ONE of Wigan’s faded landmarks is to undergo a much-needed facelift to create an educational centre.
For the last few years, the once popular swan pond at Haigh Hall has become overgrown and barely used but new plans unveiled today promise to bring it back to its former glory.
The Friends of Haigh Hall (FOHCP), Wigan Leisure Culture Trust and local ward councillors Chris Ready, John Hilton and Ron Conway have all been involved in negotiations and planning.
And Wigan Council biodiversist Graham Workman said: “Wigan’s woodlands and wetlands are probably the most important in Greater Manchester.
“When you get a wetland within a woodland it makes it doubly important. Working with FOHCP, we are developing the original swan pond into a resource for education and bio-diversity.
“The sluice system has been repaired and the pond has been drained. We’ve commissioned a contractor that will come in and remove strategic areas of aquatic vegetation that has been choking the pond and some marginal vegetation.
“This is phase one. Phase two will look at having proper pond-dipping platforms installed for children and an area behind them that will be study areas with proper benches so students can sit down right at the side of the pond.
“It’s a fantastic project and steps up the importance of Haigh woodland park as a visitor destination and also a resource to showcase Wigan’s massive bio-diversity value. Now, we have unusual birds that will be nesting on the pond with the work.
“People can go there and see a number of wildfowl on the water but also rarer birds which are always about such as kingfhishers.”
The initial phase, which includes cleaning out the weeds and repairing the walls which have become derelict, has to be completed by the end of February so it doesn’t impact on the bird breeding and amphibian season.
It is hoped that the whole project will be ready in time for the summer school holidays.
Coun Ready said: “This project will not only enhance the park but will also provide educational facilities such as a pond dipping platform, with new pathways for disabled access, along with a picnic area for the enjoyment of the public.”
John Hulme from FOHCP added: “Our local ward councillors have helped towards this project by kindly donating monies from their Brighter Borough funding and their time helping out at Haigh.
“Work has now started on the first phase of the Swan Pond.”