Monday 28 December 2009

December Watch Meeting

Thankyou to everyone who came to the last Watch meeting, especially Steve Harris and his wonderful friend Eric the Barn Owl. It was a fantastic way for me to end my time as Watch leader, as everyone was captivated by Eric and fascinated by dissecting the owl pellets to reveal the bones of the small mammals that had been caught as food.

The star attraction, Eric...

Investigating the owl pellets...

Thankyou to everyone for the lovely flowers and other gifts but most of all thankyou to anyone who came to a Watch meeting over the last 10 years.

As always thanks to Sue and Margaret for the photographs.

Matt, Margaret and Sue would be willing to carry on running the Watch group BUT WE NEED A NEW LEADER. If you are interested, please email us for more information.

Saturday 19 December 2009

New Ferry Butterfly Park petition download

If anyone would like to collect signatures to support the campaign to keep New Ferry Butterfly Park open, you can now download a form and a poster to print yourself.

Forms need to be returned to 5 Dearnford Avenue, Bromborough, Wirral, CH62 6DX by January 8th.

Friday 18 December 2009

New Ferry Butterfly Park campaign update

We are delighted at the support we have received for the Butterfly Park over the last week. On Monday night, Cllr Steve Niblock was able to present a paper petition of 735 signatures to Wirral Borough Council - the first tranche, with more to come. An e-petition has topped 1300 people already.

Both petitions are still open. Find the paper one at Ben Chapman's constituency office and Andy's Aquatics in New Ferry, and the e-petition at

Hilary Ash and Michelle Stamp, who were collecting signatures outside the Farmers Market last Saturday, said "It was heart-warming how many people were eager to sign the petition. Thanks to excellent publicity from the local press, most people already knew about the campaign. We had so many supportive comments, it made up for standing in the cold!"

The Butterfly Park's monthly workday went ahead as normal last Sunday, mowing grass and coppicing hazel. The regular volunteers were joined by two Chinese students from Liverpool University, who much enjoyed themselves helping the wildlife.

Brock plc, who have ordered the closure of the Park by the end of January 2010, still refuse to comment.

Did you know?

New Ferry Butterfly Park supports:
  • 18 species of butterfly breeding on site, plus another 8 recorded as visitors
  • 60+ species of moth
  • 36 species of spider, 3 of them rare in Cheshire (it's all right, most of them hide in the vegetation and don't frighten visitors)
  • All 6 widespread species of bumble bee
  • 5 species of shieldbug including a blue one which is rare in Cheshire
  • At least 9 species of hoverfly
  • 2 ponds with smooth newts and frogs, and a good collection of water invertebrates, including dragonflies and damselflies
  • Loads of minibeasts which haven't been identified yet, especially beetles, true flies and solitary wasps

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Butterfly Park petition website

There was a fault with the petition website over the weekend. This glitch has now been repaired so if anyone was unable to sign, please have another go...

Tuesday 8 December 2009

New Ferry Butterfly Park campaign update

Hilary and and Linda were interviewed on Tony Snell's show on Radio Merseyside this morning.
You can listen again on the BBC iPlayer until Tuesday 15th December.
There is discussion about the park at 50 minutes and the interview itself is 1 hour 42 minutes into the programme.

Hilary and the Butterfly Park are now starring on You Tube.

If you haven't already signed the e-petition, please take a few moments to do so.

Monday 7 December 2009

Nature Reserve Threatened With Closure - We Need Your Help

New Ferry Butterfly Park, the community-run nature reserve next to Bebington Station, is threatened with closure. Brock plc have told the Cheshire Wildlife Trust (CWT), which holds the lease, to vacate the Park by the end of January 2010, and have refused repeated offers by CWT to buy it. The Park site, already a nature reserve and Site of Biological Importance, was sold at auction in 1997, when British Rail was told by the then Government to sell much of its land.

The Butterfly Park is one of the best butterfly sites in Cheshire, and also home to many other mini-beasts such as spiders, moths, bumble bees, grasshoppers, shield bugs, woodlice, snails and hoverflies. It is used for education and training, from infant schoolchildren up to post-graduate professionals, as well as quiet recreation and enjoyment of wildlife. Its unusual management has featured in national scientific journals.

Hilary Ash, one of its management team and Hon Conservation Officer for Wirral Wildlife, says "There is simply no equivalent site in Wirral or Cheshire. Its ecology is unique, which is why Cheshire Wildlife Trust leased it in 1993. It is also in the urban area, with excellent public transport access, more than 2000 schoolchildren within walking distance, and in an area with little natural open space. It will be a huge loss to people and wildlife if it is destroyed."

Ben Chapman, MP for Wirral South, who has often visited the Park, said “The Butterfly Park is a vital asset to New Ferry. Many local schools, societies and other organisations have visited and benefited from its presence. The Park Committee has put in a great deal of effort over the years to regenerate what was essentially a useless piece of land into a thriving urban nature reserve. The conservation work of Wirral Wildlife has also recently been recognised at a Downing Street Reception. I am very disappointed that the landowners have expressed their desire to close it and I very much hope we can reverse this decision”.

New Ferry Councillor Steve Niblock said “It is a disgrace that the future of the Park is under threat. This gem in New Ferry must be preserved at all costs. It is sad that the owners will not sell the land to the dedicated volunteers that manage the park. I am asking that the community rally round and sign the petition to save the park.

I have been pushing the Council to do all in its powers to help keep this oasis of wildlife for the people of New Ferry and the rest of Wirral. To help with this please sign the petition.”
Please write to your councillor (the local ones are Bob Moon, Alan Taylor and Steve Niblock) at Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey, CH44 8ED asking Wirral Council to use all measures in its power to save the Park. Or sign the petition to be found around New Ferry including at the Farmers' Market on 12 December and the constituency office of Ben Chapman MP. The Park is normally closed for the winter, because the mini-beasts are in hibernation and we need to get management work done. However it will be open on Sundays 13 December and 10th January and possibly other times - contact Hilary on 327 5923 or Paul on 645 8937, or check the website at We are at the top of the access road to Bebington station car park, off Bebington Road between Aldi and the railway bridge. Look for the brown tourist sign, open when we are.
Mayor Peter Johnson opening a new interpretive board, April 2007

More pictures can be found at: