Follow by Email

Friday, October 17, 2014

Wombling Free

Great Uncle Bulgaria and Orinoco!!!

The Sun rose brightly on Friday 10 October to relive what had been the first week of autumnal deluges, one of the wettest on record that washed out many parks activities. 

The rain was welcomed by our thirsty lawns and drooping shrubs but it was lifting to be in the company of sunshine again. Closely followed was the arrival of two life size real Wombles all the way from Wimbledon Common – it was our very own Great Uncle Bulgaria and Orinoco.

Right on time, into the playing fields streamed in children and teachers from Kings Norton Junior and Infant School, Kings Norton Boys School and Kings Norton Nursery, Friends from Kings Norton Park, Waterside Care reps, Kings Norton Health Walkers in an exited buzz of anticipation. 

The promise of litter picking made fun, really worked – how great to be in such great company!   

  It was a super occasion, the children so eager and entertaining, they fully engaged in the health and safety briefing and looked ready for business in their Waitrose and Keep Britain Tidy sponsored overalls, gloves and litter pickers.  The children wombled across the playing fields to return displaying their finds proudly filling between them 12 handsome and very large green bin liners – excellent wombling!

The wombles mingled with everyone sharing cuddles, waving and shaking hands, posing in several selfies and photographs many of which have since appeared on twitter

To complement the litter picking session Friends of Kings Norton Park set up a water test on the wooden bridge of the lint brook to demonstrate another strand of Keep Britain Tidy’s work through Waterside Care, who have been teaching local groups how to TTAP test their water courses.  

TTAP stands for testing the water quality using Temperature, Turbidity, Ammonia and PH.    

Kings Norton Boys School helped in the demonstration and are keen to work in the future with us testing water this way and for fresh water invertebrate.

Following a snack provided by Waitrose the children ate lunch and chose their favourite womble sticker and badge and made up their womble masks – it was quite sad when everyone had to wave good bye… but you will be pleased to know that the Wombles are touring Britain to mark the 60 years anniversary of Keep Britain Tidy and a full length feature film will be at cinemas soon.

Thanks to everyone who joined in!

The wombles will hopefully capture the imagination of another generation, and allow the more mature of us to womble down memory lane.  It is learning by doing and enjoying.  

The wombles remind us of our individual responsibility to ensure we dispose of packaging and products in an environmentally safe way.   If we all adopted a ‘Bin it or take it home’ approach wildlife would protected from harmful effects of litter and our park would be a much more attractive and clean space.  Fizzy drink bottle and cans, plastic bags, McDonald’s cartons and chip are regularly left strewn around the park and playing fields.   We have installed additional bins over the last 2 years and will try to find funding for an extra bin next to the bench at the skateboard park and another by our new popular picnic benches

More pictures at

Twitter accounts to follow


Email us

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thank you to those who helped clear 60% Balsam from the Canal Feeder

You should feel very proud of yourselves!

Thank you all

Fantastic results for our Himalayan Balsam Clearance

took place during July and August 2014 on some Friday's Saturday's and weekday evenings.  It was tough going because we were hindered by nettles and brambles.       

We began the West Hill Road side of the park after identifying that the canal feeder flows up the park towards the canal - logical when you think of its name!

Council funding cuts has caused some areas of our Park and playing fields especially those in the trickier mowing places to be left off programme and become overgrown with brambles.  Much of the balsam was entwined within it or lay behind it meaning we had to cut paths into the brambles to reach it.   The balsam is an annual so its roots are shallow making it easy to pull and its red stems meant we could easily spot it - it can grow up to 10ft, it has seed pods which can disperse 700 seeds at a time and unless it is cut below the first node or pulled at the roots will have time to revive and regrow.   

A core group of  6 people in the Kings Norton Park and 3 people in Kings Norton Playing Fields and we had assistance from the resident artist at Winterbourne gardens who delivered our photosynthesis art and one ranger on a couple of occasions who helped scythe our paths a little wider for easier access. Between us we achieved pulling vast amounts of balsam along the feeder exposing hidden trees, ferns, rushes and water mint.  We spotted roach, perch, caterpillars, butterflies, moths, frogs, bees and rats.

 We  made good use of the protective clothing supplied by Waterside Care which kept our legs dry - please note that the canal feeder looks shallow but is largely silt at the bottom so we sank up to 2ft, therefore, those with long legs entered the water and the little ones stayed out.  

We dodged rain storms, basked in the sun and picnicked on our new benches - all in all it was strenuous, interesting but fun.   

Many passersby thanked us for our efforts and asked what were doing.  We explained that the balsam is beautiful but far to invasive it chokes out our natural plant species along our water courses.  The bees love it but this means they ignore visiting other flowers which then are not pollenated.  The result is less natural flora and forna and less wildlife, therefore, it is essential we begin to eradicate from the feeder.  

