– Castle Vale Conservation Area is a hidden gem on Castle Vale. It is situated in the south-easterly corner of the Castle Vale estate and it is bordered by railway tracks and a pipeline to the East and South, playing fields to the West, and allotments and stable paddocks to the North.
The nearly 22.7 acres of land is owned by Birmingham City Council but we help to manage, promote and look after with the support of the local community for the purposes of nature conservation, education, and community use.
The site, which is the largest area of informal public open space in Castle Vale, is comprised of wildflower meadows, hedgerows, mixed woodland, amenity and unmanaged neutral grassland, areas of scrub, and a small fenced seasonal pond. There is public access to most of the site through various formal managed gravel pathways.
At the centre of the Conservation Area you can find the Castle Vale Meadows. They were created in 2013 as a result of a successful partnership with Birmingham City Council, Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust (Nature Improvement Area Staff) and the University of Wolverhampton.
The former paddock was transformed into a magnificent meadow using green hay from two ‘donor’ sites, Eades Meadow and Draycote Meadows, both Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The hay bales were strewn on the site during two days of local community events, creating 9.7 acres of 2 new-species rich meadows.
An interesting array of wildlife can be found in the meadows and conservation area. In Spring, butterflies such as brimstone, small tortoiseshell and orange tip can be observed along with various types of solitary nesting bees and bumblebees. Within the meadows, orchid species can be found alongside a whole host of other flowering plants. Birds such as fieldfare, redwing, redpoll and bullfinch are a welcome sight in the colder months. Evidence of rabbit, muntjac and roe deer can be found on site, those who walk the site at first light may be rewarded with glimpses of them.