Category Archives: Volunteering

Photos from our recent volunteer day

Our volunteers day on Portway Hill on the 20th October was very productive. We cleared all of the grass and bramble debris piled up from the previous volunteers day and even managed to find a few new fungi for the Portway Hill site. The reason for removing all arisings from the site is to reduce soil fertility which should in time increase the diversity of the wild flowers and insects found here.

Here are some photos of before, during and after the volunteers’ hard work, as well as lots of lovely fungi!

Join us for some volunteering next weekend!

We’ve got a big task to achieve on our next volunteering date, Saturday 20th October – why not come and join in? We need to clear all the mown grass off the wildflower meadow on Portway Hill – this will prevent it from rotting back into the meadow over the winter, helping to keep soil nutrient levels low to encourage a greater diversity of wildflowers. Meet on St Brades Close; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!

Here are a few photos from one of our recent volunteer days where we restored a public right of way marker that had been vandalised.

Forthcoming events and volunteering dates

We’ve recently added a new batch of volunteer days and exciting events happening over the forthcoming months, hope to see you at a few!

  • Conservation volunteer day, Portway Hill, Friday 6th April 2018, 10:00am – 3:00pm. Join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country at Portway Hill for a fun day out meeting new people, helping the environment and learning new skills. Meet on St Brades Close; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!
  • Moth trapping event, Portway Hill, Saturday 21st April 2018, 8:30pm – 10:00pm approx. Come along and learn from the experts which moths are found on Rowley Hills at this time of the year. Walking boots are recommended as the paths can be slippery after rain, and don’t forget to bring a torch/head-torch with you. Meet on St Brades Close at the junction with Tower Road at 8:15pm.
  • Dawn Chorus, Portway Hill, Saturday 5th May 2018, 5:30am – 7:00am approx. Join local bird expert Nick Horton for a dawn chorus walk around the Portway Hill site. Last year 38 bird species were seen or heard. Can this be bettered in 2018? One of our target species, Ring Ouzel, is known to use Portway Hill as a migration stopover site. We will also be on the lookout for Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Peregrine, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. Wear sturdy footwear and dress appropriately for the early morning weather conditions.  Meet on St Brades Close at the junction with Tower Road at 5:20am.
  • Netherton Tunnel Pepperpot Walk, Saturday 19th May 2018, 10:00am – 1:00pm approx. This over and under walk takes approximately 3 hours to complete and includes a visit to Bumble Hole Visitor Centre mid-way through the walk. Sturdy footwear, a waterproof coat, and torch/head-torch are essential, as there will be constant drips from the brickwork and parts of the tunnel towpath are flooded. Meet outside the Co-op at the junction of Regent Road/Oakham Road at 9:50am.
  • Conservation volunteer day, Portway Hill, Friday 1st June 2018, 10:00am – 3:00pm. Join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country at Portway Hill for a fun day out meeting new people, helping the environment and learning new skills. Meet on St Brades Close; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!
  • Conservation volunteer day, Portway Hill, Saturday 16th June 2018, 10:00am – 3:00pm. Join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country at Portway Hill for a fun day out meeting new people, helping the environment and learning new skills. Meet on St Brades Close; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!
  • Portway Hill Butterfly walk, Saturday 30th June 2018, 10:00am -12:00am approx. Join us and the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country for a guided walk around the Rowley Hills. The flowers on the hillside should just about be at their best by this time and if the day is sunny we will see many species of butterflies, including Marbled White; Portway Hill is one of this species’ hotspots in Birmingham and the Black Country. Wear sturdy footwear and ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions. Meet on St Brades Close at the junction with Tower Road at 9:50am.

Conservation volunteer days are run by the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country; for further information please contact The Wildlife Trust, telephone 0121 454 1199 or email info@bbcwildlife.org.uk. Their Portway Hill reserve is located within the dotted black square on the map below.

Rowley Hills map showing paths and access points

2018 volunteer dates for your diary

We’ve added our volunteer days for the first few months of 2018 to the Events page – they’re also listed here in full!

  • Conservation volunteer day, Portway Hill, Saturday 20th January 2018, 10:00am – 3:00pm. Join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country at Portway Hill for a fun day out meeting new people, helping the environment and learning new skills. Meet on St Brades Close; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!
  • Conservation volunteer day, Portway Hill, Friday 2nd February 2018, 10:00am – 3:00pm. Join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country at Portway Hill for a fun day out meeting new people, helping the environment and learning new skills. Meet on St Brades Close; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!
  • Conservation volunteer day, Portway Hill, Saturday 17th February 2018, 10:00am – 3:00pm. Join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country at Portway Hill for a fun day out meeting new people, helping the environment and learning new skills. Meet on St Brades Close; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!
  • Conservation volunteer day, Portway Hill, Friday 2nd March 2018, 10:00am – 3:00pm. Join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country at Portway Hill for a fun day out meeting new people, helping the environment and learning new skills. Meet on St Brades Close; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!
  • Conservation volunteer day, Portway Hill, Saturday 17th March 2018, 10:00am – 3:00pm. Join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country at Portway Hill for a fun day out meeting new people, helping the environment and learning new skills. Meet on St Brades Close; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!
  • Conservation volunteer day, Portway Hill, Friday 6th April 2018, 10:00am – 3:00pm. Join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country at Portway Hill for a fun day out meeting new people, helping the environment and learning new skills. Meet on St Brades Close; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!
  • Conservation volunteer day, Portway Hill, Saturday 21st April 2018, 10:00am – 3:00pm. Join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country at Portway Hill for a fun day out meeting new people, helping the environment and learning new skills. Meet on St Brades Close; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!

Conservation volunteer days are run by the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country; for further information please contact The Wildlife Trust, telephone 0121 454 1199 or email info@bbcwildlife.org.uk. Their Portway Hill reserve is located within the dotted black square on the map below.

Rowley Hills map showing paths and access points

November news

Removing and burning hawthorn and bramble on the Wildlife Trust owned land continued all through November. The aim is to create wildflower-rich grassland to provide a nectar and pollen source for butterflies, bees and the many other insects that frequent the hillside. This takes time, and requires a great deal of effort, so to discourage nettles, brambles and hawthorn from recolonising, removing or burning the cuttings is vital as most wild flowers thrive in poor, low-fertility soils. James and Luke have recently joined the volunteers group – welcome to them!

October news

Over the past month we’ve been busy on the Portway Hill site, cutting, clearing and burning hawthorn, bramble and ivy to keep paths open and reduce risks from fires. While we were up there on one of the days, the sky went dark, and the sun became encircled by a red halo. We later discovered that unusual atmospheric conditions had blown up a sandstorm from Africa, and a thin layer of dust from the Sahara Desert had been carried over parts of Britain, depositing a fine film of sand everywhere. Fortunately, one of us had a camera at hand to photograph the strange-looking sun.

If you would like to get fit and active and do something positive for your local environment, then why not come along and join us on one of our conservation days?

Our next volunteer day is this Friday; for more information and to see all of our forthcoming volunteering opportunities please refer to our Events page. We look forward to seeing you there.

Volunteer day this Saturday

Don’t forget we have our next conservation volunteer day this Saturday, 10:00am – 3:00pm. Join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country at Portway Hill for a fun day out meeting new people, helping the environment and learning new skills. Meet on St Brades Close at 10:00am; ensure you are dressed appropriately for the forecast weather conditions, and wear sturdy footwear. You will need to bring along a packed lunch but tea and coffee will be provided. No need to book, just turn up!