Friday, 27 November 2009

A Glimpse of the Mersey Valley 50 Years Ago - The Conclusion to Hilda Broady's Journal

This is the undated Conclusion to Mrs Broady's Journal:

When I began the study of my plot I was very apprehensive and rather worried as to procedure, but as the weeks went by, the work became more and more fascinating (and also more time consuming). From what appeared to be a rather dull patch of ground in March, developed a plot of far greater interest than I had ever anticipated, and which produced many specimens of plant and insect life.

Many of the herbs appeared to have a very short season, which may be accounted for by the exceptionally dry weather of 1959. During August, September, and the beginning of October there were numerous fires on the plot. Within four weeks of the first fire, grass and rosebay willow herb had appeared through the scorched ground. Within nine weeks of this fire, 75% of the area affected was covered by grass, rosebay willow herb and bramble.

Some of the grasses, as will be seen from the specimens, grew to an exceptional height of about six feet, and by July it was very difficult to walk about parts of the plot owing to the height of the grass, which hid bramble shoots which were very prolific.

Rosebay willow herb was dominant in the summer months, and some plants reached a height of four feet.

The leaves of the Sycamore trees had suffered considerable damage by aphis, and many were affected by rust.

Between March and November, the only time water was seen in the stream was in late July – probably because the mud had hardened so much that the rain took longer to soak through – and from this time, water was not seen again until November.
Although I only completed a fraction of the work which I should have liked to complete, valuable experience has been gained on which to base future work which I hope I may be able to undertake with schoolchildren.

So that's the final section of Hilda Broady's journal for 1959. As I reported back in the Spring I think that her plot still exists, within the boundaries of Chorlton Golf Course, and is probably looking better now than it was in 1959. I'm still not sure exactly who Hilda Broady was and whether or not she carried on her study of her plot, and of Natural History in general, in subsequent years. If anyone has any more information it would be gratefully received.

In addition, if anyone fancies doing a similar study somewhere locally The Friends of Chorlton Meadows would be very interested in it and would try to help in any way we can. The more we know about local biodiversity, the more chance we have of saving it for future generations. - Ed.

Posted by Dave Bishop, November 2009

Thursday, 12 November 2009


Some of you may have noticed that the Chorlton Ees and Ivy Green Nature Reserve is now equipped with a brand new noticeboard. If you haven't yet seen it, it's sited at the entrance to the Brookburn Road car park.

The front of the board gives some general information about the reserve and the rear of the board (viewable from the adjacent path) gives some information about our Friends group. Here you can find out how to join the group, if you're not already a member, and details of upcoming volunteers' days. We also hope to add information and photographs of interesting wildlife that might be encountered on the reserve at particular times of year.

Manchester City Council supplied us with a grant to purchase the board with and the Mersey Valley Countryside Warden Service installed it; we are grateful to both of these organisations for their support. The front of the board was designed by Rachel Costigan and Alex Krause, formerly of MVCWS. Rachel and Alex have both now moved on to other posts but we would also like to thank them for their input.

Finally, much thanks must go to John Agar (FoCM Treasurer) who went to a great deal of trouble to make this happen.

Dave Bishop, November 2009

Sunday, 8 November 2009

A Glimpse of the Mersey Valley 50 Years Ago - Hilda Broady's Journal

8th November, 1959

The leaves were falling fast from the trees, but some still remain on the side of the Sycamore which was affected by fire. On the first plot that was burnt, about 75% is now covered with grass, bramble and willow herb.
There is now about two inches of water in the stream. The plot is beginning to look “messy” as the plants are finishing fruiting.

This is the last dated entry in Hilda Broady's Journal - Ed.

Posted by Dave Bishop, 8th November 2009

Monday, 2 November 2009

FoCM member features on BBC’s Autumnwatch

Friends of Chorlton Meadows volunteer and committee member, Rachael Maskill featured on the BBC’s Autumnwatch programme last month.

Rachael met with Autumnwatch presenter Martin Hughes-Games to discuss bat surveying for the Bat Conservation Trust, which seeks to identify important habitats and gather data on populations. As a volunteer for South Lancashire Bat Group, Rachael is involved with obtaining data for the Greater Manchester area.

To view the Autumnwatch episode and find out more about the the Bat Conservation Trust’s survey, visit: