Wrens Nest woodwork group swoop in to help local wildlife along proposed tram route

Members of the Senior Citizens Enterprise Woodwork group in Dudley kindly donated their time and skills to build a variety of bird habitats to be installed along the disused rail corridor that runs on the proposed Wednesbury to Brierley Hill route for the Midland Metro.
The group made 52 boxes to add to a further 50 boxes already purchased by the Midland Metro Alliance, which is building a number of new tram extensions for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
It is hoped that the 102 bird boxes will attract a wide-range of nesting birds this spring and doubles the amount of nesting space requested.
Midland Metro Alliance Delivery Manager, Andy Pearce, said: “We are really appreciative of the help from the group who have generously used their woodworking talents and given up their time to build these for us. This will help us to make a very real difference to the local environment.”
The group, based at Meadow Road Youth Centre, Wrens Nest in Dudley handcraft everything from bat and bird boxes to dolls houses and rocking horses. They have spent the last few weeks building a variety of boxes including open fronted boxes, standard 25mm and 32mm holed boxes and a number of Sparrow terraces. The group acquire offcuts of wood from local suppliers to build the items.
Group chairman, 82-year-old William Darby, said: “We are happy to help with the project. The wood we have used is a rough type and perfect for treating. This would have gone into landfill or been burnt so this is a very sustainable way of utilising the material.”
On Friday 28 April, the group were taken on a visit to the Midland Metro depot in Wednesbury to drive the tram simulator and hear about what the extension will mean to the area.
Group member Dave Probert, said: “The tram will be a major lifeline for Dudley as currently so many public transport journeys involve many changes even relatively short journeys often require catching two buses. The tram cannot come soon enough.”
Earlier this year, the Midland Metro Alliance began clearing the vegetation that covered the existing disused heavy rail line between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill which closed for passenger use in 1962.
The clearing works will allow for a range of surveys to be carried out in preparation for the proposed construction of the new Midland Metro route, planned to open for passenger service in 2023.
Andy Pearce added: “Although the land has recently been cleared of rubbish, weeds and hazardous material, I would like to take the opportunity to remind local people that the area is essentially a private construction site, is not open to the public and is hazardous in places.”
For more information on the work of the Senior Citizens Enterprise Woodwork Group in Dudley, please contact William Darby at wdarby@sky.com