Volunteers are being urged to come forward to help a special project which will bring historic hedgerows and native meadows back to Bantock Park.

Funded by the Birmingham and Black Country Nature Improvement Area (NIA) programme, the £5,600 project aims to restore environmental features which have been lost over the years.

Weather permitting, the first stage of the work will take place on Wednesday 5 March, 2014, and volunteers are invited to join in on the day and help replant 2 historic hedgerows, restoring features that would have been found in the area more than 100 years ago.

Until the late 19th century, the area which is now Bantock Park enjoyed a typical rural landscape of small fields divided by hedgerows. The gradual suburbanisation of Wolverhampton saw the area become a park, playing fields and allotment gardens, and many of the defining features of the historic landscape were lost.

Through the project, supported by Friends of Bantock House Museum and Park and The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, 2 new hedgerows will be introduced, one across the centre of the park from its south west boundary towards the play area. The original hedgerow there was lost in the 1960s and will be replanted with a mix of native shrubs, trees and wildflowers.

Another hedgerow lost in the 1960s, this time towards the south east edge of the park, will also be reinstated by planting a native mix dominated by hawthorn, with hazel, field maple and oak. Some of the trees will be allowed to grow, while the remainder will be managed as hedgerow shrubs. Hedgerow flowers will also be sown.

The work will be carried out by representatives of the Birmingham and Black Country NIA, council staff and volunteers, and Simon Atkinson, Programme Manager for the NIA, said: "We'd love to hear from anyone who would like to be a part of this exciting project, which promises to be a great boost for nature in Wolverhampton.

"You don't need to have any particular experience as training will be given on the day, and I'd encourage anyone who would like to volunteer to help out on the project on 5 March to call Su James on 0121 454 1199 for more information."

Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Leisure and Communities Councillor Elias Mattu, who is intending to volunteer for the project himself, said: "This is a great opportunity to get involved in a fascinating piece of work which will have a lasting impact on Bantock Park, and I'd encourage anyone who is available to lend a hand."

The installation of the historic hedgerows is one element of the restoration work. Later this year, the most western point of the park, a wet area which has had meadow flowers introduced over the last few years, will be encouraged to naturalise further with the introduction of yellow rattle flowers, which weakens grasses and allows other flowers to establish themselves. Seed rich hay from a local meadow will be spread in the area to introduce new species.

Finally, hay will be spread on the little used area of grassland towards the south west of the park, enabling a flower rich meadow to establish itself in the next 2 or 3 years bursting with orchids and cowslip.

  • released: Thursday 13 February, 2014