Railway grot spot to be turned into oasis complete with beehives

Wigan Community Rail has been awarded funding to transform redundant plot next to the West Coast Main Line with a wildflower meadow.
Devon Wall of Network Rail and Shelley Wright from the Swan and RailwayDevon Wall of Network Rail and Shelley Wright from the Swan and Railway
Devon Wall of Network Rail and Shelley Wright from the Swan and Railway

The Meadow Project, funded by Avanti West Coast, aims to create a wildflower meadow at Wigan North Western station next to the Swan and Railway pub with beehives to help bees and support the production of honey. The land for the meadow is being used with the permission and support of Network Rail.

Delivered by Wigan Community Rail with volunteer support, the scheme will provide a unique opportunity for community involvement. Avanti West Coast has contributed £17,770 to the project, as part of its commitment to making a difference in the communities it serves.

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Dr Steph Dermott, from South East Lancashire Community Rail Partnership South East Lancashire Community Rail Partnership, said: “The population of bees in the UK is declining quite rapidly with disastrous consequences forecast. Creating a town centre wildflower meadow area with some hives will provide a habitat for both wild and domestic bees which will be a step towards saving them. Shortages of local honey from Wigan hives for health benefits is another driving factor for this project.”

The meadow will be enhanced with low growing fruit bushes and three hives, with the honey produced sold to aid the health of local hay fever sufferers.

Further transformation of the space will involve construction of a free-standing living wall behind the recently renovated pub’s beer garden, where herbs and edible flowers will be grown.

Swan and Railway boss Shelley Wright said: “Everyone is thrilled that Avanti West Coast are supporting this project. We’re all about turning the Swan, a beautiful traditional Victorian pub standing immediately opposite Wigan North Western Station, back to its former glory providing a warm welcome to the town. We look forward to you trying some Swan and Railway honey from the beehives!”

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