Monday 29 August 2022

Wirral's Wild 50: September Worksheets

Here are the Wirral's Wild 50 activity sheets for September. Take a look at the autumn leaves, cones, berries, nuts and fruits.

September activities and resources
September activities and resources

Things to do in September

● Learn to identify trees from their leaves

● Find out why trees have cones, berries, nuts and fruits like apples

● Find a spider’s web and learn about spider silk

● Discover how bats catch their prey

● Find an acorn and plant it in a pot of soil outdoors

Look for seeds on an autumn walk and made a bat bookmark
Look for seeds on an autumn walk and made a bat bookmark


1. nuts & berries

2. berry spotter

3. pine cone creatures

4. video - primary school level - spiders

5. craft: nature mandala

6. make a spinning dial to identify leaves

Saturday 13 August 2022

Spring/Summer 2022 Prize Quiz: Winner and Answers

Blue John Cavern, the answer to cryptic clue 17.

The entries for the Spring/ Summer quiz have been marked and judged. Congratulations to the winner, Jean Baker of Chesterfield. A £10 gift voucher is on its way to Jean.

Here are the Peak District themed answers to the cryptic clues.

1. House of conversations value. (10). Chatsworth

2. Rock, stock, or turtle perhaps, with twisted lead. (8). Dovedale

3. Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood famously both can do this. (8). Bakewell

4. Fortress heavyweight. (9). Castleton

5. Returning communist took himself to a river. (7). Derwent

6. Lemon salad dressing. (6, 4). Monsal Dale

7. Height of the gold medal... (3, 4). Win Hill

8. .... Height of the wooden spoon. (4, 4). Lose Hill

9. Wire very twisted. (5, 3). River Wye

10. I expect that Faith and Charity can also be found in this vale. (4, 6). Hope Valley

11. As you can hear, I’ll hesitate. (4). Ilam

12. Hotel father didn’t start, wise man! (10). Hathersage

13. This village is in the money, among the wealthiest places in the National Park. (4). Eyam

14. Mother hill, shivering mountain. (3, 3). Mam Tor

15. More benevolent recruiter. (6, 5). Kinder Scout

16. Graduate don’t hurry. (6). Baslow

17. Blanch over June excitedly at this attraction. (4, 4, 6). Blue John Cavern

18. Pulverise the French Fiesta (e.g.) in this village. (11). Grindleford

19. Norse god, pretty excited initially, seen overhead on a hill. (6, 5). Thorpe Cloud

20. S Spain wants revolution. (7, 4). Winnats Pass

21. Yearn, while five hundred finish beer. (11). Longdendale

22. The writer a number place on the scales noisily, starting at 35 and ending in Scotland. (3, 7, 3). The Pennine Way

23. Village in which my Nan lived. She used to say “It is Sing to Nanny time!” and we would have a sing-song before bed. (10). Tissington

