In March TDCS Committee member Ruth Robinson attended a Tame Valley Wetlands Community Meeting held at Water Orton. We are grateful for Ruth’s report on the meeting which brings organisations and individuals who are interested in nature and our local heritage and environment and we hope that you enjoy reading about her experiences.
This free event was aimed to bring together the communities of the Tame Valley Wetlands. It was an opportunity for local groups or individuals with an interest in access to the countryside, heritage or the environment, to network and share best practice, meet similar groups, share tips and ideas, and be inspired. It was also a chance to find out about the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership and get involved.
The day started with a talk :The Tame Valley Wetlands, where we are now and visions for the future followed by the health and social benefits of nature and heritage conservation work. These are the basic points :
The Tame Valley Wetlands, spanning from Birmingham through rural North Warwickshire and Tamworth, is a landscape of real importance for society and nature, and one which is under substantial pressure.
The canal network and the River Tame and its floodplain form the largest series of interconnected wetlands in the Midlands – this connectivity and availability of open space is a vital asset for both people and wildlife.
The Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership, led by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and supported by a variety of organisations including charities, local groups, statutory bodies and councils, formed over 10 years ago in recognition of the importance of this landscape, with the vision ‘to create a wetland landscape, rich in wildlife and accessible to all’.
Over the last 2 years alone, thanks largely to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Biffa Award, Environment Agency and other partners, the Partnership has invested just over £1 million towards realising this vision through the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme.
Work has involved restoring the floodplain and improving the river in Kingsbury and Tamworth by re-naturalising the channel and reinstating an historic river island; restoring the Drayton Turret Footbridge – an iconic 200 year old Grade II listed structure on the canal, formerly owned by Sir Robert Peel; and enhancing hundreds of metres of hedgerow for the benefit of wildlife.
The Tame Valley Wetlands not only provide a vital role in reducing flooding, improving water quality and providing a home for wildlife; they are also special places for people to relax and enjoy, improving health and wellbeing. A key aim of the Scheme is to encourage responsible and improved access to the countryside and nature reserves for people living in Tamworth, Kingsbury, Coleshill, Castle Vale, Water Orton and nearby villages.
TameFest – a large free event showcasing the Tame Valley Wetlands – which took place in Tamworth Castle Pleasure Grounds on Saturday 27th May.
After these talks there was then a chance to join in on two workshops. Firstly I joined a workshop where we talked about funding opportunities. It was hosted by two ladies from WARWICKSHIRE COMMUNITY AND VOLUNTARY ACTION (www.wcava.org.uk) which was formed in 2008 through the merger of separate ‘Councils for Voluntary Service’ and ‘Volunteer Centres’ to provide a single point of access for everyone who wants to engage in community and voluntary action. They have a collective history of over 200 years of supporting local communities to thrive. Although they are based in Warwickshire they said that they would be quite happy to talk to anyone outside their area who was linked to helping the Tame Valley Community.
The second workshop I attended was called ‘Telling The Tale of the Tame’. On the website www.tamevalleywetlands.co.uk they are asking for help to build a picture of the local history of the Tame Valley Wetlands by uploading your stories, photographs and memories to the Historypin website.
Historypin is a digital archive of historical photos, videos, audio recordings and personal recollections. Users are able to use the location and date of their content to “pin” it to Google Maps. On the website you use the drop down tag : Discover : then History and then finally Historypin (located at the very bottom of the page). Anyone can add material but we were warned to be careful of copyrights on pictures but your own are ok to include. They are looking for any information that people may have whether it is concerning mining, the wars, people history ( who was where and where did people go) , the waterways or just memories.
There was then time for a short closing talk which brought the end to a very enjoyable and informative day !!
Images in this blog post, attributed to Tina Williams, are as follows: Tame Valley Wetlands at Middleton Lakes (RSPB site), Lake and wetlands at Kingsbury Water Park, Tame Valley Wetlands at Middleton Lakes (RSPB site) and Kingsbury Hall.