Friday, December 12, 2014

Get involved with our canal festival in Kings Norton Playing Fields in 2015

Planning is under way to deliver a canal festival in 2015

We are really excited about being part of a joint working group to deliver a canal festival during the weekend of Friday 10-12 July 2015 for the Kings Norton Village Festival in 2015.

This will celebrate 200 years of the completion of the Birmingham to Worcester canal, which begins at Gas Street Basin and flows into the River Severn providing a trading route via Bristol to the markets in the south of England and overseas.  

We hope the boating fraternity will pay us a visit and book a mooring through our harbour masters (info out soon!) and our community groups, schools, local businesses and friends will get put on events and take part in what looks like a fun weekend.

From fair rides, to environment groups, bars, music, dancing, art and crafts... and on the Sunday afternoon a dry boat race.  

Nice Face, (No) Shame about the Boat Race!

You create a boat from whatever materials shape size or design you desire you, inject humour and good spirit and then its all aboard for dry race.  Here are a few images of dry boat races in Australia where the tradition which is sweeping the national like a tidal way.   This could be really great fun and we want all groups to create a boat and join us for the Kings Norton dash.   You can have as large crew or sail around the park single handed, it is up to you, me hearties!  

Inside the playing fields a stage stage bar and marquees will be erected with the support of the canal society.  There will be a varitey of interesting and fun stalls with activities in the playing fields, a farmers market, crafts and events on the Saturday morning on the Green and throughout things happening along the canal side. 

Please support in whatever way you can to make this an event to remember in the nicest possible way. 

Drop us an email if you want to find out more and come along.


Follow  @kingsnortonpark

Follow @KNVF2015

A Great Achievement - replacing our lost tree avenue

Naturally Seated and Ready to Plant

Children from Kings Norton Primary School, pictured below, are naturally seated and ready to plant our new six standard giant redwoods.  You may recall we recently lost our original fir tree avenue.   We successfully managed to source funding from Birmingham Trees for Life for four replacement standard tress and Birmingham City trees department kindly funded two additional trees.

These six trees create one side of our avenue, which will run upwards along Colle Lane, the original historic walk up through fields which now form our park.  The lane once ran from the River Rea (known as the Cole in Angelo Saxon times) from a crossing from the former Kings Norton manorial mill, now the BP garage, and led to the north of historic St Nicolas Church.   Along the remaining part of the lane was planted a line of fir trees designed as a feature to enhance the experience of walking up and viewing the church.   The planting of the replacement new trees is a proud and historic moment for our park.

A very big thank you to everyone who took part in the vision, planning and planting on what was a very cold December day in 2014.

Kings Norton Primary School Children and Friends of KNPark  naturally seated receiving a health and safety talk

So tell me how old was this tree?

Fascinated children from Kings Norton Primary and Junior School being shown by a trees for life representative how to determine how old a tree is - sadly the best estimate is once the tree is felled by counting the rings inside the trunk.   Did you know these fir trees were part of the Kings Norton's original planting scheme.  Kings Norton Park dates back to 1924 and was a gift from the then embryonic Birmingham Civic Society and were possibly paid for our of monies donated by George and Elizabeth Cadbury who donated approximately £850 to landscape the park in the then popular more formal and ornate style.

The rings on this fir tree show it is approximately 90 years of age on felling - a sad loss but glorious in its day

Together we can achieve big things!

Children share in the filling in of soil around the new standard redwoods holes had been prepared by Birmingham City Council tree officers and rangers.    The work was strenuous but very rewarding for the children the soil is Merica Mud which is natural clay weighted with the rain of the last 3 previous days.   The timing appropriately added a sense of magic and magnitude as the children felt they were planting Christmas fir trees.   Hopefully, these trees will prosper into glorious redwood avenue and feature in the Park memories of local children as well as their children's children.

Heavy Mercian Mud (Clay) and top soil loaded with rainwater made the work strenuously rewarding
Mom's give a helping foot and children admire the roots and worms!

Protecting against adverse conditions

Secret wellie weapons ensure the soil is compact enough to hold the trees upright.  The trees have now been supported by stakes and protected by mess.   We hope that you help to protect our trees.  If you do see any adverse behaviour or damage due to weather conditions please do notify the appropriate authority.   Thank you!

Secret Wellie Weapons firm in the new trees

Special thank you's

A special thank you to James Gibbs Arboretum Officer Birmingham City Council,  Birmingham Trees for Life, our Lickey Hub Rangers,  Kings Norton Primary School and Friends of Kings of Norton Park .   Together we can make special things happen. 

Hopefully in 2015 a further 6 trees will be planted to complete this avenue and will be given the knowledge and skills to look after these trees.  We are soon to visit historic Brandwood Cemetery which has examples of redwoods to allow us to experience the atmosphere our avenue will create once it is fully established.

More pictures from Birmingham Trees for Life on the web at

Together we can achieve big things!

If you wish to become involved our activities in any shape or form, please do not hesitate to contact us


Follow @kingsnortonpark


Friday, December 5, 2014



As we advised sometime ago, unfortunately our historic avenue of Scots Pine Trees has failed due to old age.  We are extremely saddened by this but have found a wonderful solution.  A new avenue of redwoods will take their place!

These trees were part of the original planting scheme of some 90 years ago and the extreme weather conditions of recent years’ has not helped them.  The Council surveyed all the trees in our park and found some of them in need of  felling and others, less dramatically,  in need of  the removal of dead wood.   Many are now looking a lot healthier giving them a chance to prosper in the future. 

Our  Friends group successfully applied to Birmingham Trees for Life to help replace the dead Scots Pine trees and they agreed to fund six standard trees.  Birmingham City Council tree officers (especially James, thank you!) kindly sourced funding for an additional six trees to complete a spectacular twelve tree avenue of redwoods (Sequoia Giganteum)  which will lead up to the aspect of the historic St Nicholas Church .   Many thanks to everyone involved in achieving this solution.   

The old Scots Pine trees have now been  felled and some of their trunks left on site providing us with an opportunity to organise funding for bench carvings.   The trunks will be moved to their new spots sometime after Christmas, however the actual carvings may take a little longer.  Please email your ideas for carvings, access to funding and contacts details of artists to us.  

The first six SG’s will be planted on  Thursday 11  December 2014  by  Kings Norton J&I, Birmingham City Council and some of the Friends of Kings Norton Park.  A further six trees will be planted during 2015.
Once these are planted we appeal to you to help us to care for and protect this new avenue of  trees.  Please report any adverse conditions you may find the trees in or any poor treatment of them appropriately. 

To comment or find out more about being involved in our group please contact us at
Email  or  Tweet @kingsnortonpark 

December 2014 

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.