Category Archives: Ecology

What’s happening at Chadkirk this weekend?

Bird and Bat Box Making

Saturday 9th September
1-30 pm until 4pm
Price: £6 per box

All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Please bring your own hammer.
Other materials provided by members of the team.
It’s a drop in activity, so no booking required.

B+B at Chadkirk 9th September

That’s B+B for bats and birds.
Here’s your chance to build new homes for wildlife. This weekend. On 9th September

Stage 1: Pick up the flatpack

Stage2: The finished product

Friends will be there to help as you build your own box (or boxes).
The design for bat boxes is slightly different from those for birds. Often visitors like to make one for bats and one for birds.

A bird box is completed by a proud young craftsman:

This visitor is keen to add a home for bats and birds, making two boxes during the afternoon, ably assisted by the Senior Warden.

A bat box made by a father and daughter team out in the sunshine by the Chapel:

The bird boxes have small round entrance holes and the most likely occupants will be blue tits. During the winter family groups, perhaps with as many as 20 birds, gather together in the boxes to keep warm. This will help more of them survive the cold. In the spring most of these survivors will find a new place to nest. But if the owners of the new bird boxes are lucky, a pair will breed and bring up their brood in the box.

In comparison, bat boxes are of slightly different design. The bats land on the underside and then walk into the box through a gap. Bats make use of the box at different times of the year. Although any bats looking for a roost in the autumn may use the box now, it is more likely that they will wait until the spring. During the winter bats need more shelter and would look for some where offering more protection from the lowest temperatures – perhaps in a barn or a cave.

For visitors building a brand new bat box, it might be the spring time before bats move in. Then female bats will be looking for a roost to give birth to their young, usually one offspring to each female. All bats are protected species, so once there is evidence that a bat is using the box, it cannot be opened and the bats cannot be disturbed. This may help offset all the roosts that have been lost as people reduce habitats and roosts.

We look forward to hearing about any future inhabitants of the new boxes. Even better, perhaps, photos to share on the blog.

Bird and Bat Box Making on Saturday 9th September 2017

Saturday 9th September
1.30pm until 4pm.
Price: £6 per box.

All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Please bring your own hammer. Other materials provided by our team.
No need to book, just drop in.

Homes for wildlife

Make something new.
Provide a home for wildlife.
Have fun!

Bats and birds need places to nest and roost.
And you can do a little something to provide them.

Here’s the link to previous posts about this annual event at Chadkirk.
In the Chapel (if weather wet) or outside in the sunshine and fresh air.
People of all ages welcome. Making: by young ‘uns. With assistance from adults and Friends.

Bird and Bat Box making by the Chapel, Chadkirk.
Photo: Artemisia

One of each – bat box and bird box. Each with a different entrance.
Photo: Artemisia

New Bat Box.
Proud owner/maker.
Photo: Artemisia

Saturday 9th September
1.30pm until 4pm.
Price: £6 per box.

All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Please bring your own hammer. Other materials provided by our team.
No need to book, just drop in.

B+B at Chadkirk

Autumn 2015

As the days slip and the light changes, autumnal hues are starting to flush the trees in the woods. Birds which are summer migrants have moved on and native birds feed on berries and hips, making the most of this time of plenty.

At Chadkirk, as elsewhere, these glimpses of the connections between all things can bring a deep sense of pleasure and these delights are enjoyed by visitors, many of them strolling round Chadkirk daily, others visiting at weekends, some more occasional visitors, coming to the Chapel, Walled Garden, woodland walks and country park for some of the organised events.

Our calendar of events follows the rhythm of the seasons and reflects the community and the environment.

On Saturday 12th September we had our annual bird and bat box making event. This year drenching drizzle drove us inside. Snug in Chadkirk Chapel, visitors were ably assisted by John, who helped them to construct winter homes for bats. The nesting boxes for the birds will be ready when for small birds when spring arrives. This is an ideal opportunity for people young and old to learn about the life cycles of these animals from some-one who knows. Fascinating and fun.