24. Village that sounds like the remains after the burning of e.g. £20 pound notes! (7). Monyash

25. Can sixties dance turn the Spanish around in this village? (10). Tintwistle

26. Did biblical patriarch watch angels going up and down these steps? (6, 6). Jacob’s Ladder

27. One that proverbially won’t wait for any man - terrific! (9). Tideswell

28. Madam, pay your respects to the Queen, and be dammed! (9, 9). Ladybower Reservoir

29. Song of Eminem’s Revival, a collector of a car’s exhaust gases. (5, 8). River Manifold

30. Upland area where bicycle seat is of greater value, I’m told. (11, 4). Saddleworth Moor

31. The pram Kyle unfolded became a popular attraction. (4, 4). Lyme Park

32. Roman Catholic follows untamed snake beside Irish lake. (14). Wildboarclough

33. Old garden’s alternatively a village. (7). Edensor

34. Valley of Jonathan (doctor/comedian), Arthur (playwright) or Gina (activist)? (7, 4). Millers Dale

35. Echo glen. (5) Edale

36. Eve C Pallister redesigned this old building. (7, 6) Peveril Castle

37. Deer (maybe white?) in 7th to 14th letters. (10). Hartington

38. Escarpment where Geena staged revolution. 7, 4 Stanage Edge

39. Watch out for adders if you cross the Pennines here. (5, 4). Snake Pass

40. In this village I hear report of Christmas tomb; not that you’ll be sorry. (10). Youlgreave

41. Block up Thermos reservoir. (8). Damflask

42. Are these coarse fish? No. Or abbreviated dirty insect pests? No. They are hills. (3, 7). The Roaches

43. A silence for row with the restaurant worker losing information. (7, 2, 3, 5). Ashford-in-the-Water

44. Place where a mongrel can get a drink? (6). Curbar

45. River where old anaesthetic leads to cry of pain. (7). Etherow

46. Keep this part of the tool sharp! (3, 4). Axe Edge

47. Female cirrus? (3, 5). Hen Cloud

48. Follow the B5053 along northwards until you find this village. (7). Longnor

49. Valley named after HRH of Cambridge? (9, 4). Middleton Dale

50. Ancient site where Anna, Becky, Claire, Debbie, Erin, Fiona, Grace, Helen, and Isobel stand in a ring. Count them! (4, 6). Nine Ladies

Thursday 11 August 2022

What A Difference A Day Makes

Making progress in Charlie's Field at a Corporate Workday for WSP employees

Making progress in Charlie's Field at a Corporate Workday for 
WSP employees

Joanna Bateman, wife of the New Ferry Butterfly Park Treasurer John Bateman, hosted a corporate workday for her employer WSP at New Ferry Butterfly Park. WSP is an international company providing engineering management and consultancy services to the built and natural environment. They have a local office in Exchange Station, Tithebarn Street, Liverpool.

Thirteen fresh-faced, young, fit volunteers turned up at the park and after a quick briefing, got stuck in straight away to a variety of jobs joined by a team of eleven of our own volunteers. Various long-standing jobs were tackled: restoring the plant pot trailer previously stripped down by an AstraZeneca corporate workday in March; extending the life of the Park’s compost bins, built in 2005, by lining the inside of the bays with 18mm plywood, reused from a former building site hoarding; turning the compost; bagging up wood chippings for autumn sales; repairing the trolley for collecting cuttings; plant sale stocks sorted and the invasive two flowered honey suckle removed.

John Bateman and co fixing the trailer
John Bateman and co fixing the trailer

The main body of WSP volunteers concentrated on Charlie’s Field, in the area between the Silver Jubilee entrance gates and Aldi. The WSP volunteers got enthusiastically involved with removal of bramble and suckering blackthorn invading from the hedgerow as well as scything the wildflower grassland. One of the WSP volunteers, Alex, took to scything naturally and impressively gave the field as close a shave as you can get.

Alex, a scything natural, in Charlie's Field
Alex, a scything natural, in Charlie's Field

The volunteers were given hot drinks and homemade butterfly cakes for elevenses. Following lunch, Joanna and John Bateman were invited to raise the 10th Community Green Flag that the park has recently been awarded. John Bateman organised a corporate workday for his employer, AstraZeneca, earlier in the year. What a great boost to the park the Bateman duo are!

Following the flag raising, Hilary Ash gave a 40-minute tour around the park giving an overall picture of the Park’s aims and projects. Then, fully rested, the WSP volunteers returned to their projects for another hour to complete them. Positive connections were made between the WSP employers as it was good to see fellow colleagues in the flesh than over a screen. They do have legs!

“For the first time Charlie’s Field is starting to look meadow like. Whilst using the scythe we could see the leaves of cowslips. These plants will benefit greatly from the removal of the competing vegetation. We hope to get a second cut of the field in the autumn. This is all in an attempt to make Charlie’s Field more suitable for opening up to the public in the future”, enthused Paul Loughnane, Honorary Reserve Manager.

