In the 50 years since this picture was taken, the single tree to the left has been joined by a host of wild cherry, ash, horse chestnut, hazel, sweet chestnut, hawthorn, elder, field maple, sycamore, willow, and more to create a sliver of city side wilderness. The allotments either side have thrived too, sprouting a wonderful array of sheds of all shapes and sizes and fruit trees, to create a patchwork of lovingly tended plots of earth, peopled by some of the most friendly and hard working Worcestertiums* you can meet.
(I can’t find a good word for ‘people who live in Worcester’ but this sounds nice, if you read it like ‘nasturtiums’.)
Opposite the Arboretum, Bramblewood is a bank side spectator to the Worcester and Birmingham Canal on its journey from the River Severn in Worcester to the Gas Street basin in Birmingham. Where once inhabitants of the wood would have watched coal on its way down from Cannock to the factories of Worcester, and chocolate crumb making its way north from Worcester to Bournville, since the 60’s, the river traffic has been only leisure craft.
This section of the canal has been far from quiet, however. Particularly well loved by folk living in the Arboretum and surrounding areas the canal is enjoyed by anglers, commuters, families with buggies, cyclists, and children playing in the adjacent park. So much so that the local community has formed the Worcester Canal Group which has unofficially adopted this stretch. Working with the Canals and Rivers Trust, WCG organise litter picks, mural painting, wildlife surveys and much much more along the banks.
While humans busy themselves along its banks, this stretch of the W & B canal is also part of an important wildlife corridor, as identified by members of Worcester Canal Group, and through it, the wildlife which make Bramblewood home also have access to shelter and safe passage round a huge wildlife waterway network. The wildlife corridor, or ecological network, includes land and waterways owned by Worcester City Council, Worcester Wildlife Trust, Worcestershire County Council and the Canals and Rivers Trust. A group representing all the stakeholders has been created to work together to recognise the corridor as important for wildlife in Worcester, to encourage community engagement in the canal corridor wildlife, and protect it as a habitat and increasing rare linescape through which wildlife can thrive, disperse and respond to climate change. Woodlands.co.uk offer a useful insight into wildlife corridors.