Wythenshawe Woods historic heritage to be revealed

18 September 2017.

City of Trees wins National Lottery support for their Woodland Futures project.

Leading environmental charity City of Trees has received initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for ‘Woodland Futures’ which aims to restore the heritage of historic woodlands in Wythenshawe.

Made possible by National Lottery players, the funding boost has been awarded to help City of Trees progress their plans and apply for a full grant at a later date.

City of Trees plans to engage with residents to explore the unique heritage of these woodlands which are relics of the major rural estates, Tatton and Massey, which dominated the landscape from the 13th to 19th centuries.

The project will focus on three heritage woodlands, which are a small but representative sample of these rural estate woodlands; Sandilands Wood; The Brundrit and Ash Wood, bringing them back into use for the benefit of both the environment and people.

These important woodlands in Wythenshawe, which is a priority area for funding for the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), are in urgent need of TLC and with the support of HLF they will be restored, making them safe and turning them into local assets.

The project will focus on re-connecting local communities to the woodland so they feel ownership, as well as preserve and protect the trees for future generations.

Woodland Futures will also celebrate the natural heritage; the biodiversity, flora and fauna of the woodlands as well as the social heritage, exploring links to the history of the garden city movement.

In addition the project will provide opportunities for people who want to develop their skills, improve their confidence and general wellbeing with City of Trees, charity Back on Track and HMP Styal coming together to explore the idea of volunteer action groups.

The project builds on the success of City of Trees’ Gorse Covert project which saw an unused, unloved woodland transformed into a community and educational resource.

Jess Thompson, City of Trees comments: “Wythenshawe comes from Anglo-Saxon “Withigensceaga” meaning ‘small wood of withy (willow) trees’ – so the area has always had a special connection to trees and woods”. We want to restore, manage and celebrate Wythenshawe’s special woodland heritage as living monuments to its garden city roots and previous grand rural estates”.

She goes onto say; “The hope is that this initial valuable piece of work can be scaled up to benefit even more woodlands and local people, providing an innovative model of community woodland management”.

Siobhan Pollitt, Chief Executive of Back on Track, says: “We are absolutely delighted to be a part of this. We were involved in the Gorse Covert project and our service users were so proud of the way they helped to transform the area. We’re sure that this new project will have a really positive effect on people’s wellbeing, as well as creating fantastic new assets for local communities to enjoy.”

Eddie Tarry, Community Engagement Manager for HMPPS & YOI Styal adds; “This is an excellent opportunity for some of the women to engage in a purposeful activity and give something back not only to the local community but the environment as a whole. “Women who engage in these kind of projects fully enjoy the experience which helps build their confidence, self-esteem and gives them a better understanding of what environmental projects are all about”.

Picture: Pupil from St. Elzabeth's Primary School in Gorse Covert.