Scything and bramble and blackthorn removal completed in Charlie's Field, thanks to WSP
Scything and bramble and blackthorn removal completed in Charlie's Field, thanks to WSP

Joanna Bateman said, “New Ferry Butterfly Park has become an important part of Bateman family life, with John being a volunteer here since 2018 and our two young children are big fans of bug hunting, butterfly spotting and berry picking when they visit. To have been able to coordinate my work colleagues coming to volunteer at the Park has been amazing. WSP are committed to giving back to the local community and provide their employees with Volunteer Days to be able to achieve this. To be able to have colleagues from several of our engineering disciplines in the Liverpool team come together in the Great Outdoors and get so much completed during the day was wonderful to see. I’ve been getting fantastic feedback from those who attended, with one saying it’s the best WSP volunteering day he’s been on. New Ferry Butterfly Park has so much to offer and give to the local community as well as all the benefits it has for the local ecology. Every visit seems to give something new to explore for me, from learning about Thick-Legged Flower Beetles and finding Bee Orchids, seeing a fox and last month I saw a hummingbird hawk moth flitting about. I really encourage anyone who hasn’t been to come and have a visit. I’m thankful that Paul, Hilary and the team were so welcoming and accommodating of WSP and look forward to planning more community events at this beautiful location.”

This corporate workday has been great for the park as it stimulates the park’s committee to get on with projects which they do not have the time and resources for. It raises the profile of the park further and builds links between WSP employees and our own volunteers. John Bateman came four years ago to learn how to scythe and has stayed with the park and become our treasurer. Let us hope some of the WSP volunteers catch that bug too.

Tuesday 9 August 2022

Look Back at National Meadow Day at Poulton Hall

Enjoying cream teas on the lawn at Poulton Hall
Enjoying cream teas on the lawn at Poulton Hall

The first Saturday in July has been nominated as National Meadow Day by Plantlife. To celebrate this, Wirral Wildlife was fortunate to be invited to host a cream tea event at Poulton Hall Walled Gardens and Parkland. Poulton Hall lies just above the dip at Dibbinsdale Road, Bebington.

One hundred and forty cream teas were created by Wirral Wildlife volunteers, that is the maximum number of cream teas that can be served from the walled garden hatchery. Caroline Lancelyn Green of Poulton Hall was impressed by the number of visitors attracted to the event and complimented the Wirral Wildlife publicity team.

The day before the event, the Wirral Countryside Volunteers (WCV) gathered materials from New Ferry Butterfly Park to create a mock up hedge in the parkland, for a ‘have a go at hedge laying’ stall. This stall also provided opportunities to try scything and tool sharpening, and make a 
newspaper pot to plant a seed in. On the day WCV met at New Ferry Village Hall at 7.45am to pick up the gazebos. The volunteers then went for a breakfast break and arrived at Poulton Hall at 10.30am to put up the gazebos and displays, and sort out tables and chairs.

The cream tea making team!
The cream tea making team!

At 10.30am more volunteers arrived to start making the centre piece of the day - the cream teas. This involved slicing the scones, spreading the butter, adding the jam, and finally crowning the arrangement with clotted cream. There were also many sandwiches to be sliced.

At 12 noon stall holders arrived to set up a butterfly craft stall, Wirral Wildlife display, spider stall and costume jewellery stall. At 1pm the entrance team and car parking team arrived. Crowds gathered at the entrance over the ha-ha for the 2pm opening. The gardens were looking good, with the Red Queen’s Garden looking particularly striking in its vivid red colours.

This the second year that Wirral Wildlife group has hosted such an event. As well as the story telling, the Samaritan’s plant sale, and wildlife stalls already mentioned there were musicians, roving archers and a beehive demonstration. Interestingly the 'classic' beehive as represented in pictures and paintings, with an external housing that splays out towards the bottom of each frame was designed by William Broughton Carr in 1890 who once lived in Higher Bebington.

Dr Hilary Ash giving a tour of the wildflower meadow at Poulton Hall
Dr Hilary Ash giving a tour of the wildflower meadow at Poulton Hall

In celebration of National Meadow Day, Dr Hilary Ash gave two tours of the wildflower grassland. The area was used for growing potatoes until 1993. Since then it has been mown annually in late August or early September, with occasional aftermath grazing. The grassland’s fertility has been gradually lost and the grass sward height and density reduced. Grasses have become finer which has allowed space for marsh orchids to get in and for plants such as hairy tare to colonise the grassland. Hay rattle could be rattled, and seeds scattered. There were many meadow brown butterflies on the wing. This area is looking like a classic Cheshire meadow.

