Anyone who has visited Victoria Park over the last few months will be well aware that there are major enhancements under way. Indeed, over £12 million is being invested in the park by the Council, with support from the Big Lottery and Heritage Lottery Funds. The disruption may temporarily reduce people’s ability to enjoy the park, but the results will be well worth it in the longer term, for people and wildlife alike. There will be lots more facilities and things to see and do for park users, as well as new and enhanced habitats for the park’s plants and animals.
The first of these new habitats are nearing completion. The restoration of the West Lake is now complete, and filling it with water has begun (see the photo by Keith Woodard above). This is expected to take up to two months. The water comes from a borehole, ensuring good water quality. East Lake is still being extended, and a new island created. It will be filled later in the winter. In addition to the improved lakes, over five hectares of wildflower meadows have been sown. These will provide colour and wildlife habitat around the edges of the park from next summer.
Even with all the work going on and the lack of water, there’s still plenty of wildlife to see in Victoria Park, as the 20 or so people who attended the Bird Barmy Army walk on Saturday 12th November discovered. No fewer than 33 species of birds were seen, including the Grey Heron in the photo on the left . Other highlights included a Sparrowhawk, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Lesser Redpoll and 4 Goldcrests.
Further Bird Barmy Army walks, led by expert David Darrell-Lambert of Bird Brain UK, will take place on Saturday 14th January and Saturday 10th March, both from 10am to 12.30pm. For full details, and other events in Victoria Park, see the Council’s website.