Please be aware that this is our only bird and bat box day this year.

If you missed this year’s event, here’s a glimpse of some of the activity from recent years.

Bird and Bat Box making by the Chapel, Chadkirk. Photo: Artemisia

Bird and Bat Box making by the Chapel, Chadkirk.
Photo: Artemisia

The team of father and daughter finish their bat box       Photo: Artemisia

September’s here again…

Yesterday the team of gardening volunteers were at Chadkirk. A delightful few hours, in fine company, beautiful surroundings, fresh air and gentle sunshine.

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Pulling out brambles, weeding and pruning, gentle activity and time for a chat and a cuppa (and Pat’s home made biscuits). The first Saturday of every month is always a gardening afternoon at Chadkirk. The time spent is well rewarded, for this time and the gardening morning on the third Thursday of the month, are the times when the volunteers do plenty of good work so that the gardens at Chadkirk flourish.

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If you like pottering in the garden and would enjoy time in the gardens at Chadkirk, why not join us? Spend as much time as suits you, minutes or hours, on both or either of the gardening days each month. Our team is a mixed bunch. Some know more about gardening than others. Together we can usually decide if the plant is a weed or not. Just ask. It’s a team effort!

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This September one of the most beautiful features in the Walled Garden is the bed of annuals. It’s stunning. In Saturday’s sunshine, the glorious flowers attracted some of our honey bees from the nearby hives.

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In the gardens and meadows, woodlands and ponds, there is a rich variety of flora and fauna. The plants provide food for insects and the insects provide food for the birds and the bats. And if it’s birds and bats that you are interested in you may want to build your own bird or bat box. Or maybe both. If so, join us next weekend for our annual bird and bat box making afternoon.

Bird and Bat Box making with expert guidance from John Rowlands
Saturday 12th September 2015
1-30 – 4pm.

There is a small charge for materials.
Please bring your own hammer.
We’ll be outside the chapel when the weather’s fine.

Local democracy

Recent elections have seen a change in the political landscape both locally and nationally. Locally that means that the individual members of the Werneth Area Committee have changed.

For the recently elected councillors, they will be required to make decisions on a range of issues – including the future of Chadkirk Country Park.

The council officer responsible for gathering information and views about recent proposals is in the midst of a consultation process.

It has been decided that given the change in personnel on the committee, there is a need to ensure that councillors learn something of the landscape and views of different user groups so that they can evaluate the plans to rescind the proposal for a bridleway at Chadkirk.

As a result, I understand that the matter is unlikely to come before the first meeting of the Werneth Area Committee since the elections. This means that the matter will not be on the agenda for the meeting on Monday 8th June.

The Chair of the Friends of Chadkirk was informed of this in the last few days. At the time of going to press with this item, there is no information about a new date for the proposal to come before the committee. However, it remains true that elected representatives will be called upon to make a balanced decision in the interests of all local people and users of the Country Park and Estate, as well as the clearly defined conservation goals of Chadkirk.

Democracy in Stockport – latest on the bridleway

Click to access Werneth%20Progress.pdf

It is anticipated that a report will be submitted to the meeting of the Werneth Area Committee on 8 June 2015.

Stockport’s website suggests that the report will be available before the meeting, perhaps a week before the report is considered by the Committee. It seems that the intention is that interested parties, keen to see how any new proposals affect them, will be able to view the report on-line on June 1st. This gives a week to consider and raise questions with local decision makers.

As in the previous meeting, questions can be submitted to the Werneth Area Committee Meeting about any new plans for a bridleway at Chadkirk.

Looking closely…

Early May 2015 has brought a mixed bag of weather. However for those fortunate enough to be able to visit Chadkirk on Bank Holiday Monday, there was plenty of pleasant sunshine and an opportunity to enjoy Chadkirk at a lovely time of the year.

