Caring for nature and wildlife at Speke Hall
Speke Hall is home to a whole world of precious flora and fauna that we're proud to care for. Find out how we're helping nature at this special place and learn how you can help nature yourself at home.
Follow us on social media @NTSpekeHall to enjoy photos, news and behind the scenes access to the work we do. Don't forget to tag us or use #SpekeHall to share your own nature adventures here with us.
A new woodland for Speke
In March 2022, community groups and volunteers planted over 1,200 trees on Speke Hall's estate to improve habitats, store carbon, and help bring people closer to nature. From local schools and businesses to officers from Merseyside Police, as well as our own volunteers and staff, nearly 150 people have helped make this woodland a reality.
A bigger and better home for nature
Several tree species have been planted, including oak, scots pine and birch, which have been chosen to complement the native species already on the estate. This is important as we know they will be able to tolerate the soil and weather conditions. The woodland will support a variety of wildlife, particularly birds, who already enjoy a safe haven in Speke Hall’s woodlands and the adjacent Speke and Garston Coastal Reserve. We hope smaller birds such as tits, finches and warblers will benefit alongside mammals and bats, which will all be able to feed on the variety of insects attracted to the area.
The Mersey Forest
The woodland has been planted in partnership with The Mersey Forest, one of England’s Community Forests, which has been growing a network of woodlands and green spaces across Cheshire and Merseyside for 30 years. Speke Hall is one of hundreds of sites across the area that are being planted as part of the national Trees for Climate programme, a multi-million-pound woodland creation project, part of the Government-led Nature for Climate Fund.
Paul Nolan, director of The Mersey Forest, said: “Speke Hall is one of many sites across the country being planted this year as part of the national Trees for Climate programme. These trees will play their part helping the country tackle climate change with this new woodland storing 430 tonnes of carbon over the next 100 years. The wider range of benefits include reducing flood risk, supporting increased public access to woodland and creating more places for nature to thrive.”
Restoring the Speke Hall estate
Speke Hall sits in an unusual position surrounded by industrial estates and Liverpool John Lennon Airport, but it obviously wasn't always this way. In the early twentieth-century, the estate was vast in size, but after the death of the Hall's last owner Adelaide Watt in 1921, most of it was subsequently sold to the Liverpool Corporation to create the new town of Speke.
Our area ranger, Ian Ford area ranger, said: “Historically, the field where the woodland is being planted was once part of the existing-Clough woodland. It was then used for agricultural purposes, with the last recorded crop of winter oats in 1920, so it’s wonderful to see this area being restored to what it was centuries ago."
By visiting Speke Hall, becoming a member, donating or volunteering, your support will help us continue to care for the new woodland as it grows. Thank you.
Flora and fauna you'll find here
There are plenty of feathered friends that call Speke Hall home, from swallows and swifts to robins and goldfinches. Why not dig out those old binoculars and tell us what you can spot?
You're likely to spot bees enjoying many of the colourful flowers in Speke's gardens, including cuckoo bees, honey bees and wild bees. Near the Kitchen Garden, we look after several hives crucial to Speke's ecosystem.
Some of the typical types of butterfly you'll spot at Speke include peacocks, red admirals and small tortoiseshells amongst others. They particularly enjoy wildflowers, ivy and holly.
From the hidden delights of the Secret Garden to the row upon row of colour in the Kitchen Garden, Speke Hall is filled with beautiful flowers. Daffodils, bluebells, rhododendrons... and so much more.
Often hidden from visitors, there are a variety of bats that call Speke home, including pipistrelles, nocutles and Daubenton's bats. Look up and you may spot a bat box or two in the trees.