Skip to content

Planting a new woodland for Speke

Several spades in a wheelbarrow standing on grass, at East Riddlesden Hall, West Yorkshire
Speke's local community dug in to create a new woodland | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

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."

Thank you

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.

A view over the South Garden at Speke Hall with the timber-framed house in the background

Our work in the garden and on the estate at Speke Hall 

Discover how we care for the garden and estate at Speke Hall and how we’re helping wildlife including bees and butterflies to thrive.

A family at Speke Hall, Liverpool

Speke Hall neighbours' pass 

This pass scheme is available to residents of Speke and some parts of Garston. With the pass, you and your family will be able to visit Speke Hall for free throughout the year.

The South Range of the house with black & white timberwork at Speke Hall, Merseyside. The Rose garden is in the foreground.

Exploring the garden and estate at Speke Hall 

From peaceful strolls through colourful borders, to adventures in the woodland and spotting wildlife in the secret garden, there's plenty of seasonal joy to find at Speke Hall.

Volunteer room guide speaking with visitors in the Great Hall at Speke Hall, Liverpool

Volunteering opportunities at Speke Hall 

Discover volunteering opportunities at Speke Hall, from bringing the story of this special place to life as a room guide to getting your hands dirty with the garden team.