We realise we have a 3 year programme ahead of us to completely remove it.  Next year we will tackle the untouched areas and any stragglers we missed this year.


Very importantly, in 2015 we will begin in May
We would appreciate the support from other local  community groups, schools and local employers.  So please make a date in your diary when you can help and let us know.

You can contact us on


Thank you!





11am to 4pm

Please join us for a


at the not so far away


(opposite the new Kings Norton Cemetry)


The National Trust are parking its amazing OakMobile, we have invited the rangers to join us in their caravan for environmental, crafts and fun activities.  There will be an acrobatic theatre team in the natural play area, a Barefoot Walk, Den Building activities, Face Painting, Bug Hunting and Sensory Boxes and the national trusts 50 things to do.

There will also be local community stalls and catering stands.

Sounds like a great day pop over and join us!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Balsam is choking our natural plants

Community Conservation Event   
Friday 18 July &

Saturday 19 July 
from  11am
Kings Norton Park
All ages welcome!

Have you seen the 
canal feeder lately?

Himalayan Balsam
is needed before its seeds disperse.  
It is beautiful but it is invasive and choking out natural plant species along our water courses.  The result is less natural species, less wildlife and damaged banks. 
It’s easy to clear but it takes lots of helping hands to make an impression. 

Please join us if you can and bring your friends and family too

After clearing Balsam you could on

Friday  Water Quality Test

Saturday   Picnic after? 

If you are a member of community group, local organisation or work for an employer who likes to take part in environmental and community activities please encourage them to come along.  If these occasions are unsuitable we can always arrange alternative convenient dates and times.   
Thank you in anticipation of your support.



Friday, July 4, 2014


'you can join in - its your open space to love and use'

Our first Cox's Orange Apples soon ripe for picking
Hello, things having been moving at a fast pace this year with Water and Flowers dominating the first half of our parks season, and my what a lot we have learnt. We have been fortunate to have been trained by experts in both water testing and wild flower meadow identification, these are worlds with our worlds and very fascinating.  You can join in any training events and activities in which we will try to share our knowledge.  Below are some planned things and other things waiting to be planned - you can join in planning too. 

We are really pleased all comments have been positive about our newly installed benches and picnic benches - you have justifiably pointed out more strategically placed bins - one by the picnic benches and a couple nearer to the skateboard park.  This may take a while as we work out where to get funds from. 

We will also having to defend our green open spaces once more this year as even more council cuts are planned - we will keep you posted on any formal consultation. 

We love the fact we have our first Cox's Orange apples - tweet us what you love about you park @kingsnortonpark

Quick email to tell you about a couple of events we are planning for this summer. We are down the park very much every Friday around 11 am so if you pop down we are mostly somewhere by the flower beds or water courses.  We are aiming to have some events on a Saturday please let us know what you would like to do and if you would like to help to organise them @kingsnortonpark

Assessing sample: fascinating underwater world not too wriggly after all
Friday 4 July 10.30am Our final Freshwater Invertebrate Network training at 10.30am meet in the Playing Fields if you are interested in taking a look what is in the River Rea you are welcome to join us, good news is we found no shopping trolleys!  If you wish to take part you will need wellies and strong legs - the water is not deep but the current can be surprising strong so care is needed with youngsters.  We have found fish we never thought existed and lots of indicators that the river is of a good quality. We will incorporate FIN in some of our future events. 

Relaxing River Rea Meadow after flower ID course 20 June
Saturday 5 July 11 am meet in Kings Norton park for a wild flower walk and talk followed by art and/or if you prefer water testing the Waterside Care way.  We are very pleased that Mary Green will give some of her busy time to walk around our green spaces and tell us about some of the interesting properties of our native flora and forna.  She will share folklore, medicinal properties and olden day uses.  You can collect grasses of your choice and create an artistic photosynthesis print with Ann who we met at a recent event at Winterbourne Gardens.    We have been working on our wild flower meadow and will be putting on our blog spot our recent survey of the River Rea Meadow.  This was supported by Nature Improvement Area scheme who are part of the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust.

Friday 11 July 10.30am Upper Civic Garden Commemorative Shrub Bed Planting
We will begin planting our commemorative flower bed, recognising those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in past conflict and look towards a peaceful future.  We have chosen red and white planting to represent this, red representing sacrifice and white peace.  You are welcome to join us and if you wish to bring a poem to read or bring your message.  We hope to finish at 12.30am,  If its dry we will picnic in the park if not we will retire to The Camp.    James from Birmingham City Council will join us at 11 am for a tree survey - you may have noticed that some of pine trees are looking a little poorly and may need some attention.  

