Ex-industry eco-masterplan

Delegates at the Carbon Landscape launch
Delegates at the Carbon Landscape launch

An ambitious project which aims to transform the skyline of Wigan, Salford and Warrington has been launched.

The Carbon Landscape will restore nature to areas transformed by industries like coal-mining, peat extraction and iron and steel production and includes further improvements to Wigan flashes and Chat Moss at Astley.

While much of that industry has closed down and work has already been going on for decades to create green areas, the Carbon Landscape aims to connect these areas and get people involved in the restoration work.

The £3.2m Heritage Lottery-funded project was launched at Lancashire Mining Museum in Astley, where the last pit wheel in Lancashire still stands as a monument to the industry that ruled the region.

The Carbon Landscape programme manager Anna Hetterley said: “The heritage that this project focuses on is the natural and man-made heritage left behind after the closure of the Lancashire Coalfields and other extractive industries, such as peat and clay extraction. Collectively, we refer to this landscape as the Carbon Landscape.

“The Carbon Landscape is changing the way in which we approach landscapes and communities in Wigan, Salford and Warrington. Twenty-two interlinked projects will provide a forward-thinking and effective programme with lasting benefits for local communities and wildlife.

“Whilst this area undoubtedly has a rich heritage, both natural and man-made, the opportunities that this landscape can provide within a heavily urbanised area are largely missed. The

Carbon Landscape will enhance and connect up the restoration of this landscape, altered by industry, creating and improving nationally significant habitats and reconnecting local people with the heritage and wealth of opportunities for enjoyment and learning on their doorstep.”

The project aims to restore more than 130 hectares of habitat, train more than 1,000 volunteers, enthuse 4,500 members of the public and offer free education to 40 schools.

The projects include the Carbon Trail, a route linking wild space in between urban areas; Carbon Volunteers, getting people involved in improving the landscape and the Mossland Gateway to improve pedestrian and cyclist assess to Chat Moss.

Other plans include activities for all ages, an educational programme for schools, physical and online interpretation of the landscape and wildlife monitoring. There will be improvements to sites like Wigan Flashes, Hey Brook in Wigan, Risley Moss, Woolsten Eyes and Paddington Meadows in Warrington.