Highbury Park is a haven for wildlife as well as for people. Grassland, ancient hedgerows, marshland, scrub, streams, pools and remnants of woodland are all to be found in the park as well as a host of ornamental trees and shrubs. These habitats are home to a wide range of plants and animals
In 2022 Andy Slater from Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust and Ellen Pisolkar, Ecologist and HPF member submitted a Local Sites Assessment report to Birmingham City Council with the result that the whole Park and Estate are candidates for Site of National Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) and Site of Local Importance for Nature Conservation (SLINC). The report will be available in due course.
In 1975, B. Teagle, surveyed the plants in the park as part of what became an influential book called ‘The Endless Village’. Teagle’s book highlighted the fact that wildlife was to be found in towns as well as the countryside – a finding that has been made again and again. A more detailed survey was then carried out in 1990 by the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country.
The park is dominated by grassland. It is at first sight a simple green sward, but on closer inspection, the diversity shown in the different flower and moss species give clues to the underlying geology and soils, the dampness and even the land use history of the area. We have worked with our partners Birmingham City Council Parks Department and Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust to develop the upper and lower hay meadows below the car park, that are now thriving.
The old hedgerows with hawthorn and mature oak trees link with the areas of scrub and trees. In the spring, typical woodland plants can be found including Pignut, Bluebell and Dog’s Mercury, the latter being a particularly special plant as it is an indicator of old woodland.
The ponds are all different in character. The south western pond, known as the Henburys is in need of desilting, but a kingfisher can occasionally be spotted here catching sticklebacks.
The Long Pond is surrounded by ornamental woodland of beech, ash, oak, crack willow, alder, sycamore etc. The damp, rocky inflow area has a lining of mosses and liverworts and Water Starwort can be spotted in the pool. The bank supports Wood Melick an unusual and attractive woodland grass.
The Oak Tree Pond is all but dried out and shaded with Branched Bur-Reed, Yellow Flag and Variegated Canary-Grass.