Do you know someone who would appreciate a present that will help protect the future of accessible green spaces for all?
On Tuesday 1 September, the Open Spaces Society, Warwick District Council and the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust unveiled a new, interpretation-board on Parliament Piece. This is a 15-acre meadow to the west of the A429 road at Kenilworth.
Parliament Piece is believed to be the site of the second-oldest parliament, held by Henry III. The land was given to the Open Spaces Society by Miss Helen Martin in 1986, and the society passed it to Warwick District Council on a 99-year lease in 1999. The council, in conjunction with the wildlife trust, manage it for nature conservation and public access.
Until now there has been nothing on the site to explain its significance, both for its history and as a nature reserve. On Tuesday the interpretation-board was erected and unveiled by the main entrance, at the southern end, off Coventry Road.
The management of this beautiful ancient site relies upon the dedication and hard work of volunteers. Tasks such as the removal of scrub are vital in allowing Parliament Piece to flourish as a hay meadow, which means that butterfly species such as meadow brown can survive and thrive there. The 400-year-old hedgerows, rich with hawthorn and wild cherry, are festooned with the flowers and seed heads of dog-rose, ivy and traveller’s-joy, and in turn provide wonderful habitat for small mammals and nesting birds.
George Green, Reserves Officer for Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, said: ‘Parliament Piece is a wonderful example of a Local Nature Reserve, allowing local residents to see and explore the wildlife that lives on their doorstep. The work of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust couldn’t be done without volunteer power, and we are grateful to our dedicated volunteers for all that they do.
‘The installation of our new interpretation board today will enhance the experience of every visitor for years to come.’
Adds Kate Ashbrook, General Secretary of the Open Spaces Society: ‘Parliament Piece has long been enjoyed by the public for quiet, informal recreation, but we suspect that many of its visitors do not know what a unique site it is. We are proud to own such a special place and we are delighted to have worked with Warwick District Council and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to produce this attractive interpretation-board.’
Councillor David Shilton, Warwick District Council’s portfolio holder for Neighbourhood Services, said: ‘The council is very pleased to be able to assist in the signposting and interpretation of such an important and historic site, not only for local people, but for visitors from all over the UK and beyond.’
The new interpretation-board is on the south west side of Coventry Road next to Love Lane. (Parliament Piece is bordered by Love Lane and Upper Spring Lane.)