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Celebrating Resilient River Valleys

April 20, 2023

In March, we wrapped up our final Resilient River Valleys event which has been supported by the Green Recovery Challenge Fund for the past two years…

Across 56 events, we set out to reconnect individuals to their green & blue spaces whilst taking action to address the climate emergency. We want to say a big thank you for helping us achieve our project goals and making Manchester’s greenspaces a better place for wildlife and people. Lets look at a snapshot of what we have achieved in with the project this year…

  • 1.6 Ha of invasive species removed
  • 1624 wildflowers planted
  • 4 Ha of ponds and ditches managed across the sites
  • 288 children engaged
  • 312 volunteers/1480 volunteer hours
  • 331 bags of rubbish collected

In total we managed 13ha in Wythenshawe and 7ha at Outwood, together that’s more than 28 football pitches worth of healthier woodland. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at what we got up to in Wythenshawe and Bury…

Outwood, Bury

Outwood Country Park was our key site in Bury and the improvements to the area have been vast thanks to the help of so many amazing volunteers that joined us throughout the project. One of the biggest tasks was tackling invasive species – particulary removing Himalayan balsam. We also carried out woodland thinning works which improved the sustainability of the woodland and protects the rare heathland habitat on site.

It wasn’t all woodland management …our volunteers in Bury got creative at Outwood with a willow weaving workshop. We also switched our attention to the small but mighty array of Fungi on site through a guided Fungi walk, learning about the amazing role it plays in our woodland ecosystems. All of this work will increase the biodiversity of the woodlands and it means local communities can find more joy in their green spaces. In February, the City of Trees team also hosted an extra special team day within Outwood Park, installing 4 leaky dams which are still standing tall. The leaky dams will naturally slow the flow of our rivers and streams – this is particularly important when we have heavy rainfall (as we do…) as water will be stored in the landscape, preventing flooding but also creating a brilliant habitat for insects and birds.

Wythenshawe woodlands

As well as Outwood Park in Bury, the Resilient River Valleys project managed 5 woodland sites across Wythenshawe. All of the sites sat within at the heart of residential Wythenshawe and it was brilliant to get so many members of the community involved in the project, whether this be local residents or existing community groups. Our volunteers got stuck into all elements of woodland management from path clearance, wildflower planting to habitat creation  and invasive species removal. We engaged our aquatic side too – diving headfirst into pond management including duckweed removal, litter picking improving our wetlands habitats.

big part of this project was working with local children through groups like The Scouts. It was amazing to get the children out in nature to further their knowledge of species as well as how nature connects to wellbeing.

“Our local woods are in so much better shape thanks to the hard work of City of Trees . Taking part in today’s event at Princes Spinney gave me a chance to see this wood for the first time, which I am very grateful for. I loved that your volunteers came from all over Greater Manchester, discovering Wythenshawe’s nature sites they probably wouldn’t have known existed.” – Grace, Wythenshawe Waste Warriors

City of Trees had the opportunity to work with a small group of refugees & asylum seekers as part of the Treescapes project with Manchester Met Uni on our Wythenshawe sites. The volunteers ranged from 16-18 years old from both Ethiopia and Eritrea and have been living in Manchester for around a year. They had the opportunity to learn new skills and shared that they felt reconnected with skills and memories from gardening and planting activities from previous homes and the chance to leave a legacy through planting the wildflowers.

Finally our project aimed not just to bring wildlife improvements, but to benefit the wellbeing of the people taking part in the project. We really hope these sessions have benefitted you whether it’s through the physical activity, meeting new people, spending time outside, helping nature or all of the above!

We hope this has given you a flavour of what has been achieved throughout the project this year and highlighted the long-lasting impact Resilient River Valleys will have for our communities across Greater Manchester. So again, thank you so much for getting out into your local woodlands and making such a big impact. It’s been great to work with and meet all of our volunteers and hopefully see  you all out and about soon.

Find out more from out project partners by visiting the Mersey River Trust webpage.