24 January 2017
An innovative project to restore nature in places where heavy industry ruled for more than a century has received a grant of almost £2million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
‘The Carbon Landscape – Restoring Great Manchester Wetlands to the Community’, led by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust and 12 other partners and stakeholders, including City of Trees, will revitalise a landscape left devastated by decades of coal-mining and peat extraction.
The five year scheme will work to restore key habitats and reconnect local people with their unique natural heritage, preserving it for future generations.
A major regeneration programme
The major regeneration programme covers former Lancashire coalfields and mosslands and riverside environments around Wigan, Salford and Warrington, including nine SSSIs, eight local nature reserves and nationally important habitats for species including the water vole and lapwing. The area is the only significant gap in the Merseyside to Manchester urban belt.
A total of 22 targeted projects will work to combat threats facing the landscape, creating an integrated network of wetland habitats to support species and migration, and carrying out wildlife surveys to strengthen ecological networks and climate change resilience.
Daveen Wallis, Head of People and Wildlife at the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said: “This project has seen local organisations come together to protect and enhance these areas. It’s fantastic to see such teamwork. With the support of HLF, we believe we can now take the project to the next level and really make a lasting impact over the next five years.”
City of Trees
City of Trees are delivering two areas of The Carbon Landscape project. Carbon Clever will engage with school children to inspire them to learn how the landscape was formed, how it shaped peoples’ lives and how it is being reimagined as a huge community asset. There will be a variety of classroom and outdoor-based learning in fun and imaginative ways.
Carbon Creative will encourage people to get out and explore the Carbon Landscape and come back with stories, ideas, songs and poems that the landscape has inspired. A resident artist will fine tune this creativity and will help form a number of exhibitions telling the story of The Carbon Landscape and what it means to people today.
Reconnecting the community to their natural heritage
A key part of the joined up vision for the Great Manchester Wetlands is helping to instil a sense of pride and ownership in the local community through improving limited access to the site.
A Landscape Traineeship Scheme will be created, alongside other volunteering and training opportunities. The formation of a ‘Carbon Trail’ walking route will stress the important role carbon plays in the area’s creation, exploitation and restoration.
Nathan Lee, Head of HLF North West, said: “The Carbon Landscape is a pioneering project in landscape restoration and we’re delighted that, thanks to National Lottery players, we can support Lancashire Wildlife Trust to preserve these important wetlands. There are over a quarter of a million people living in wards next to this diverse landscape so we were impressed by the project’s strong vision to reconnect local people with their rich natural heritage, creating opportunities and a sense of pride in the local area.”