Scythes & the Shire

Rangers at workRangers at work

Throughout 2013, the Birmingham and Black Country Nature Improvement Area supported 'Scythes & the Shire', a project of community-based conservation activities that will help to maintain the Shire Country Parks across South Birmingham.

In 2013, the community-based conservation activities of the Shire Country Park Friends were supported by the Birmingham and Black Country Nature Improvement Area, who helped to support a wealth of animal and plant life across The Shire Country Park.

The Shire Country Park is a network of natural and human-made green spaces in south Birmingham containing wetlands, grasslands, woodland and heath throughout Yardley Wood, Hall Green, Billesley, Springfield, Sparkhill and Small Heath. The Shire Country Park Friends is an association of volunteer groups that carry out conservation activities in all parts of the Park throughout the year.

Set up in 2011, The Brum Reapers is a subsidiary of the group, who after receiving training from one of the UK’s leading scything experts, regularly mow at sites around the south Birmingham area. The work of the scythers helped to cut the wildflower meadow at The Fields Millennium Green in Kings Norton, and among other places sites along the River Cole (Blackberry Way and Greet Mill Meadow), and the River Rea (Cannon Hill Park), dramatically reducing the number of amphibians, especially frogs, killed by mechanised cutting.

As well as helping The Brum Reapers to recruit more reapers and encourage community engagement, this project complemented the NIA's objectives as it helped to enhance the different types of habitat in the park and aid the ability of mobile species to navigate corridors.