Bringing site back to life with thousands of trees and shrubs

Volunteers have helped plant thousands of trees and shrubs
Volunteers have helped plant thousands of trees and shrubs

A staggering 3,000 shrubs and trees were planted by volunteers over winter in a community effort to improve a former coal mine’s diversity.

From November to March, 40 volunteers and primary school children got involved with the huge planting effort that will help transform Bickershaw Country Park and create lasting benefits for wildlife and people.

Young volunteers hard at work

Young volunteers hard at work

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Hamish Jeffreson, assistant engagement officer with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said: “This planting season has been a really positive step for Bickershaw. Getting members of the community involved as well as local school children will make a big difference to the health and longevity of the site moving forwards.

“I can’t thank our partners City Of Trees enough for the hard work they have put into the project. Woodlands officer Andy Long has been enthusiastic from the word go and I’m really looking forward to getting more community members involved next season.”

Bickershaw was once a completely different landscape to how it looks now. Previously an old colliery, the site now forms part of a network of former industrial sites that are becoming nature havens under the Greenheart project – a project to connect communities and their local environment by enhancing quality of green spaces and access to them.

The planting effort will create a much more diverse woodland that will provide new habitats for species such as willow tit, Britain’s fastest declining bird.

Due to the nature of the site, habitat restoration has to be carefully planned leaving large open areas to develop and improve grass and wetland habitats whilst also maintaining areas of good quality woodland near the periphery that link up with existing tree areas.

As the trees mature, they will build up a rich variety of insects, fungi and plants and there will be opportunities for woodland specialists such as woodpecker, tree creeper and tree roosting bat species to find a home at Bickershaw.

Mr Long said: “It has been wonderful working with the volunteers over the winter – their hard work and enthusiasm has seen 3,000 trees and shrubs planted, enhancing the landscape and providing new opportunities for wildlife. The response has been really positive.”