News

Delicate meadow flower puts on a show at Tamworth beauty spot

One of the UK’s rarest wild flowers has put on an amazing show at a Tamworth beauty spot following the determined efforts of a group of conservation volunteers.

Almost 200 snake’s head fritillaries, best known for their delicately-marked dusky purple or white flowers, have burst into bloom on Broad Meadow, a lush floodplain meadow beside the River Tame.

The colony has grown in size this year thanks to management work undertaken by the Burton Conservation Volunteers and volunteers from the Wild About Tamworth project. The groups carried out a ‘hay cut’ last September, which helped to limit the species competing with the fritillaries, giving them the opportunity to thrive.

Wild About Tamworth officer Lindsey Bates said: “The snake’s head fritillary is very rare in Staffordshire, and is native to only two sites in the county, one of them being Broad Meadow, which is designated as a Site of Biological Importance (SBI).

“The colony had lapsed slightly over the last couple years and numbers had fallen to around 40 - 50 flowers. But now we can see that the efforts of the conservation volunteers last year to manage the site have really paid off, and we’ve been treated to a great show of almost 200 snake’s head fritillaries this year, which is a beautiful sight.”

The Wild About Tamworth initiative is a partnership between Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Tamworth Borough Council, and was set up in 2003 to encourage the community to get involved in looking after its local green spaces. The initiative works with local conservation volunteers to look after wild spaces across the borough – and is keen to welcome new volunteers on board. For a current programme of activities and events, or for further information, contact Lindsey Bates on 01827 59912 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Celebrate Tamworth’s trees at free family event

Families are invited to go along to a tree-mendous free event at a Tamworth park during the school holidays.

The Wild About Tamworth partnership is staging Wild About Trees at Wigginton Park, Leyfields (at the end of Solway Close), on Wednesday April 4 from 11am - 3pm.

During the event, people will be able to help out with a hedgerow survey, enjoy a demonstration of green woodworking, improve their tree identification skills on a tree trail and plant their own tree seed. Special tree-themed crafts and activities will also be on offer for youngsters.

Wild About Tamworth officer Lindsey Bates said: “Last year we received funding from The Big Tree Plant campaign to plant over 5,000 trees around the Borough. This event has been organised as part of that project, to inspire people about the value and importance of trees. It will be an ideal free day out for all the family.”

Wild About Tamworth is a joint initiative between Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Tamworth Borough Council, and the Big Tree Plant Campaign is a partnership bringing together national tree-planting organisations and local groups working with Defra and the Forestry Commission to plant trees throughout England.

For more information about the project or the event, call Lindsey Bates on 01827 59912 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

ENDS

Notes
1. There are 47 local Wildlife Trusts across the whole of the UK, the Isle of Man and Alderney. We are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. With 720,000 members, we are the largest UK voluntary organisation dedicated to conserving the full range of the UK’s habitats and species whether they be in the countryside, in cities or at sea. 134,000 of our members belong to our junior branch, Wildlife Watch. We manage 2,200 nature reserves covering more than 80,000 hectares; we stand up for wildlife; we inspire people about the natural world and we foster sustainable living. www.wildlifetrusts.org

Family fun at Middleton Lakes

There are some wild activities lined up for all the family during the Easter break at RSPB Middleton Lakes. Easter Sunday will see an Easter egg hunt and special guided walk to look for emerging signs of spring (booking essential on 01827 259454), while a natural treasure trail, craft activities and face painting will be on offer free of charge throughout the weekend from Friday 6 to Monday 9 April. Further details of all the Easter fun can be found at www.rspb.org.uk/middletonlakes .

Scottish evening at historic hall

The RSPB is holding a Celebration of Scottish Wildlife on Wednesday 28 March, 7.45 pm, at historic Middleton Hall, near Tamworth.

Wildlife photographer Nick Martin will be conducting an illustrated tour of Scotland's Highlands and Islands, bringing people up close and personal with the wildlife of this wild and beautiful area.

Nick, who is also site manager at RSPB Middleton Lakes, told us “There’ll be mulled wine and Celtic music to set the scene, so it promises to be a memorable evening. All funds raised will support conservation work at Middleton Lakes nature reserve. We hope people will bring some spare change, as we unashamedly hope to inspire a few donations along the way!”

Tickets are £4, to include hot drinks and shortbread; doors open at 7.15 pm. To reserve your place, please call the office on 01827 259454.

A bumper Easter in The National Forest

The bumper load of special activities during Easter, gives visitors even more reason to take a break in The National Forest.

The two mighty beam engines and twenty six other steam engines will be fired up for Claymills Easter Steaming on 8 th and 9 th April. This is a rare chance to see the sheer scale and power of these amazing vintage machines! There is also a large Victorian workshop and for families there is the dreaded Rat Trail to follow, Model Making and a chance to start up a real Victorian steam engine.

Swadlincote Ski and Snowboard Centre is holding an Easter Extravaganza on 6 th and 9 TH April where visitors can take a half hour ski or snowboard taster lesson for just £5, toboggan for just £1 per ride, Sno-Tube for £4 per 30 minute session or enjoy a ski/ snowboard open practice for just £5 per hour. In the evening on 6 th April four very funny stand-up comedians will perform a Comedy Night in the Alpine Lodge at th e ski centre, as part of their UK circuit tour. Pre-booking is essential – call the Comedy Lodge on 07939 892199.