Soldier beetles on hogweed flowers in the meadow
Soldier beetles on hogweed flowers in the meadow

The day is a wonderful team effort requiring various roles, including being a witch at the entrance to the walled garden! Thank you to the nineteen volunteers who made this event possible. Thanks also to Roger and Lynn for serving the cream teas, and Scirard and Caroline Lancelyn Green and the hall staff for all their support to make it a successful day. On Sunday afternoon the WCV returned to pick up the gazebos which were left for the Samaritan’s fund-raising day and then returned on Monday to clear away the mock laid hedge. This successful event is well worth the effort, an enjoyable day for all and a great fund raising and awareness day for Wirral Wildlife and New Ferry Butterfly Park. The total amount raised was £1,760, so Wirral Wildlife and the New Ferry Butterfly Park each received £880.

Paul Loughnane

Thursday 4 August 2022

Wirral Wildlife Committee Visit the Hatchmere Beavers

Visit to Hatchmere, hoping for a beaver sighting
Visit to Hatchmere, hoping for a beaver sighting

The Wirral Wildlife committee, and some of their family members, recently paid a visit to the beavers at Hatchmere Nature Reserve (near Delamere Forest), led by Martin Varley, Director of Nature's Recovery at Cheshire Wildlife Trust.

The beaver habitat at Hatchmere
The beaver habitat at Hatchmere

Martin's determination and successful fundraising have been vital to bringing the beaver back to Cheshire. 

The party were rewarded with several sighting of an adult, along with plentiful signs of their activities, including the dam they have built, which is about a metre high.

A gnawed and felled tree, an obvious sign of beavers at work
A gnawed and felled tree, an obvious sign of beavers at work

Stephen Ross, Wirral Wildlife Chairman, reported “We spent over two hours walking in the 10 acre beaver enclosure. It was remarkable. They swam around in sight and we looked at their dam which has transformed a small pond and stream into a substantial lake. Fascinating to see their choice of site and line of construction which seemed to suggest that they were aware of how to get the depth they required across the site. Difficult to assess the length but at least 20 metres. Incredible how much stuff including branches that two animals can move in such a short time. Wildfowl were present on the lake and because of the fencing are probably safe from foxes. Martin Varley was most informative and generous with his time. We are all most grateful to him”.

Richard Ash recorded a short video of a swimming beaver. You can view it below or on YouTube:

Wednesday 3 August 2022

Raising The Green Flag at New Ferry Butterfly Park


John and Jodie Bateman raising the Green Flag at the Butterfly Park

New Ferry Butterfly Park has been awarded a Green Flag Community Award for the 10th consecutive year. The award is the international quality mark for parks and green spaces.

The Green Flag Community Award 2022/2023

Any green space that is accessible to the public is eligible to enter for a Green Flag Award. They are given on an annual basis and winners must apply each year to renew it. A Green Flag Community Award recognises quality sites managed by voluntary and community groups.

The inspection visit was not announced but was by a ‘mystery’ visitor who commented that it was “...a good chill out site. You can get lost in lots of wildlife”.

Green Flag Award Keep Britain Tidy’s Accreditation Manager Paul Todd said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making New Ferry Butterfly Park worthy of a Green Flag Award. After two years that have seen our parks and green spaces play a vital role for people through lockdowns, the news that New Ferry Butterfly Park has achieved the Green Flag Award is testament to the hard work and dedication of the volunteers that make it a great space that everyone can enjoy”.

Employees from WSP help us celebrate the Green Flag award at a workday at the park

The Community Green flag was raised at the New Ferry Butterfly Park by John and Jodie Bateman on 28th July.

This was a corporate workday for thirteen WSP (William Sale Partnership) employees.

Lots was achieved: scything Charlie's Field, extensive bramble removal, plus restoring the compost bins and the former mobile allotment.

Jodie arranged the corporate workday and John organised an Astra-Zenica work party earlier in the year so we are very grateful for their support for the Park.

In past years New Ferry Butterfly Park has won the Green Flag Pollinator award and, in 2016, Green Flag awarded Hilary Ash their Volunteer of the Year Award.

New Ferry Butterfly Park is home to a wide variety of insects, including many species of hoverflies, bees, spiders and other mini-beasts, as well as the butterflies. It also has a large variety of wild flowers - and an outdoor art trail.

Visit on Sunday afternoons 12-4pm, or groups by arrangement. For more details see