Our work in the outdoors at Quarry Bank

Staff and volunteers planting trees at Quarry Bank

From maintaining and growing our woodland, to creating new habitats for wildlife, our rangers and volunteers at Quarry Bank go to extraordinary lengths to look after nature across 580 acres of the estate. With lots going on behind the scenes, find out more about our recent work, including our part in Countryfile’s ‘Plant Britain’ initiative.

It’s no coincidence that Quarry Bank was built in the picturesque river valley you'll find it sitting in today – the River Bollin provided the vital energy source, powering the mill which was the beating heart of this industrial community. In today’s world, the surrounding landscape at Quarry Bank is just as important but for different reasons – it provides a vital place where nature, wildlife and people can thrive.

Over 580 acres of woodland, countryside and river make up the estate at Quarry Bank and the work we do here directly supports the National Trust's ambitions to tackle the twin threats of the climate crisis and the catastrophic decline in the natural environment. At Quarry Bank this includes:

  • Improving and creating a mosaic of habitats for wildlife through the introduction of new wildflower meadows and ponds
  • Creating dozens of hectares of new woodland which helps with the restoration of nature, provides greater access to green spaces for people, as well as supporting in the fight against climate change through carbon sequestration
  • Carrying out regular species surveys to see the benefits of our work and help us identify where we need to take further steps to help wildlife thrive

At Quarry Bank we are very fortunate to be on the boundary of Manchester with a population of over 2.5 million people – we have a great opportunity to better connect people with nature through our work. We want as many people as possible to get involved and benefit from the natural environment at Quarry Bank.

Our projects and work
Matt Baker plants the first saplings in a brand new Countryfile Wood for Plant Britain, in association with the National Trust.

Countryfile Wood at Quarry Bank

In November 2020 the first saplings were planted in a brand new Countryfile Wood at Quarry Bank, which will be open for all to visit. The wood is part of Countryfile’s ‘Plant Britain’ initiative – an ambitious two-year project to inspire the nation to do its bit for the planet and the environment in the face of the challenges of climate change. Over 3600 trees have been planted in the Countryfile Wood at Quarry Bank so far including native broadleaves; oak, birch, hornbeam, sweet chestnut (plus many more native species) to make a classic English lowland wood. This two-year project will continue through to Autumn 2022, with inspirational Spring and Autumn specials of the programme focussed on seasonal planting, as well as Summer and Winter catch-ups to watch this project grow. Keep an eye on our social media channels for more updates on the project.

Corporate group tree planting at Bank House Farm, Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire

Playing our part in tackling climate change and helping nature

In 2020, the National Trust announced plans to plant 20 million trees over the next decade to create 6,000 ha of new woodland by 2025 and a further 12,000 ha by 2030. Our ambitious plans will help us to tackle the twin threats of the climate crisis and the catastrophic decline in the natural environment. At Quarry Bank, we’re playing our part by planting 40,000 trees across 3 farms on the estate over the next 3 to 4 winters.

A sapling tree being planted

Saving our native Black Poplars 

We’re working in partnership with Chester Zoo to introduce Black Poplars at Quarry Bank - the UK’s rarest timber. Of the 7,000 that remain in the UK, the majority are female. The project encourages the planting of males and females in places where seed might survive in the future – this includes Quarry Bank. In time, our Lead Ranger hopes that we can expand the programme into other National Trust properties and places in Cheshire so the Black Poplars thrive.

Great crested newt on the beach

Creating habitats for creatures great and small

What started as project to create 6 new ponds, resulted in the creation of 12 thanks to a partnership with Cheshire Wildlife Trust. The ponds have improved our local habitats for Great Crested Newts and other species as well as helping with drainage to prevent flooding in heavy rain. What’s more, the ponds are also playing a part in our Black Poplar project with a male and female tree planted next to 6 of the ponds which should dramatically increase the chances of the trees reproducing over the coming years. Our work doesn’t just stop there though – our rangers have already identified a number of locations on the estate where an additional 20+ ponds could be dug.

Explore our woodlands and estate this autumn

Derek Hatton

Nature's greatest show

Nature puts on its greatest show in autumn, painting the woodland landscape in hues of fiery red, golden yellow and warm copper tones. Over in Chapel Woods, beech trees are one of the earliest trees to turn, followed by sycamores, oaks and ash trees. Search for fallen conkers from the horse chestnut trees and look out for fungi making an appearance after wet weather.

Nuthatch in the woodlands at Quarry Bank

Winter wildlife

With fewer leaves on the trees now is the perfect time to spot winter wildlife who call Quarry Bank their home. There are plenty of robins and blue tits about, searching for food to keep them warm through the colder months. Some birds even join us from as far away as Russia and Iceland, and if you’re really luck you may even catch a glimpse of a redwing or fieldfare.