It's been a busy 2023 so far across Trafford! From tree planting, pathway and sign installation, balsam bashing and wildflower planting, we have pulled together stories from across Trafford that illustrate some of the brilliant work that has been taking place in our green spaces over the last 8 months
Since March 2023, City of Trees have hosted a number of volunteer days at Sale Water Park. In total, 80 volunteers and participants have donated nearly 300 hours of their time undertaking activities such as willow coppicing and blackthorn clearance to open up areas of the woodland and creating dead hedges with the cut material to form natural fencelines and new habitats on site. City of Trees also ran a bat box making day and hosted a balsam bash at the site.
Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) has rapidly become one of the UK’s most invasive weed species, colonising riverbanks, waste ground and damp woodlands. It successfully competes with native plant species for space, light, nutrients and pollinators, and excludes other plant species, thereby reducing native biodiversity.
At the start of September, we were joined by some wonderful volunteers at a sun-soaked Sale Water Park who got to work with ground preparation and shade removal for our wildflowers to be planted later in the month - if you'd like to join us for that then check out the details below:
TCV volunteers have been carrying out access improvement to Sale Water Park including building new benches, creation of a new accessible wellbeing walk with surfaced footpaths and installing signage to show people the way. The path is accessible from Sale Water Park tram stop and meanders through the woodland with time to stop and look for species like the heron fishing on Barrow Brook.
TCV have been working with local groups and people to ensure everyone knows about and can enjoy the new footpath and benches.
TCV have been engaging disabled people in all elements of the project including habitat management, path creation and enjoying using the path for nature connection. Thank you to groups including Trafford One 2 One, Trafford Choices, Pavilion Project and Brentwood School who have helped to improve the park.
The sessions have also seen veterans from Sale Sharks Forces get stuck into path building and people living with dementia from Age UK Trafford enjoying mindful nature walks along the new footpath.
Thank you to all those who took part in the Firs Wood, also known as Firs Plantation, community consultation. We are happy to announce that on behalf of Firs Community Centre, Our Sale West has successfully secured funding from the Greater Manchester Green Spaces Fund for the project, Firs Wood – The Forgotten Woodland!
This project has been driven by members of the community who want to restore this forgotten woodland into a rich wildlife haven, where the local community can connect with nature on their doorstep. Covering a one-year period, the project will focus on the creation of new signs; planting woodland and wetland bulbs and wildflowers; and, pruning and removing dangerous trees and invasive species. Check out the other community projects awarded funding through the GM Green Spaces Fund here.
Young people, aged 11-16, are getting active to conserve habitats and tackle climate change with TCV’s Environmental Youth Rangers. Activities at Longford Park and Sale Water Park will facilitate young people to make a positive environmental impact whilst improving their well-being through connection with nature.
TCV’s midweek group have been busy across the borough improving parks and local green spaces. Activities have included installing a kick rail at Worthington Park, creating a footpath at Turn Moss and building raised planters with Our Sale West. Volunteering is every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and TCV are always happy to welcome new faces. Find out more.
The Health in Nature Trafford Project facilitates Green Social Prescribing across Trafford. This TCV-led project has recently piloted two new green social prescribing activities in Trafford – Open Water Wellness with Open Swim and Fishing Sessions with Tackling Minds. Feedback from participants and referral organisations has been positive, highlighting the powerful impact that nature-based activities can have on improved mental health.
‘I have learnt new things and felt amazing after the sessions. The breathing exercises were really calming and I feel like I can use them outside the sessions to help with stress and anxiety. I feel more comfortable getting into the water and less scared. I’d like to come to more open swim sessions’ (Participant on Open Water Wellness Sessions)
To find out more about green social prescribing in Trafford click here
During February, City of Trees held 2 Citizen Forester days within the woodlands at Wellacre Country Park in Urmston. These were open events for public volunteers to spend two days undertaking woodland management to create healthier community woodlands.The works involved thinning out struggling trees to reduce overcrowding and increase the amount of light that can reach the woodland floor. This helps native ground plants to germinate and improve the overall biodiversity of the woodland.
City of Trees held a tree planting Citizen Forester Day in January this year at Green Hill in Wellacre Country Park, Urmston. Returning to a recently planted (in March 2021) plot of young trees, the group replaced any trees that had not been successful and secured the tree guards to provide protection from rabbits and deer.
City of Trees also held a tree planting day with AJ Bell at Grove Lane in March, replacing trees within a small woodland copse that had previously been planted on site in 2022, along with planting a number of larger, 5-yr-old standard trees across the site.
These trees are part of DEFRA’s Nature for Climate Fund which supports 10 of England’s Community Forests, including City of Trees, to deliver the ‘Trees for Climate’ programme of tree planting between 2020 and 2025.
In September, City of Trees will be returning with another corporate group to the young woodland planted at Woodsend Park in Urmston, to help maintain trees that were planted at the site in 2019 as part of the Northen Forest, a project aiming to plant over 50 million trees over 25 years, stretching from Liverpool across to Hull with the M62 as its spine.
City of Trees hosted a woodland management and wildflower planting event at Cobkiln Woodland in February 2023. This area of woodland is only accessible publicly on foot or bike, it is set back from main roads and is surrounded by further green space or foot paths. It had become crowded and overgrown due to low maintenance in the area.
Volunteer for the day Caitlin Whalen, said: “This was a fun change from working in the office all day and was quite therapeutic even though cutting down the trees was hard work”.
Agnes Allison, City of Trees Project Officer said: “A huge thank you to all the volunteers who came to Cobkiln Woods! The tree felling that everyone did has helped to thin the woodland and allows more light to reach the woodland floor. In time, this will create an improved environment for a variety of ground fauna and flora. The volunteers also did an amazing job at clearing dogwood that had become out of control, creating space for a more biodiverse woodland. Finally, everyone helped to plant 200 wildflowers which will provide a vibrant, nectar rich area for the bees. Thank you for helping City of Trees to achieve a greener, happier and healthier Greater Manchester.”
In May 2023, City of Trees hosted a volunteer day at Longford Quadrant opening up pathways and litter picking making the area feel safer. Longford Quadrant is situated in the middle of a roundabout and acts as an important green space for mitigating pollution and providing a nature rich, less urban walk over the roundabout.
Do you want to get out into nature but not sure how? How about getting out and about with a tree trail?
Longford Park Tree Trail
Longford Park is located on the border between Stretford and Chorlton cum Hardy, South Manchester. Follow the map and see if you can identify all 18 trees listed - each will have a hidden fairy door! Click here for more information and to download/print the trail, the map is also available at the Longford Park Café.
Worthington Park Tree Trail
Worthington Park is located at the end of Cheltenham Drive in the centre of Sale.
Explore the park using trees as your wayfinders! Click here to access the Tree Trail leaflet online or download a version.
We’re gearing up for another busy autumn and winter season across Trafford! We will get back to you with all the action and hard work in another blog come the end of the winter season!