The Friends of Hilbre Newsletter 
Volume 1, Issue 37 - Online version
November 2011

main menu

Home.
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Days
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Plan Your Visit.
How to Join.
Links.
MIU Events.
Volunteers' Work.
Wildlife.   
Task Days.  

Inside this issue:
Review of 2011. 
Farewell and Thanks.
Member's picture.
Seal Watch.

Thanks to you.
Wirral Friends of Parks Forum.
Editor's note: Breaking News.

Word Search.
Safety Notice.

Archived Newsletters

 

Contacts:
The Friends of Hilbre re:
Membership Forms,
General information,
Volunteers Work: Tasks, Open Days, Seal Watching, Mobile Information Unit
e-mail: thefriendsofhilbre@hotmail.com


Tides and Information
Wirral Country Park Ranger Service 0151 648 4371
e-mail: wirralcountrypark@wirral.gov.uk

Wirral Council Web Site: www.wirral.gov.uk

 Back to 'Inside this issue'.


Looking back at events in 2011

The Friends have put in more hard work again this year.  It takes a lot of time and effort just to organise the events for the year. Add to that the work that our volunteers put in and the amount of work becomes considerable.

All the planned dates for the Mobile Information Unit went ahead with varying degrees of public support. One obvious factor which influences the number of people making contact at the MIU is the weather. There were one or two days when high winds forced an early finish but otherwise the team withstood the elements.

Seal Watching events are always popular with visitors to Hilbre and this was the case again this year.   As with the MIU, high winds once caused an early end to the day.  The volunteers could have hung on but the tripod just would not stand up.

The Task Days all went ahead although not all were well supported.  The few who attended the September task were rewarded by a drenching during the walk over to the Island.  Once there, however, we were able to enjoy a comparatively pleasant but breezy day. In the ten years of our existence there has only been two days when the weather forced the cancellation of a Task Day. 

The Committee is already in the early stages of planning events for 2012.  As we go to press we learn that the Council has shelved its plans to contract out the maintenance of our parks and countryside which makes the future a bit more sure in some respects.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Allen Burton  Chairman of The Friends of Hilbre.

Back to 'Inside this issue'.


 Farewell and Thanks

Dave the Ranger finished working on Hilbre at the end of December 2010 but it took until August for us to catch up with him to present him with a leaving gift. 

On behalf of the Friends of Hilbre the Committee gave him a book token as thank you for all his help and co-operation during the ten years of our existence.  I feel sure that you will all join us in wishing him well in his new life on the mainland.

Back to 'Inside this issue'.


Member's Pictures and Memories of Hilbre

This is a picture of Jean Huntington (one of our FOH members) taken on Hilbre Island. We are not sure of the exact date, but we think it may be some time in the 1950s.


Seal Watching during Summer 2011

It has been another successful seal watching year with many enthusiastic visitors and seals that cooperatively haul out on the sandbank, probably unaware of all the attention that they are getting.

I would like to thank all volunteers who went over to Hilbre Island to supervise the use of the telescope.  Some of you had lovely days but some of you had to brave some very windy weather. In fact, on two occasions it was too blustery to be able to use the telescope at all.

The visitors to Hilbre really appreciate having volunteers on the island and it is obvious, because of their delighted responses, that it does enhance their enjoyment of the visit. I do hope that you will all volunteer again next year and those of you who have not been able to make it this year, do not worry as I hope that the dates for next year will suit you better.

Anyone who would like to join us there will be a seal watch training day in March.  Look out for the dates in the Newsletter early next year.

Back to 'Inside this issue'.


Thanks to everyone for re-joining The Friends of Hilbre
and welcome to all new members. 

If you would like to volunteer to join any of the activities of the FoH, you are very welcome and you will find us a very friendly crowd. In the next newsletter we will publish the dates and times of the tasks for 2012. We hope you will join us, there is generally a wide range of activities on offer from Seal Watching, bracken pulling, painting and walling to giving information to the public on the Mobile Information Unit.


