NATURE NOTES - A walk in the woods

‘IF you go down to the woods today you’re in for a big surprise’!

No it’s not a Teddy Bear’s Picnic but something much more useful. The Borsdane Friends Group have been successful in a Viridor bid that’s brought £30,000 for much needed access works to the woodland. Then add the £62,000 that Forestry Commission awarded Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust from their English Woodland Grant Scheme and we have had a significant amount to get the ancient woodland looking good. A partnership of Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust, Borsdane Friends Group and Lancashire Wildlife Trust has overseen all the works.

The money has allowed us to completely refurbish the whole of the linear path from the Aspull end through to the Hindley end and some of the side paths.

More importantly we have installed cross drains under the footpath to combat the problem with runoff water eroding the path as it has done in the past.

All the path work has been being carried out by Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust’s ProCo teams who successfully tendered and won the contract – so all the work has been carried out by Wigan people too!

If you are going through the wood stop and have a chat with the teams – they are a really friendly bunch and would love to tell you what they are up to. So with that amount of money a lot of other work has also being carried out.

You will notice a good number of trees are have been felled – all were dead, dying or diseased and unless felled could have been a real risk to visitors to the wood.

This work fits in with the management plan and new trees have been replanted to replace the ones we have lost.

Dead wood is vitally important in any woodland and we have lots of it in Borsdane and as long as it’s properly managed it is no problem.

So many animals and plants completely rely on dead wood either standing dead wood or fallen dead wood. One bird that uses standing dead wood to feed and nest is the great spotted woodpecker – a common resident in Borsdane.

If you are very observant you’ll find our ‘invertebrate log’ complete with carved beetles, bugs, dragonflies and butterfly.

All the critters ‘living’ on the log were suggested by the two local schools that use the wood as an outside classroom.

All the carvings are of animals or insects and will be the start of ‘art in the wood’ – more info on that in the future!

We were in the wood last week and everyone I spoke to were delighted with the improvements – an army of young pram pushing mothers gave the works 11 out of 10! Not bad eh!

We’ll also soon be installing some ‘interpretation boards’ explaining why Borsdane Wood Local Nature Reserve is so important and some of its special residents that can regularly be seen.

So if you have a couple of hours why not visit the wood and see why it’s one of the borough’s ‘Green Jewels.’