Today we met up for our annual AGM. It has been great to look back over the past year and acknowledge everything that we’ve achieved. In Woodacre Road we planted a whole load of new trees in Spring 2017 which are looking great. We’ve also bought and installed lectern stands with useful information on as well as some great benches.
The volunteers have done a great job with the implementation of these things and, as usual, have done a fantastic job with ongoing slog against the Himalayan Balsam, Rhododendron and fly tipping – they really are an asset tot he local area and greatly appreciated by the Friends of Rivacre Valley.
We also recognised the success we had in opening up the Rangers Cabin on a Saturday morning. Local users to the area told us that they felt dismayed when they came and the cabin was closed because of a reduced ranger service so our dedicated volunteers gave up their Saturday mornings to provide a friendly informative face.
The future of the Friends group is much the same – we want to do what we can to enjoy the valley ourselves and help others enjoy it, ensuring it resists development so we have such a fantastic resource now and for the future.
We are planning to continue with opening the cabin on a Saturday, with the next two dates set as the 14th and 21st of October, from 8am until midday. We’ll be offering warm cups of tea for the colder weather and sachets of bird seed. We also felt the photography competition was great last Spring so plan to have another one soon as well as organising a dawn chorus next May.
thank you all for coming to the Valley and enjoying it as much as we do,
The Friends of Rivacre Valley.
As spring approaches volunteers have been very busy in the valley doing some really great work!
The tree planting that happened in January has been improved upon again with the
help of Ben Greenway from Mersey Forest and helpers from a local school. Ben sourced and planted some semi-mature trees have been planted in the same area and the students have planted a new hedgerow to create a wildlife corridor.
The regular volunteers also did made improvements in the valley. They fixed one of the blue bell signs that had been knocked down and put a hard area down below one of our benches to help users from getting muddy feet.
Unfortunately Tim the Ranger reports that there are signs of Balsam seedlings showing up now. It can become quite wide spread and hard to control so no doubt this will be a future focus of the volunteer groups.
On behalf of all the users of the Valley, thank you to the hard work of the volunteers over the last month
Not only does Rivacre Valley have a Friends group, it also has an appreciation group who get together via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1671144286449838/). Over February 2017 they got out into the valley and started snapping all the tranquil places they could. These were the winners
Experts Category – Winner Robb Pitt with ‘Morning Sunshine On Rivacre Brook’ – taken here (Link to Google Maps). Robb also has a Flickr page if you want to see more photographs like this around Wirral, Cheshire and beyond.
Amateurs Category – Winner Deb Bowler with ‘Misty dusk’ taken from here
Children’s Category – Winner Abby Clarke with a beautiful selection of bluebells
Today the volunteer group teamed up with Ben from Mersey Forest to plant the trees in the holes we made in December. It was great to see the trees go in and even better to be unexpectedly joined by local residents who liked the idea. We’ll be having two more events in the future for this specifically.
If you wander onto the small green fields of the nature reserve next to Woodacre Road, Overpool you will see lots of new muddy mounds – about the size of a mole hill. Have no fear though moles aren’t responsible – the Rivacre Valley Volunteers are.
Today we spent another volunteer morning preparing the ground for the 25th of January 2017 when we’ll be working with Mersey Forest to plant over 600 new trees (Oak, Rowan & Hazel). The plan is to also involve one of the local schools so the children feel some ownership of the area rather than just us adults. The news trees will be providing new food sources and habitat for birds and other wildlife in the area.
If you would like to help on Wednesday the 25th of January 2017 then please get in touch. We’d like to know before hand how many are likely to turn up so we can have enough refreshments and tools.
Another Wednesday, another volunteer day done and dusted! Meeting Tim the Ranger at 10 am we headed to a patch of woodland rarely visited – along Rivacre Road, just to the side of the old water tower, an area very over grown with Rhododendron bushes.
Problems With Rhododendron
Tim the Ranger explained today that we were clearing the Rhododendron because it makes the soil more acidic through the huge amount of leaf litter it creates. The resulting acidity doesn’t sit well with our native woodland species. The trees themselves grow quite big, spreading out laterally covering a large area, further reducing opportunities for more natural flora. As native plants die off, fauna reliant on them also leave the area or become isolated in patches. This all just lets the Rhododendron spread further, so while it might produce lovely flowers, it needs careful cultivation.
The volunteers worked very hard today though, clearing an absolutely huge area. We piled them up so there was plenty of new habitable areas for mice, hedgehogs and other ground dwelling fauna. Although the leaves will rot into the soil eventually and provide the acidity we don’t want, ultimately the problem is stemmed and the extra habitats are a boon 🙂
The after shot is just the area I was working on with Tim, Danielle and Jen. Terry, Jean and Bill worked extremely well and made some dramatic forays to the left side.
Once I joined the friends of Rivacre Valley group it was only a matter of time before I joined the volunteers group too. They meet every other Wednesday, from 10 am until they call it quits. I’ve seen their work, but never become involved before. Today I made the leap into the unknown and turned up on my own at the Rangers cabin, slightly nervous because I didn’t really know anyone.
I needn’t have worried. The volunteers that were there today made me feel welcome, chatting with me happily as we walked to Plantation Drive. Tim the Ranger had identified a fly-tipping spot that had been building up over the years and wanted to tackle it today. He gave us some gloves and a pair of glasses, went through a risk-assessment, gave us a brew and then we made our way over.
We removed a huge amount of rubbish that had been building up over the years. Most of it was fence panels, old conifer trees and concrete posts. It was a huge satisfaction to see the space clearing up as we worked and it is nice know the burden on the Valley is a bit lighter today because of us. There is still a lot of work that can be done on this particular site and I’m sure we’ll be back another day.
Some of the metal panels we brought out were in great condition and will be re-used by one of the group. Some other smaller panels, that we were putting in the rubbish heap for Streetscene, were given to a hawk-eyed resident of Plantation Drive. They will now live a happy life as part of a new garden planter, raising a bed higher so the new owner doesn’t have to bend down so much 🙂
The Friends of Rivacre Valley will be hosting a teddy bears picnic event on Saturday the 8th of October 2016 – the event will run from 10:30 until 12:30. Come along and enjoy a teddy bears trail to help mummy and daddy bear find their lost cubs, followed by a picnic and game of pass the parcel.
Wildlife Trust help control local Dogwood
Many thanks to the Wildlife trust who have helped take care of the Dogwood growth in the Rivacre Valley recently.
Dogwood can be a valued shrub and can be used to quite good effect as a landscaping tree. You will most likely have seen it regularly as you walk around – it has red twigs and produces clusters of black berries, which are a hit with the birds.
Unfortunately Dogwood can also spread quite quickly and dominates an area, inhibiting ground flora from growing. The wildlife Trust targeted the area near a pine tree not far from the Rangers Hut last Wednesday (Sept 14th 2016) during one of the regular events held with the Ranger.
How can I help?
Tim the Ranger holds events roughly every two weeks. Anyone can come along and join in, learning a few things along the way. The next one will be on Wednesday the 12th of October 2016. Find further information about volunteer days on the Volunteer page or on the link below.
Volunteering with The Ranger
General Dogwood Information
Welcome to the new website for the ‘Friends of Rivacre Valley’ group. We formed in October 2015 and have been meeting regularly to discuss ways we can bring all the great things we like about the valley to those who don’t know of it. We have 3 woods, streams, Kingfishers, meadows, great trees, trails, hidden nooks n’crannies and lots more that we are very proud of and we hope you will too.
If you have any comments or suggestions on how we can make the Valley an even better place to be then use the contact page to message us, or join the friends group and tell us in person over a cup of tea at one of our meetups.