Wirral Friends of Parks Forum - 22 October 2011

In the last year, there have been many changes in Wirral Council’s Parks and Countryside Services, some of which also affect Hilbre, so your representative member was glad to attend the Forum meeting at Birkenhead Priory, for an update. Friends from many other Wirral Parks were present, and there was lively discussion. The future for Parks is not clear and we shall have to work hard to look after our Open Spaces, and to make sure that the officers know what is possible. Fund raising is even more important in our hard times; there are several groups planning to chase Heritage Lottery funding, which is, of course, limited.
The process of Wirral’s plans to privatise the care and maintenance of its parks and countryside areas has not gone smoothly and the future is still doubtful.  Originally, it was planned to tender for private companies to run the day-to-day care, cleaning, maintenance etc. of most of the council’s parks and leisure facilities; however, now the whole idea is now in question.  Another Council meeting has been arranged for November.  If this is open to the public, it may be very instructive to attend.  So Hilbre’s fate continues unresolved. 
Ian Brand, head of Asset Management in the Council’s team, is overseeing the new system of management for buildings, including Hilbre’s Victorian heritage, owned by Wirral Council.  There are hopes that there will be radical repairs to the older, crumbling buildings on the island, but no promises. The two storey Buoy Master’s House is a particularly urgent case, a fact already known to the Rangers and others.  All volunteers’ efforts to save and maintain their buildings were praised. 
 Hilbre’s central block of houses and all their surrounding out-buildings are covered by Grade Two listed status, a fact communicated to us in 2002 by Mr. Arnold, a former officer in Wirral.  English Heritage ‘s web site also gives details of some of the buildings. It is hoped that the older buildings will remain entirely within the council’s care, and the role of the Friends as volunteer helpers in maintenance and fund raising will be as valuable as ever.  The fate of Hilbre’s other jewel, its wildlife, will also remain out of contractors’ hands.  No-one wishes to see a lawn mower run over the ground nesting birds just because Hilbre’s grassland has to take its turn with several bowling greens! 
At least, the Wirral Officers and Friends’ groups, in our position as working partners, are aware of some possible future challenges.  We shall continue to work together, with the help of the Forum and its Chairman, Robert Lee, to keep Friends Groups informed.  Our committee deserves all the support from members it can get, to carry on the task of talking constructively to Rangers and Council staff.

Sue Craggs



Editor's note: Breaking News (November):

A further meeting of the Council cabinet has finally rejected the privatisation scheme and has agreed to keep the contract  "in-house". This means that Wirral’s Parks and Countryside, including Hilbre, will to continue to be managed by the Local  Authority workers and the Wirral’s Ranger services.

Back to 'Inside this issue'.

WORD SEARCH


Can you find 45 words hidden in this puzzle?
They are all words about things you can find, see, do, or experience around Hilbre.
Cross the words out as you find them. They may be horizontal, vertical, diogonal or back to front.

 

Ant

 

 

Cliffs

 

Dunlin

 

Heather

 

Moths

 

Rock

 

Shells

 

 

Swim

 

 

Wind

 

Barnacle

 

 

Crab

 

Field vole

 

Hilbre

 

Mussels

 

Sand

 

Shrimp

 

 

Thrift

 

Winkles

 

 

Bay

 

 

Curlew

 

Fish

 

Lavender

 

Niffy Bay

 

Seals

 

 

Sky lark

 

 

Tides

 

 

Worm

 

 

Bracken

 

 

Dee

 

Grebe

 

Limpet

 

Painted lady

 

Seaweed

 

 

Starfish

 

 

Wave

 

 

Wrack

 

Cave

 

 

Dew

 

Gull

 

Linnet

 

Rain

 

Shellduck

 

 

Sun

 

 

Whelk

 

 

Wren


We warmly welcome new members to our group.
If you would like to become a memebr and/or join us as a volunteer please
contact the committee at: 
thefriendsofhilbre@hotmail.com

DO YOU HAVE ANY MEMORIES OR STORIES ABOUT HILBRE ISLAND?
We would love to hear from you - please email your contributions to
the Newsletter Editor at thefriendsofhilbre@hotmail.com.

MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
Please note that members of the public can visit Hilbre Islands’ Local Nature Reserve throughout the year. The Friends of Hilbre do not guide visitors across the shore to the islands. 

TIDE TIMES AND INFORMATION
Please contact the Coastal Rangers at the Thurstaston Visitor Centre, Wirral Country Park.
Tel. 0151 648 4371 (10am to 4pm, seven days a week).
email: wirralcountrypark@wirral.gov.uk

FOR YOUR INTEREST
HILBRE BIRD OBSERVATORY BLOG HAS DAILY SIGHTINGS ON:

www.hilbrebirdobs.blogspot.com

DEE ESTUARY BIRDING

The Dee Estuary is one of the UK’s premier birding locations for wetland and shorebirds. The Dee Estuary Birding web site describes the best Dee Estuary birdwatching areas with detailed maps and latest bird news for dedicated twitchers and casual birdwatchers alike.

www.deeestuary.co.uk


COASTAL PARK NEWLETTER BY THE RANGER SERVICE

This newsletter is available by e-mail only.
To receive an electronic copy by e-mail (Adobe Reader required) please contact:
email: wirralcountrypark@wirral.gov.uk

SAFETY NOTICE
Always check the tides before going out to Hilbre. Tides change each day.
Use the safe route; it is dangerous to use any other route.
For full details of when to cross safely and the safest route to Hilbre see our page:
Planning your visit to Hilbre Island

PLEASE NOTE
All articles and photographs in this web site are © COPYRIGHT of The Friends of Hilbre
 unless specifically otherwise stated.