Saturday 12 July 10am  At Kings Norton Village Festival 2014 
We shall have stall at Kings Norton Festival where we will discuss future plans, make a silk poppy to put in the commemorative bed and write messages of peace to hang in our orchard.   Our consultation for wetland will be resurrected as we have new hopes for landfill funding - currently we are assessing where best to place our bid to purchase a board walk and dipping platform, so long as the NIA will still fund the scrape and wetland vegetation. 

Friday 18 July 11am Big Balsam Bash begins
Balsam picking or strimming along the canal feeder begins and will continue through the summer look out for Saturday work.  It's really easy to pull out, stamp on and pile up. It all sounds extremely unfair but it is necessary because balsam is invasive it takes up all the space preventing native vegetation and once it dies away leaves gaps which contribute to the erosion of the bank.   Once we get started we cant stop...who knows we may see water!   TVC are coming for a site visit to look at where we could plant some more edibles and if they could offer us conservation support.  

Friday 25 July Kings Norton Village Festival 2015 Planning Meeting
We will  meet with KNHistory Society, Friends of Historic Kings Norton and Worcester Birmingham & Droitwich Canal Society to continue planning the bicentenary celebrations of the completion of the canal.   200 years ago is really where modern Kings Norton began.   We are hoping all local groups, schools and organisations will wish to be involved for the boating festival which will take place over weekend of 10-12 July 2015.  Also really hope Billy Whizz and other exciting boats will moor up - history, music, ales, nature, arts, sports and more. You can help


Friday Aug 1
Activities with Rangers to be agreed so look out for a poster in the notice board.  Probably include Balsam Bashing too and we may offer Waterside Care and FIN too. 

Everyone is being asked to light a candle, safely, in their homes on this evening as part of a candlelit vigil in commemoration of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in WW1 This is day in history when Britain declared war on Germany, because Germany did not respect Belgium’s neutrality as it implemented the Schlieffen Plan, a plan to march through and take what it believed was a weekend France – it do so killing thousands of civilians and destroying the country.   Most historians conclude Great Britain had no choice however, the length and tactics employed caused the death of hundreds and thousands is a subject for debate. We must recognise that we knew what to take place and those making decisions then did not.

Friday 15 August and Saturday16
We have rangers with us and likelihood is if not too late we balsam bash, if it is we have other activities – may start earlier than 11am

Saturday 23 August
11am summer games, led by rangers and friends and transported to Millennium Fields Green Trust

Saturday 30 August
We are hoping to celebrate international bat night somehow, possibly with a walk or a survey as part of the UK wide bat study which is being run because bats are so near extinction.

Friday 5 Sept EARLIER TIME OF 10.30am
Activities in the park Also Waterside Care and FIN testing. Also tidying up the lower shrub beds and the peace garden in the upper civic area. 

Saturday 20 September 11am
Friends of Kings Norton Park Committee meeting at Kings Norton Library at 11am.  We invite anyone who wants to discuss how to get involved to come along. Bring your ideas for the Autumn and Winter months. 

Then every first Friday in the month at 10.30am - always something to do in the Park.  

Please check the noticeboard periodically and the BlogSpot which will be updated soon and give us a tweet – nice to hear about your fun in the park and comments  

If the weather is very wet please check twitter before setting out. 

HAVE A GREAT SUMMER and dont forget to contact us!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Friends Of Kings Norton Park 
Social AGM Gathering  on Friday 13 June 7pm at KN Bowling Club Wychall Lane 
We aren’t superstitious we know you’ll have a great time!

We are inviting you to our AGM social gathering

We are transforming our AGM into an annual social gathering so we have done the business in record time, we will have a talk about Bees from Jan of Birmingham Bees, listen to music from the talented Ingrid (accordion) and Tim Martin (ukulele) whom we are very lucky to have joining us.   Then we can break for fish & chips, chatting and a bit of quiz also invited Sue Amey, Birmingham Constituency Parks Manager N&E&SO, the Lickey Hills Ranger and Lee Copplestone (Waterside Care) will be there to chat to too.

Arrive from 7pm on Friday 13 June 2015 at Kings Norton Bowling Club (who kindly provided us with a free room - a big thank you) which is family friendly so bring partners, friends and children.  If you are travelling from the Westhill Road (runs along the eastside of Kings Norton Park) KNBC is about 5 minutes along Wychall Lane, on the left hand side just before junction with The Fairway.

Just a minute to tell you what we have been doing
Our team of activists have been busy and will tell you in ‘Just a minute’ slots some of things we have or are doing – you can approach them to find out a little more throughout the evening and if you are inspired to join in leave your contact details. .
Our AGM will elect officers and the 2015 committee and would welcome more people to grow our activity base.  You can email us at  
beforehand and we will call you for a chat or let us know at the AGM.  Our aim in a nutshell is to help improve, protect, and to increase access and enjoyment in our green spaces (Park & Playing Fields, including canal side).

