Wildlife conservation project celebrates its achievements in Wigan

Those who have been running a National Heritage Lottery-funded project across Greater Manchester wetlands enjoyed a day of celebration at Wigan’s Old Courts to reflect on their achievements.

By Holly Pritchard
Friday, 6th May 2022, 12:30 pm

Carbon Landscape, which began in 2017, held the event to take a look back at its conservation efforts across tracts of post-indutrial land over the last five years, as it now draws to a close.

It hosted local artists, a poet-in-residence, guest speakers, commissioned art exhibitions, as well as all involved in the project, which was put together to make people more aware of their natural surroundings and encourage them to get out and explore them.

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A day of celebrations held for achievements of Carbon Landscape held at The Old Courts, Wigan.

The project covered wetland areas across Wigan, as well as sections of Salford and Warrington, which were once used for coal mining and peat extraction as well as for agriculture, which meant it had been a forbidding landscape, but these areas have now been reclaimed by nature.

There are a total of 13 partners involved in the Carbon Landscape project such as the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and conservation organisations such as Natural England and the Woodland Trust, along with local authorities and community groups which all worked together to execute it.

Becky Royce, asssist and communications officer and support at the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said: "Our project had three main aims: it was about getting people out into greenspaces, making them aware that they have them and it was also about supporting people in helping them to know how they can better look after these wildlife areas.

“To celebrate, we’ve got lots of displays up which we have commissioned by artists, we’ve also got a wonderful boat trip along the canal so we can see the areas in which we have been working to conservate while we enjoy a delicious “bog-brownie” at the same time, because some of our habitat is pretty boggy.

Poet, Clare Shaw at a day of celebrations held for achievements of Carbon Landscape held at The Old Courts, Wigan.

“In five years, you can forget all the work that you have done, this event allows us to look back and remember all the hard work and effort we have put in.

“When you realise the impact you’ve had and how many people have been involved, it’s such a postive thing.

“A major part of our project was to get people engaged in it, run events and get them outdoors and the Covid-19 pandemic put a damper on that, but we overcame it with things like, online workshops, and we’re really proud.”

Poet in residence Claire Shaw said: “Being the resident poet introduced me to green areas that I didn’t even know about and has given me a depth of knowledge in the history of the communities and those landscapes.

From left, Clare Shaw, Oliver Bishop and Joanne Trippett on stage

“The work is all about the stories which are embedded in those areas both past and present.

“When we restore landscapes, we also kind of restore ourselves and so there was a lot of mental health resonance within that work too.

“The lockdowns brought people outside and into nature, they suddenly became a lot more aware of things like birdsong and so it was a really good time for it."

Artist Mario Popham with his work on display
Artist Joe Roper
A day of celebrations held for achievements of Carbon Landscape held at The Old Courts, Wigan.