Warley Woods Community Trust, in partnership with Sandwell MBC, had funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund to restore Warley Woods.
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
In 1999, following a campaign organised by local residents concerned at the demolition of the glasshouses in 1996, the Community Trust and Sandwell Council were awarded a grant of £757,000 from the Urban Parks Program of the Heritage Lottery Fund. This grant was match funded by Sandwell MBC taking the project budget to just under £1 million.
The HLF restoration activities included:
- An archaeological investigation, conducted early in the project, to record the important archaeological features of the landscape including; Warley Abbey, Warley Tor, the Temple, the Ice House
- Resurfacing of drives, perimeter path and winter garden path
- Installation of litterbins and benches
- Installation of a new steel park railing perimeter fence to improve safety and the appearance of Warley Woods
- Installation of bollards around the remainder of the perimeter to prevent the dumping of cars
As part of the overall Woodland Management Plan adopted for the long term management of the woods a number of projects involving the removal and planting of trees have taken place. The full plan can be downloaded here.
- Some of the Lawson cypress trees alongside the main carriageway were taken out. Those with split stems have been identified as a future maintenance and safety problem.
- Some trees at the Barclay Road side of the meadow were removed in order to achieve the scalloped effect that Repton originally established. Those removed included some with significant squirrel damage.
- A small group of conifers on the meadow, opposite the fountain, were taken out to allow an improved view from the “Abbey” site of the meadow and surrounding woodland.
- Some of the “new” beech plantation alongside Barclay Road were removed to give more space for those remaining and to take out those most badly damaged by
- The fencing contractors returned to plant trees and hedges inside the new fence and wall on Abbey Road, more than restoring the losses incurred during the renovation work.
Some new nursery trees were planted in and on the Abbey Road side of the meadow to ensure that the landscape continues to include some fine, large specimens.
The Barclay Road side of the meadow was reinforced with new trees in two places to contribute to Repton’s scalloped effect.
- Over 300 small trees were planted by volunteers in the main area of beech and oak woodland during the winter months, together with the transplanting of saplings from the existing woodland.
- The net effect is a considerable increase in the number of trees. Beech and oak will continue to dominate but there will also be significant numbers of rowan, lime and chestnut.
In addition to this work the trust has established a tree nursery on site to provide trees as they are required in the woods.
Big Lottery Fund (BLF) improvements included
- Woodland with natural planting, accessible paths, benches, arbours and sculptures
- Vegetation management in the winter garden area of Warley Woods
- A play area for younger visitors
Since the Heritage Lottery Project and Big Lottery Project the Trust has continued to develop and improve the site, but now terms this Regeneration rather than Restoration. This has included the restoration of the drinking fountain additional tree planting, the creation of a Wilderness wildlife area and trial wildflower meadows.
Charity number: 1092754