Ecology in the Park
The current site of Telford Town Park was first managed as a park in the1970’s and has a number of important habitats. The 150 hectares (approximately 400 acres) comprises of mature woodland, grassland, some scrub and several lakes and ponds. Following on from the successful Heritage Lottery bid, an ecology trail will be developed over the next few years with signposts around the park for visitors to follow and get the most out of their walk.
There are several protected species that live in the park including badgers, bats and great crested newts. In addition of course, all wild birds are protected and it is illegal to kill them or disturb nesting sites without permission from the relevant authorities. Most of the grassland is managed and mown at the correct time of year in order to preserve such things as the wild orchids for which the park is well known. They give a dazzling display of purple colour around June time.
All of the park as you see it now has been taken over by nature since the area ceased to be a huge industrial site producing bricks, steel, nails and of course many railway lines. Read more about this on the “heritage” page.
During your walk in the park you may encounter the magical site of a Buzzard soaring overhead quite often being harassed by two crows, who fear the raptor is getting too close to their nest. You might also catch a glimpse of the majestic heron flying overhead or just sitting in one of the lakes deciding where his next meal is coming from. To see more of the fauna the park has to offer, you may need to be very patient and sit quietly somewhere for an hour or so. Kingfishers have been seen, woodpeckers, green and spotted and several other birds not often encountered in the average garden.
The flora also plays a big part in the life of the park, assisting in the provision of food for the animals such as rabbits and shrews. If you are very lucky you may even catch a glimpse of a grass snake or adder on your travels. Grass snakes are harmless but as adders are poisonous it is best not to corner them but let them go on their way and then you will come to no harm.
The web site is of course, just an introduction into the ecology of the park and we recommend purchasing one of the park booklets from Spout Farmhouse and also perhaps purchasing a wildlife book from your local bookstore or borrow some from the excellent Library service run by Telford & Wrekin Council.
Happy foraging to one and all.
Whats going on in the Park?
Many of you may have noticed that there has been a lot of tree thinning and pruning going on in the park and wondered why so much is being removed.
Firstly there is the Southwater redevelopment which inevitably meant disturbance to much of the wildlife that lived there. To compensate for this, money was set aside to increase the number of bat and bird boxes in the park to ensure that there was still a suitable habitat. Further to this, lots of new hedges are being planted at appropriate spots. The reason for the hedges is to provide plenty of medium height cover and feeding places for birds and other creatures.
If you look around the Town Park, many of the trees have not only reached maturity but have been struggling for light due to insufficient thinning in the past. This has meant very low dense flora on the ground, then very little till about 10 or 15 metres off the ground. Therefore the native wildlife has been slowly diminishing in the Park and all this work is set to reverse that trend. The Friends have been actively assisting in this work along with relaying some ancient hedges which have long since been forgotten about. Many of these are past saving and will have to come out and be replaced with new plants. This has already happened in part of Dark Lane.
Secondly, if the Park was just left to nature, it would slowly become devoid of most bird and mammal life and trees would gradually mature and fall over and the entire area would eventually become a very unpleasant, dangerous and impenetrable place to stroll in.
At first sight, it appears that the Park is being hacked to pieces. Nothing could be further from the truth and the whole 150 hectares (400 plus acres) have been surveyed by professional ecologists and the current work is just part of the recommendations. The Friends are proud to be a part of this valuable regeneration of our beautiful Park and you will see a marked difference this time next year.
The Friends have also been very active in taking part in the OPAL project. This is a national scheme to log information across the UK regarding air and water quality, vegetation and how the atmosphere is affecting the country. So far we have found that the Park shapes up very well considering it’s industrial past. If you would like to help in any of our work in the park please contact us via the ‘Contact’ page. We meet on the second Wednesday of each month in the Telford & Wrekin Civic Offices at 6pm.