Burlish Top extension
When we began this project we were unaware that there would be a stage 3, but last year we found out that we would be taking over management of another piece of the old Golf course that had most recently been used as a landfill site. Initial works involved a huge cleanup operation to remove many skips worth of flytipped materials and exposed concrete. The existing pool had been left with a hazardous drop along one edge and was littered with fridges and sofas. The footpath running through the site had been closed. This is now open. The future of this site will involve the introduction of grazing to manage the open areas, removal of the hundreds of goldfish from the pool, improvements of the pathway network linking it to the rest of the golf course. We are currently working on a project with the Woodland Trust to also plant 18000 trees. It has been fascinating watching this area develop and also seeing the wildlife records rolling in. Skylarks did very well this year and it was great to see the resident Kestrels successfully raising their young. Sand martins were a pleasant surprise making their nests among a pile of sand left behind as part of the Severn Trent Works. Some unusual invertebrates have also been recorded such as the scarce Weld bee and Green Tiger Beetle.
Stage two update
Stage two of the transformation of ‘Golf course’ to Nature reserve is well underway. Winter/spring 2019/2020 saw the successful introduction of cattle grazing. This was very well received by the local community. The cattle are currently grazing the heaths and marshes of the district but will return in the winter. Many walkers have said how much they miss the cattle, if anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer ‘looker’, please get in touch via email@example.com. . A total of two ponds were installed during this period. Digging was delayed due to the extremely wet winter. Once the ponds were built along came Covid and also one of the driest periods on record. It’s taken a while to get the ponds wet, but we will hopefully see them going from strength to strength. We have been asked a few times about the possibility of adding pond weed and fish. Please do NOT put fish OR plants of any type into these ponds. The site already has a good amphibian population which will benefit from a fishless pool as will the dragonflies and damselflies that will begin to colonise. We will add pond plants from our other sites and will choose species that will not take over. A section of surfaced pathway has been built connecting the Kidderminster side of the golf course to Burlish Top. This will be further extended to connect into Stage 3. Over the coming few months we will be on site adding a native meadow seed mix to some of the scraped areas to help the meadow along.
Grazing will be essential to the sites future as a meadow. The cattle’s presence at certain times of year will knock back the dense grasses, breaking up the surface allowing wild flowers to colonise and spread. In places where the sward is already disturbed, knapweed, Hawkweeds, dandelions and speedwell to name a few are appearing, providing nectar to a wide variety of bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects.
The entire site is still fully open to the public and can be accessed via kissing gates, the locations of these have been chosen by speaking with users on site and also looking at the desire lines already in place. The layout does incorporate a surfaced track way (red dashed line), which will lead from Burlish Top car park down the length of the golf course without users having to interact with the cattle or open gates. There is also a view point located at the top of this compartment which will be inaccessible to cattle.
Click map to enlarge.
We held a series of public consultation meetings at the beginning of December to discuss plans for the former golf course at Burlish Park.
Click on map image to view larger map showing land management around the former Wyre Forest Golf Course.
Working with our young rangers we have planted in excess of 500 new trees on our newly acquired land. The trees are a mixture of young native species and will form a new green border around part of the land.