residents with a great opportunity to get involved and help to preserve the history of Castle Bromwich. Contributors can be of any age group and articles can be about history, natural history, science, horticulture, stories, poetry, photography or arts. Graham also hopes that volunteers may also come forward to help in the running of the gardens as a direct result of the blog.

“I would like the blog readers to also occasionally take a moment to think of Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens, what an incredible asset it is to the community and for them to help preserve this miniature wonderland by visiting or offering their services as volunteers.”

For more information about how you can contribute please click here.

Follow Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens on Twitter.

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