About Us

Who we are:
The Friends of Deers Leap Wood (FDLW) are a voluntary group of concerned local residents who have a passion for conserving and enhancing an area of their local environment called Deers Leap Wood for the benefit of people and wildlife.

Established in 1985 the group meets once a month to undertake practical nature conservation work such as :
•    Tree and shrub planting
•    Cutting the meadow
•    Coppicing
•    Woodland thinning work
•    Litter picking
•    Pond management
•    Path edging and step building
•    Removal of non-native ‘weed’ species

We also identify native trees, wild flowers, and birds.

We are affiliated members of the BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) and through them hold public liability insurance cover for all the activities we undertake.
The Friends are also members of the BOSF (Birmingham Open Spaces Forum).
Although FDLW is not a registered charity historically we have been funded by means of financial support from the landowner (Mitchells & Butlers Brewery up to 2002) as well as various grant making bodies.  We do not charge a membership subscription but are happy to accept donations which are paid into the Friends of Deers Leap Wood Management Committee account.

Key members of the group are:
Douglas Allenby (Chair) 0121 445 2755
Philippa Allenby
Ken Bladon
Jacky Hawkins
John Hopkins 0121 565 0793
Ilze Mason
Fred Middleton
Bert Taylor

What Is Deers Leap Wood?
The site is a wonderful mix of informal woodland, pond, boundary brook and meadow areas which have been formally designated as a Site of Local Importance for Nature Conservation (SLINC). The woodland element has also been safeguarded by being included within a group Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

  • Deers Leap Wood is therefore a great place to:
    •    Enjoy the natural beauty of your local surroundings
    •    Sit and take in the peace and tranquillity, away from your normal urban living
    •    Take photographs of the many species of flora and fauna
    •    Learn about nature and how to look after it
    •    Undertake healthy exercise by simply walking within the   site or helping with volunteer tasks
    •    Allow your children the time and space to have fun in a natural setting

DEERS LEAP WOOD – SITE PLAN 

It is therefore an ever-changing landscape in which to make friends or bring your family. Pupils and staff at the local schools have benefitted from bring their classes along; as have uniformed groups as well as though completing their Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Getting Here
Deers Leap Wood is located 2.5 miles west of Birmingham City Centre at the junction of the Edgbaston, Harborne and Soho Wards. It is approximately 1.9 hectares (4.5 acres) in size and is also bounded to the north by the Cape Hill area of Sandwell.

SITE CONTEXT

On Foot – It is within easy walking distance of the new Deers Leap housing estate, Bearwood, Cape Hill, Dudley Road, and the residential area surrounding Edgbaston Reservoir.

By Bus – The Wood is readily accessible on Sunday afternoon workdays since it is close to the following bus routes (see Network West Midlands for current bus timetables and maps. See also NXWM website and mobile phone route info.
•    No. 11A – every 15 minutes
•    No. 11C – every 15 minutes
•    No. 80 – every 30 minutes
•    No.127 – every 60 minutes
•    No. 128 – every 60 minutes

By Car – Deers Leap Wood is close to the junction of Portland Road (B4125) and City Road (A4040).  From that junction head north-east for approximately 100 metres down City Road as if heading towards the Dudley Road; turn first left into Roebuck Road and follow the housing estate road passed the end of Mead Avenue, round the wooded Cricket pitch embankment until you’ll see the Deers Leap Wood timber picket fence with a pedestrian gateway, meadow, and woodland beyond. If you arrive by car then it can be parked beside the road; whilst those with bikes can be bring them into the site for safe keeping.

SITE ACCESS

When do we meet?
The Wood is privately owned by The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & The Black Country. Public access is restricted to workdays or by special prior arrangement for schools, groups, and clubs. Admission is free.

Workdays are held on the first Sunday of every month (except for in August; as well as on Bank Holiday weekends when they take place on the second Sunday).

During the winter, once the clocks have gone back – 1pm to 4.30pm.
During the summer – 1.30pm to 5.30pm

Special visits can be arranged by contacting Douglas Allenby (Chair) or Paul Stephenson at the Trust (0121 454 1199).

Join us!
Deers Leap Wood is a hidden gem of a site which we would love to share with you. If you visit us on a workday then we would recommend that you wear clothing and footwear that is appropriate to the time of year, as well as likely weather and ground conditions. For example:

In winter – wear warm clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, together with wellies or walking boots, and an anorak with hood.

In summer – since there may be stinging nettles, brambles, or other vegetation to contend with wear lighter clothes but with sleeves, trousers, and walking shoes or robust trainers.

Unless requested you do not need to bring tools or gardening gloves with you as these will be provided.
The Friends also supply refreshments and biscuits.
Toilet facilities are available up in the Pavilions Sports Club building.
Given the current nature of the site and in places the uneven terrain, we regret to inform you that people with disabilities / wheelchairs will find it difficult to access the site.

Contact Us:
If you would like to know more about the site or when the next workday is to be held then please contact:
Douglas or Philippa Allenby  0121 445 2755
John Hopkins 0121 565 0793

History
Historically the Wood can be traced back to Medieval times when both it and the surrounding area formed part of the large Rotton Park estate, characterised by woods and meadows. More recently the locality became synonymous with the world famous Mitchells & Butlers (M & B) Brewery which adopted the ‘Leaping Deer’ as its company motif for over 100 years.

Following the purchase of the site by Persimmon Homes some 350 new homes were built on the former brewery land, but in such a way that Deers Leap Wood was retained and enhanced. The ownership of the Wood has more recently passed to The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & The Black Country who have employed Paul Stephenson, as part-time Ranger, to oversee the establishment and management of the various habitats together with the help of the FDLW and the local community.

Thanks again for visiting!

 

4 Responses to About Us

  1. E.A Hobbs says:

    Hello,

    My family (The Fawdrys) lived at Birmingham Heath and Rotton Park Farm in the 1800s and I was always told that The Deers Leap was on our land. Could you let me know if this information was correct please? Thanks.

    E.A. Hobbs

  2. deersleap says:

    Hi there,

    Thanks for your query. I an afraid I can’t give you a definitive answer to this but I am aware that Rotton Park Farm was only just up the road (near City Road) so before M & B bought the Deers Leap Wood land it may well have formed part of the farm. I do have a copy of the deeds for the site so I will check them to see if they reveal anything further. If so I’ll be in touch.
    We have a work afternoon down in the Wood tomorrow (Sunday) so if you are still in the area feel free to pop down and take a look – we’ll give you a warm welcome.
    If you have any old photos / maps / memories of the area then it would be wonderful to hear from you. My wife and I used to live for a good number of years in Willow Avenue as well as attended St. Germains Church – so lots of fond memories for us too.

    Yours,

    Douglas Allenby

  3. mary powell says:

    worried about the tall tree being taken down why and how many?

  4. deersleap says:

    Hi Mary,

    Apologies for not getting back to you more quickly but have been bogged down with work and other issues. The Wildlife Trust are the new owners of the Wood (i.e. no longer Persimmon) and having carried out a risk assessment consider that some of the mature trees around the site and particularly the tall poplars are potentially dangerous and so over a period of months (some completed already and some earmarked for this autumn / winter I believe) will either fell or pollard them. In their place I understand they intend to plant them up with native mixed broadleaved trees and shrubs. Although the area is covered by a group tree preservation order the work has been approved as part of a Forestry Commission Woodland Grant Scheme funded project. Although visually it will make a dramatic difference, in time as the new trees mature it will look more ‘natural’ and have added biodiversity value. If you need to speak to the Trust about this then the new ranger is Paul Stephenson who can be contacted on 0121 454 1199.

    Yours,

    Douglas Allenby

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