May 2011

Spring fair Newsletter

Spring Country Side Fair 2011 – Cannon Hill News

40 Years of Spring Festivals in Cannon Hill Park 1971- 2011

Many local families still remember the Tulips and the Dutch Windmill created for the 1970s Festival, and the creation of Birmingham Nature Centre shortly after the Midlands Arts Centre opened in Cannon Hill Park. * You’ll find the Spring Fair this year by the Nature Centre and new Natural Adventure Play area, and with lots of activities going on in the City Park and Country Side areas along the River Rea down to Stirchley. Plus ‘Reel Archive’ film showings of us then – back in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

*Storytelling Tent              * Arts and Nature Discovery zone

Record your own live weather forecast, take part in exciting weather experiments, observe a professional weather station, and make a small storm tornado.

The OPAL Weather Roadshow is your chance to explore the exciting science of climate and weather. There are lots of activities and demonstrations to suit all ages and you’ll also be able to talk with professional meteorologists and OPAL scientists.


The park's newest resident

The parks newest resident has just been spotted in the park. It is a small brown deer that was seen by a local resident (Helen) who was walking her dog. She watched it for 5 or so minutes while it was grazing in the area of former prefab housing, adjacent to the health centre on Dad’s Lane. Given the description it is likely to be Muntjac Deer. These are surprisingly common around the city, and all though not native, they do not cause a lot of damage. In high numbers they are a pest to woodlands though.

The probably species involved, Reeves Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi), was introduced into the UK in Woburn Safari Park in 1926. It is now found everywhere and is thought to be the commonest species in England, recently extending its range up to the Scottish borders and into Wales. They are surprising confiding species and not too concerned by humans. Keep your eyes peeled.

A Muntjac deer (copyright Pratheepps) used under the Wiki-images license.

A flood Walk down the Rea

Last Sunday saw the Friends River Rea flood walk. Thanks to all those who attended and made it such as successful event!

Here are the notes and links distributed as part of the pack materials handed out by Tony:


Notes/Links for a ‘Flood River Walk along the Rea’
Cannon Hill – Selly Park – Moor Green – Stirchley

‘Mapping the Country Side of the Rea Linear Park’ is a local heritage project of Cannon Hill Park Neighbourhood Friends, OPAL and partners.

Contact for Project: Tony Fox, 0121-449 6024

'A Lost Landscape' - Mathew Boulton's love of Birmingham Heath - between the growing town and his factory by Soho Pool in Handsworth. (written 2009 by Shena Mason, Val Loggie and Phillida Ballard)
'Sexing the Plants' - article by Jenny Uglow, in The Guardian 2002, with a reappraisal of Erasmus Darwin who brought Natural History science studies to Birmingham Lunar Society.
'Curlew Country' - Staffordshire Blog web site following Local Heritage Lottery Project about the Staffs Moorland habitat and this bird. 
Find Wild Flowers celebrated in different counties of England – and why the Foxglove is linked to Birmingham. But how many native flowers are we losing?
Our beloved Cannon Hill Peoples Park web site - paths of local Discovery and Observation (including seasonal Wildlife Diary and blog 2008-2011 >

The beloved River Rea, with Rea Valley Interactive Map and Heritage Trail starting at Cannon Hill Park. See Resouces> Environmental plant archaeology from Longbridge to the Bull Ring.

OPAL Open Air natural Labs - with neighbourhood and national partners Big Lottery 2008-12 and Scientist projects including local Birds, Bees and Weather. See OPAL in Peoples Park 31 May–5 June.
iSpot - OPAL Biodiversity Survey: have you spotted? what other type of support is good for you, and seasonal observations? Feedback here and to our Peoples Wildlife website Blog -

Description of the new Park in Birkenhead (1840) designed by Joseph Paxton, with apprentice John Gibson, by Frederick Olmsted an American Farmer. Olmsted went on to design Central Park New York, while John Gibson designed Battersea Park(1860) & Cannon Hill Park (1873).;cc=moa;idno=ajq8991.0001.001;view=image;seq=77;size=75;page=root
Kings Norton and Northfield Urban District History - prior to Bham Boundary Extension 1911 three quarters of Cannon Hill Park land was in Worcestershire.'s_Norton_and_Northfield_Urban_District
History of Cannon Hill Fields, and Map of 1921 showing Moor Green Mill and Mill Race coming off the river Rea
Moor Green Forge and Mill from Tudor times, also known as Farmons Mill
Floods in Selly Park South and Pebble Mill Fields - taken by Residents Flood Action Group

Youtube Video of Floods in Stirchley, 6 Sept 2008
Edible Foraging Youtube video with Alys Fowler along Moor Green and Selly Park river banks

Style of Prefab Houses erected beside the Rea in Moor Green and Hazelwell 1944
Learning more about Birmingham Prefab houses and building science -
Vimeo of Mapping the Country Side Project, Jan 2011, with residents interviews
Dogpool and Ten Acres History
Hogweed, invasive plant
Wild Angelika, grown on local allotments
Bumblebee Conservation, a Heritage Lottery funded Community Project. (see also OPAL Buzz)
Media Archive for Central England, MACE holds local history movies –
* Shows of local films archive at Spring Country Side Fair 4-5 June, Cannon Hill Peoples Park

Univ of Birmingham VISTA Research – GIS Projects including Climate Change

Friends of Hazelwell Park, Birds Survey Jan 2011 and Fruit Tree Planting

Research ongoing – with your support and involvement.