We are a voluntary group without funding so will be scanning charity and trusts websites to search for funding for the type of things we wish to deliver – maybe your employer or organisation might like to support us or you could apply to a patron?   Sharing in this way is both rewarding and good fun, you do as much or as little as you want, and anything is something and that something is usually very positive.  Of course if you can’t contribute in any other way but wish to make a small donation this would be gratefully received. 

Notably in 2013/14 we were extremely fortunate to receive a Big Lottery Grant which has helped install new parks furniture (bins, picnic benches and a noticeboard) as well as develop our wildflower meadow through NIA, plant trees with local schools and the Deutsch Bank with Birmingham Trees for Life, host a wild bird display at our open day event and enhance the lower civic garden bed after the severe weather withered the original planting.   A big thank you to all of those involved it has been productive and entertaining.  

Water part of the course!

2014/15 has started off a bit wet in more ways than one, we have been Freshwater Invertebrate Network surveying in the River Rea – part of a scheme to test the quality of the Rea from its source, and so far the results have been very pleasing, with medium quality water indicative by fish finds.  Not wishing to leave the W&BD canal feeder and Lint Brook out, we have covered testing their water quality through TTAP a series of scientific measures – Temperature, Turbidity, Ammonia and PH, results show we have good results supported by Waterside Care.

We shall continue testing water,  surveying our meadow and also be included in a in a bat survey which is part of the Brum Bats wider survey to monitor whether or not the bat population has reversed their decline from dangerously low levels.  

Exciting this afloat in 2015

There is exciting news on the horizon for 2015 when we come together with the Worcester Birmingham and Drotiwich Canal Society, Kings Norton History Society and Historic Kings Norton Green, and other local community groups and organisations to deliver a bi-centenary celebration (that’s 200 year’s) of the completion of the Worcester Birmingham & Drotiwich Canal.  Activities will take place on the Green, the Park/Playing Fields and the canal side during the weekend of the Kings Norton Village Festival 2015.  

We hope to have things going on over the whole weekend of 10-12 July 2015 - experience boats, music, a bar, community activities, bees, bats, donkey’s, history, bowls, croquet, other sports, etc.  Our aim is encourage local employers, charities and community groups to contribute by putting on activity or sponsoring one – do you know anyone who could deliver an activity, bring something interesting along, or provide a grant?  Please do get in touch.   There is a twitter account @KNVF2015 an email and soon to be a blogspot

See you Friday 13 June for the Friends Of Kings Norton Park Social AGM Gathering
We aren’t superstitious we know you’ll have a great time!

Follow the Friends of Kings Norton Park @kingsnortonpark

more photos to follow... sorry its sunny outside!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Walk Talk Stay Play - a guided walk and/or activity in the Park

Fancy a walk in our beautiful Kings Norton natural corridor ?Friday 25 April  11am

Photo by Lynn Horsnett Bee in KN Wild Flower Meadow

Meet on the Green outside St Nicolas Place at 11am

This is a FREE event lead by local Friends groups

Please wear suitable shoes fit for the Park and mud tracks of the nature reserve.  The first half of the walk is accessible by wheels.   Tired legs can stay and/or play in the pleasant surroundings of Kings Norton Park whilst others complete the more rugged terrain of the nature reserve. 

We finish back at the Green about 1pm for refreshments in the Old Grammar School if you can’t make the stairs you are welcome to use the cafĂ© in St Nicolas Place.
We shall be discussing local history, share your stories and knowledge, looking at nature and having a quiz along the way and sharing a cuppa and snack afterwards.

The circular route, I guess is around 2.5 miles long and we think it will take us a couple of hours, we shall walk
The Plumbers Arms M&B was demolished (also lost was The Bell) to build larger pubs with gardens and family rooms
·         The Green – St Nicolas Place
·         Kings Norton Playing Fields
·         Canal side
·         Kings Norton Park
·         Kings Norton Nature Reserve
·         Back to Green – Old Grammar School

You can complete the walk or pop back to the Park at any point.

Nothing too strenuous or taxing, some stuff you might not know about our past and a bit of fun in a very lovely part of the Kings Norton ward for the Easter holidays - fingers crossed for dry weather.
Here's a couple of  Easter jokes to get the kids warmed up!
How does the Easter Bunny stay fit?   Egg-xercise!
What do you call a rabbit that tells good jokes? A  funny bunny!
Bring your own jokes and parents!

Happy Easter Everyone!

More information:
Kings Norton Green around 1909