Green Recovery in Cheshire and Greater Manchester
As the government makes plans to repair the country from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, we're calling for a recovery that ensures everyone can enjoy nature.
In Cheshire and Greater Manchester, we have bold ambitions to restore green spaces, protect places from the impact of flooding, capture carbon, and find natural solutions to the problems of climate change. These projects are funded by the Government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund.
In this article:
- What is the Green Recovery Challenge Fund?
- Green Recovery at Dunham Massey
- Green Recovery at Quarry Bank
- Green Recovery at Lyme Park
- Green Recovery in the Cheshire Countryside
The Defra Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a short-term, competitive fund to kickstart the process of nature recovery, start to address the climate crisis, and help create and retain thousands of green jobs. The £40 million fund has been developed by Defra and its arm’s-length bodies, including Natural England, Forestry Commission, Environment Agency and others. The National Lottery Heritage Fund is distributing and monitoring this government money, to support projects that are ready to deliver and focus on nature restoration, nature-based solutions and connecting people with nature.
The 'Historic Landscapes' programme has been awarded £3.85 million by Defra as part of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The funding will kickstart a programme of work, worth over £4.7 million, to enhance nature and start to combat the effects of climate change in five of the most significant historic landscapes in our care.
Work at Dunham Massey is being carried out across the estate and beyond our boundaries, making improvements for both people and wildlife.
A traditional orchard will be created at Boundary Farm with 8ha of priority habitat grassland to increase biodiversity. This is one aspect of the wider tree planting ambition at Dunham Massey, where we intend to plant trees across the parkland and estate together with over 3,000m of hedgerows in partnership with City of Trees in order to capture carbon and create diverse habitats for nature to thrive.
By partnering with the Mersey Rivers Trust, we will restore species-rich wetlands, create reed beds, and support new habitats for wildlife.
Green Recovery work at Dunham will also help walkers to enjoy beautiful green spaces with better paths, benches and places to pause and look out at this very special estate.
We're also working with local residents in Broadheath and Partington to restore green spaces in Greater Manchester, providing much-needed community spaces for everyone to enjoy. In partnership with Trafford Housing Trust and Your Housing Group, we are delivering a series of engagement events, a youth ranger programme and practical volunteering to help people to connect with nature.
The Green Recovery team at Quarry Bank are focused on native species, meadow restoration, tree planting, and improving paths and access to help visitors enjoy this beautiful place.
Rangers at Quarry Bank are removing invasive, non-native Cherry Laurel and Rhododendron ponticum plants as part of this work. Although these have attractive spring flowers, they can crowd out other native plants and degrade habitats. But don’t worry – Quarry Bank’s celebrated heritage rhododendron collection will definitely be staying.
Elsewhere on the estate the team are planting a 4-acre woodland and improving fencing thanks to support from players of People's Postcode Lottery.
An important part of our work will make arable farmland more wildlife friendly by creating large field margins, adding organic matter back into the soil, planting in-field trees and improving hedgerows. We’re also enhancing the diversity of meadows and creating new wildlife-rich ponds.
And with support from volunteers, the project team are installing fencing, building new kissing gates, and improving path surfacing to make the Quarry Bank estate more accessible for everyone.
Thanks to Green Recovery funding and support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, our rangers and volunteers are delivering a series of watercourse management projects including leaky dams, gully blocking, tree planting and wet woodland creation. This will help to improve water quality and water habitats which will increase species diversity and ensure that the water leaving our land is in the best possible condition.
We will also remove invasive, non-native species of rhododendron at Lyme, this will be replaced with native broadleaf woodland which will benefit wildlife as well as reducing soil run off into watercourses and capturing carbon from the atmosphere.
While the primary aim of the work at Lyme is to improve water quality, it will also play a part in increasing resilience to the changing climate by capturing carbon and reducing flood risk.
A new chapter is being written in the legendary landscape around Alderley Edge, creating a wildflower meadow and restoring old ghost ponds thanks to Green Recovery funding.
In the field behind the car park at Alderley Edge, the grass has been cut back and Cheshire Wildlife Trust have harrowed the field and planted wildflower and grass seeds sourced from Cheshire meadows. At the moment the field looks a little bare, but in 2022 look out for wildflowers such as oxeye daisies, birdsfoot trefoil and common spotted orchids. Visitors will be able to enjoy seeing the wildflowers as they walk along the public footpath through the field.
Increasing the diversity of this meadow in this way and fencing it off to allow it to be occasionally grazed by livestock, as part of its natural upkeep, will create an excellent habitat for many species of insects and invertebrates.
West of Macclesfield Road at Alderley Edge there are several ponds across three fields. The fields are managed under a grazing license with only one field having a mains water supply. Due to this livestock drink from the ponds in the other fields. This reduces the wildlife and limits the water quality of these ponds.
Through restoration and better management, the ponds can become important habitats for aquatic wildlife, including plants, invertebrates, amphibians, fish, birds and mammals, and could act as stepping stones to allow species to move through the landscape. We'll be working with our grazier to improve and protect these ponds by adding a water supply to the other fields for the cattle, fencing the ponds to protect them and removing large trees that have fallen into the ponds.
Some of the historic ponds within these fields no longer hold water. These ‘ghost’ ponds will be re-excavated, ensuring that the contours of the original ponds are followed, and the historic pond sediment, and the seeds which this contains, will be left within the newly excavated ponds to help them flourish.
Over at Heswell Fields on the Wirral, we're planning to create a series of shallow scrapes, deeper standing water ponds and remove some scrub to create a more connected wetland habitat from the estuary to the adjacent fields. Late season grazing with Galloway cattle will keep the scrapes open and will add dung, which will benefit invertebrate populations and in turn provide food for other species. This will help to increase the biodiversity and benefit to local wildlife, in particular the many wading birds that visit the Dee Estuary RAMSAR site.