If you’re feeling in need of some fresh air and exercise between November and March, why not join one of the monthly winter working parties at Martineau Gardens, in Edgbaston.
The Community Garden, which despite being so close to the city centre, is an urban oasis for wildlife. Every winter it hosts a series of conservation working parties inviting local people to come and spend a few hours, volunteering outdoors to help the wildlife and get close to nature. Within Martineau Gardens’ two and a half acres, is a tranquil, wooded area. Meandering paths lead you past mighty oak trees dating back to the 19th century, traditional bee hives, a pond that is home to beetles, dragonflies and newts and a wooden bird hide. Designated a SLINC (a Site of Local Importance for Nature Conservation), the area is managed by the charity for wildlife conservation. The winter working parties undertake a varied range of conservation tasks to maintain the biodiversity of the wildlife area.
Armed with secateurs, loppers, saws and spades, volunteers coppice trees, cut back bushes, dig out roots, prune hedges and clear brambles and ivy. Thinning out vegetation like this allows more light into the area, which makes more woodland flowers appearing, attracting insects and in turn, birds, bats and small mammals. Pictured here in January, volunteers with Therapeutic Horticulturalist Stewart Holmes are beside the beehives getting ready to weed the flowerbeds so they can be planted up with Spring flowers. This will help the bees by providing them with a nectar source close by.
A honey bee alights on a snowdrop (February).
Dates for 2016 – 2017
To find out when the next winter work parties are, click here, or call 0121 440 7430. The activity runs from 10.30am until 3.30pm, but if you can only do a morning or afternoon, that’s fine. In the event of severe weather, work parties will be cancelled. To join a working party, phone the Gardens direct on 0121 440 7430. It’s free to take part but advance booking is recommended in case the session is cancelled due to bad weather.