Visitors to the Walled Garden

Visitors to the Walled Garden

In the Walled Garden, a family from Macclesfield were delighted to find the Chapel and Walled Gardens, hidden away within a short distance of a busy main road. Seats in the sun, in a beautiful sheltered place of tranquility gave them an ideal spot to sit and stare.

Time to sit and stare?

Time to sit and stare?

Like many of the visitors, they were surprised to learn that these beautiful gardens are largely maintained by volunteers.A small team of gardeners from the Friends of Chadkirk had been in the gardens on Saturday. For those in the know there were telltale signs of the work that they had done.

The Herb Beds, Walled Garden, Chadkirk

The Herb Beds, Walled Garden, Chadkirk

The herb beds had been weeded, and a seedbed prepared for the annual plants and flowers. In other areas of the garden, borders had been top dressed with compost and well-rotted manure so that plants can flourish, allowing the vibrant growth and colourful displays of flowers which give so much pleasure to visitors in the months ahead.

After some TLC from the Friends of Chadkirk volunteer gardening team.

After some TLC from the Friends of Chadkirk volunteer gardening team.

further evidence

further evidence

A discerning eye might also spot signs, not just of the care of the gardening team, but also of the cooperation between volunteers and the local authority. Not that you need look too hard…

evidence of cooperation

evidence of cooperation

These bags , clustered by the gate from the gardens into the lane, are just a temporary feature. Soon, someone from the local authority will pick them up and take the material away for re-cycling. In addition, employees of Solutions SK, will from time to time mow the lawns.

Together we create a special place. And for those with time to sit and stare, there’s also an opportunity to observe and enjoy some of the biodiversity which Chadkirk supports. One of the herb beds is frothing with forget-me-not flowers.These nourish and feed butterflies and honey bees.

Food for bees and butterflies

Food for bees and butterflies

Honey bee feeds on forget-me-not flower

Holly Blue?

Holly Blue?

Holly Blue feeding on forget-me-not flowers

Looking closely when you visit…what will you see?

March meeting

Many of the joys at Chadkirk come with watching the seasons unfold.
And many of the rewards of being a Friend of Chadkirk are in knowing you’ve done something to allow people to enjoy so much more here, throughout the year.

For gardening volunteers, there’s the joy of the gardening and then the satisfaction of contributing to this unique location’s special attractions. But also there’s the awareness that the garden brings joy to so many of the visitors. For others, they make an invaluable contribution when it comes to organising and taking part in the events we plan. The calendar of events at Chadkirk, in their way, celebrate the passing seasons too.

Our March meeting is the AGM. While it is a business like meeting, it is also cheery (this time there was chocolate cake too!) and it gives us a chance to see all that there is to celebrate at Chadkirk.

We started by thanking all those who had enjoyed some shelter from the weather a week ago. On the first day of spring (meteorologically speaking!), our St Chad’s Day celebration involved sharing cream scones in the chapel. Delicious and convivial. And another £50 raised towards the upkeep of Chadkirk. These funds will contribute to maintaining our gardens and enhancing the environment, as well as offering social events for visitors and the local community.

On Saturday 7th March, an improvement in the weather and a chance for our team of gardening volunteers to continue preparing the Walled Garden for a spring and summer of growth. The third Thursday of the month – on 19th March- volunteers will be continuing this work.

Other activities were discussed at the AGM as we considered the organisation of our Easter Egg Hunt and thought ahead to Well Dressing for the festival.

Friends of Chadkirk also have the opportunity to get involved in active conservation work. In May and July, there’s the possibility for Friends to learn more about our meadowlands here at Chadkirk. As part of the Coronation Meadows project, volunteers will be learning to identify plant species so that they can collect seeds and grow new plants. This will enable the benefits of the rich biodiversity of Chadkirk’s Coronation Meadow to be shared with other sites in the area.

Being able to make a difference at a local level, and knowing that others get pleasure from what you do, is deeply satisfying. It might not be the reason I signed up and joined the Friends group, yet it is a very real – if unforeseen- benefit.