The Friends of Hilbre Newsletter
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks to everyone for re-joining The Friends of
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 Councilís 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 Wirralís 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 councilís 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 Hilbreís fate continues unresolved.
Ian Brand, head of Asset Management in the Councilís team, is overseeing the new system of management for buildings, including Hilbreís 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 Masterís House is a particularly urgent case, a fact already known to the Rangers and others. All volunteersí efforts to save and maintain their buildings were praised.
Hilbreís 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 Ďs web site also gives details of some of the buildings. It is hoped that the older buildings will remain entirely within the councilís care, and the role of the Friends as volunteer helpers in maintenance and fund raising will be as valuable as ever. The fate of Hilbreís other jewel, its wildlife, will also remain out of contractorsí hands. No-one wishes to see a lawn mower run over the ground nesting birds just because Hilbreís grassland has to take its turn with several bowling greens!
At least, the Wirral Officers and Friendsí 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.
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 Wirralís Parks and Countryside, including Hilbre, will to continue to be managed by the Local Authority workers and the Wirralís Ranger services.
Back to 'Inside this issue'.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.
MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
Please note that members of the public can visit Hilbre Islandsí 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).
FOR YOUR INTEREST
HILBRE BIRD OBSERVATORY BLOG HAS DAILY SIGHTINGS ON:
DEE ESTUARY BIRDING
The Dee Estuary is one of the UKís 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.
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:
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
All articles and photographs in this web site are © COPYRIGHT of The Friends of Hilbre
unless specifically otherwise stated.