April is a fantastic time to visit Calke Abbey as it is lambing time. Visitors can see the young lambs close up and meet the wardens as they care for the flock. Children will love Calke’s Easter Trail, which leads to an Easter prize. These run from 6 th to 8 th April and cost just £3 per child. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

CONKERS at the heart of The National Forest, will be hosting some brilliant activities during the Easter holidays . Pirate Pat will bring some swashbuckling fun to CONKERS on 1 st and 15 th April. The ever popular Nick Spellman and his entourage of furry, slithery and feathered friends will be back on 6 th and 9 th April. The Flip and Dippy Clown Show will delight the children who can try plate spinning, stilt walking and juggling on2nd, 5 th , 12 th and 13 th April. The adorable chubby Dream Ponies will offer short rides on 4 th and 11 th April and there will be dray rides on 8 th April. Trevor Hill is back this year with an amazing Animal Road Show together with his birds of prey falconry show on 3 rd and 10 th April. And on 14 th April the sky is the limit with Sky Magic Kite Flying.

There will also be ranger activities at CONKERS throughout the holidays. Every day will see Easter Craft activities and an Easter Egg Challenge between 12-3pm as well as a Gruffalo Story at 1pm in the atmospheric Story Teller Hut. Book a place onto the pond dipping sessions taking place every Monday and Friday, bush craft sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays and ‘Tracks+Trails’ sessions every Wednesday. On Saturdays and Sundays visitors can embark on the self-led outdoor Adventures. Tickets can be booked online, which are all included within the admission price.

From 7 th to 9 th April an Easter Beer and Food Festival brings a delicious array of temptations to the National Brewery Centre. Organised in association with the Society of Independent Brewers, visitors can sample a range of bottled beers and taste a great range of food and chocolate specialities from regional suppliers. Plus there will be steam engines and dray rides, as the Shire Horses return to the National Brewery Centre this weekend. A DJ will keep the music going during all three days and Kick'n Rush will be playing live on the Saturday night.

Families will love solving the festive clues to find the Easter Eggs hidden throughout the galleries at Snibston on the 7 th and 8 th April. There will be Cadbury's Cream Egg prizes for young participants – but they’ll need to be quick as it is only while stocks last! The Easter weekend will also be a ‘Gaming Weekend’ as the Retro Computer Museum at Snibston invites visitors to play on computers and consoles from the last 35 years - including Acorn, Amstrad, Atari, Commodore, Nintendo, Sega and Sinclair.

From 7 th to 9 th April Twycross will be running an Easter Egg Hunt and children can join Tipsy’s Easter Bonnet Making workshop and Parade.

Rosliston Forestry Centre will be running Out & Active Holiday Club from 2 nd to 5 th April. These fully supervised, fun-packed days for the kids will have a fantastic range of outdoor activities, which may include archery, laser games and climbing wall. There will also be regular drop-in activity sessions for families at Rosliston Forestry Centre. Visitors can try out the following activities:

* Woodland laser combat on 4 th , 5 th , 11 th and 12 th April
* Archery on 2 nd , 6 th , 9 th and 13 th April
* Wildlife watch on 3 rd and 10 th April
* Mountain biking on 3 rd and 10 th April
* Kraftiz craft activities on 4 th and 11 th April
* Climbing wall on 4 th and 11 th April

From 31st March to 15th April the National Forest Adventure Farm will have a ‘choccalicious’ Easter Trail. If children can find all the Easter animals hiding around the farm site and tell us their names, they can claim a chocolate reward! They can also have a go at Easter crafts, feed the lambs, help collect eggs, choose a winner from the now famous racing pigs or ride the barrel train. And from April there will be a brand new Crazy Golf Course!

The website www.visitnationalforest.co.uk has more information on these events, including times and prices. It also has details on things to do and see throughout the whole year including attractions, activities, events and places to stay in and around The National Forest.

The National Forest spans more than 200 square miles across parts of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire and is one of England’s most ambitious environmental projects – to create a new Forest for the nation. The gentle undulating landscape is perfect for walking, cycling and horse-riding. And through the creation of new habitats, The National Forest is an ideal location for bird and wildlife watching.

- ends -

Media contacts: For further information contact either Penny Wilkinson or Carol Rowntree Jones at the National Forest Company on 01283 551211. For background information please visit www.nationalforest.org

Digital images available, contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Contacts

Calke Abbey – Tel: 01332 863 822, www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Claymills – Tel: 01283 509 929, www.claymills.org.uk

Conkers – Tel: 01283 216 633, www.visitconkers.com

Rosliston Forestry Centre – Wildlife Watch events Tel: 01283 535 039, Drop-in activity sessions Tel: 01283 563 483, www.roslistonforestrycentre.co.uk

Snibston – Tel: 01530 278 444, www.snibston.com

Swadlincote Ski & Snowboard Centre – Tel: 01283 217 200, www.jnlswadlincote.co.uk

Twycross Zoo – Tel: 01827 880 250, www.twycrosszoo.org

1. The National Forest area covers 200 square miles of the counties of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Its objective is to increase woodland cover within its boundaries from an initial six per cent to about a third. No multi-purpose forest on this scale has been created in the UK for one thousand years. To date the proportion of woodland cover in the Forest has more than trebled to 18.8 per cent and 7.8 million trees have been planted.



2. Year by year, The National Forest has been steadily turning what was once one of the least wooded areas of England into a multi-purpose, sustainable forest. The National Forest provides environmental, social and economic benefits, including landscape enhancement, creation of new wildlife habitats and major new access and leisure opportunities. It is an excellent example of sustainable development – with environmental improvement providing a stimulus both to economic regeneration and to community pride and activity.



3. To achieve these objectives, the National Forest Company leads the creation of The National Forest, working in partnership with landowners, local authorities, private business, voluntary organisations and local communities and has strong support from Government, politicians and the public. The Company receives grant in aid from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.



4. In 2008, the National Forest Company and partners won the inaugural Sustainable Development UK Award, for their work in Ashby Woulds, at the heart of The National Forest.

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