Volunteers Needed to Count Rare Flowers at Tamworth Beauty Spot

BroadmeadowNature-loving volunteers are being given the chance to get hands-on with some conservation work by helping to count the number of rare flowers growing on Tamworth’s ‘jewel in the crown’ Local Nature Reserve.

The 61-acre Broad Meadow is sited on the island between the two channels of the River Tame, off Lichfield Road near to the Moor Street traffic island.  It is one of only two areas in Staffordshire where the rare snake’s head fritillary grows wild and is recognised as a Site of Biological Importance.

Broad Meadow is run and managed under the Wild About Tamworth project – a partnership between Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.  The project aims to make the site more accessible to people by opening it up and more valuable to wildlife by allowing the fritillaries to spread.

The stunning fritillaries are currently in bloom – and a number of events have been organised by Wild About Tamworth and Tame Valley Wetlands to give nature lovers the chance to learn more about Broad Meadow and even take part in the annual fritillary count.

The first event is an early evening walk and talk about the site and plans for its future.  It takes place on Thursday April 14 at 6pm. Anyone interested in joining on the free walk is asked to meet at the entrance to the site near the weir off Oxbridge Way at 6pm.

Then on Sunday April 17, the annual fritillary count will be taking place, as part of the open event for the whole family.

Volunteers of all ages are invited to the site from 2pm to 4pm to count the number of fritillaries in flower, as well as scattering some seeds in the entrance are near the weir.

Last year’s fritillary count drew more than 30 volunteers and is expected to be even more popular this year.

The final event takes place on Wednesday April 20 from 10am to 1pm.  This is the monthly practical task day, which will also include a guided walk and talk about the site and the fritillaries.  There will also be the chance to sign up to get involved in the Friends group, which helps to help improve Broad Meadow by carrying out a number of tasks including day-to-day habitat management, site surveys and litter picks.

Wild About Tamworth Officer, Shelley Pattison, said: “There is a wonderful display of snake’s head fritillaries growing on Broad Meadow right now, and we are appealing for volunteers to help us count these rare and special flowers.

“We also have big plans for the site over the next couple of years – including new and exciting works to improve breeding habitats for wildlife, as well as encouraging further spread of the fritillaries.  These three events are the ideal opportunity for people to come along and hear more about what we have got in the pipeline.

“The work which we are carrying out will conserve and improve this wonderful natural resource and make it even more welcoming for wildlife and visitors alike.  I would encourage nature lovers of all ages to come along and see for themselves what this wonderful site has to offer.”

Last year, Broad Meadow officially received Local Nature Reserve status, which allows the site to be protected as a conservation area for future generations, as well as creating more opportunity for grant money to be made available for conservation works.

Anyone who would like more information or to get involved as a volunteer should contact Wild About Tamworth officer Shelley Pattison on 07970 067711 or email tamworth@staffswildlife.org.uk.

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