Sue Bradley from the Glouces­ter­shire Wildlife Trust ex­plores the wild side of Pittville

The nights are draw­ing in but there are still plenty of rea­sons to en­joy the great outdoors, as Sue Bradley dis­cov­ers

Cotswold Life - - INSIDE -

Pittville is one of the jew­els in Chel­tenham’s crown, the epit­ome of Re­gency liv­ing and the lo­ca­tion of the town’s largest or­na­men­tal park.

The suburb, which dates back to the early 1820s, lies just over a mile from the busy town cen­tre but pro­vides an oa­sis for peo­ple and wildlife.

At its heart is Pittville Park, which con­sists of two distinct sec­tions border­ing the Eve­sham road.

Its east­ern side is the lo­ca­tion of a mag­nif­i­cent Grade I-listed pump room, to which vis­i­tors once came to take min­eral-rich spa wa­ters; a chil­dren’s play area and var­i­ous bird aviaries, along with the large ‘up­per’ lake, which at­tracts a large num­ber of wild­fowl. Moorhens, coots and herons are par­tic­u­larly preva­lent around the two float­ing is­lands in­stalled to im­prove the qual­ity of the wa­ter.

Ly­ing south of this lake is Pittville Lawn, which con­tains a col­lec­tion of trees and shrubs thought to have been planted in the late 1890s, in­clud­ing ginkgo, pa­per­bark maple, yew, Cal­i­for­nia in­cense cedar and a ma­jes­tic cedar of Le­banon.

The western side of the park is more nat­u­ral­is­tic, with a num­ber of small wooded ar­eas and an­other lake, which con­tains a small wa­ter­fall that flows into Wy­man’s Brook.

King­fisher, tree creeper, great spot­ted wood­pecker, jay, great crested grebe, mal­lard and a breed­ing pair of swans have all been recorded here.

De­spite its long his­tory as plea­sure grounds and gar­dens, Chel­tenham Bor­ough Coun­cil and vol­un­teers from Friends of Pittville con­tinue to make im­prove­ments around the area, many of which are de­signed with wildlife in mind.

The lat­est work on the western side in­cludes the plant­ing of three copses of na­tive trees, in­clud­ing seed and fruit bear­ers, and the sow­ing of the Pittville Park corn­field ur­ban meadow on an area close to Tommy Tay­lors Lane that was pre­vi­ously part of the pitch and putt course. This area is filled with wild­flow­ers, in­clud­ing corn­cockle, corn chamomile, corn­flower, corn marigold, wild car­rot, fox­glove, viper’s bu­gloss and corn poppy, which pro­vide nec­tar and pollen for a wide range of in­sects, in­clud­ing but­ter­flies. Mean­while ce­re­als such as bar­ley, oats and wheat pro­vide win­ter food for birds.

Pittville Park’s im­por­tance is recog­nised by both a Grade II list­ing un­der the English Her­itage reg­is­ter of his­toric parks and gar­dens and a Green Flag Award, the bench­mark na­tional stan­dard for pub­licly ac­ces­si­ble green spa­ces in the UK.

Vis­i­tors are asked to pass on sight­ings of wildlife to the Glouces­ter­shire En­vi­ron­men­tal Records Cen­tre at www.gcer. In June the park was the scene of a ‘bio blitz’, or­gan­ised by the stu­dents and staff of the Univer­sity of Glouces­ter­shire, Glouces­ter­shire Wildlife Trust and Chel­tenham Bor­ough Coun­cil, when sur­veys were made of the dawn cho­rus, birds, but­ter­flies and bats. The re­sults are due to be pub­lished shortly.

Great spot­ted wood­pecker

Great crested grebe


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