Working in Wythenshawe’s woodlands

23 January 2020

City of Trees has teamed up with partners across the area to unlock the historic heritage of 5 woodlands in the garden city of Wythenshawe.

A Woodland Future for all

The ‘Woodland Futures’ project was awarded funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in 2017, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

City of Trees has been working with residents, schools and local groups such as Wythenshawe History Group across the 5 woodlands; Sandilands Wood; The Brundrit, Ash Wood, Big Wood and Park Wood.

Learners from charity Back on Track, a charity working with disadvantaged adults, have also been involved - making bird boxes, bug hotels, undertaking tree ID and learning new ‘green’ skills.


City of Trees have also engaged with Styal Prison, undertaking classroom sessions in the prison itself as well as doing some tree work on site.

Since the project began a total of 440 trees have been planted, as well as 1,600 woodland wildflowers including wood anemone, ramsons and lesser celandine and over 3kg of wildflower seed sown.

Volunteers have also helped with litter picking and ‘TLC’ events to help bring the old woodlands back to their former glory.

Andy Long, Woodlands Officer comments; “From woodland walks, to foraging, family sessions and even a mindfulness event we’ve aimed to re-connect the community to these amazing natural assets.

He adds; “The practical improvements not only benefit people but also wildlife. These wonderful woodlands are home to foraging bats, foxes, owls and woodpeckers.

Unlocking a historic heritage

The woodlands are part of the rich history of the area and are relics of the major rural estates of Tatton and Massey which dominated the landscape from the 13th to 19th centuries. Some of the oldest trees are believed to date back until the mid-1700s.

For hundreds of years the historic 15th century, Grade 2 listed Wythenshawe Hall and most of the land in that area was privately owned, but there was a desperate need to house the city’s booming population. The land was purchased by the ‘Manchester Corporation’ and what used to be farmland was transformed into one of the largest housing estates in Europe.

Wythenshawe was intended as a ‘garden city’ where people could be rehoused away from industrial Manchester and breathe in clean air.

Four of the five sites have been woodlands for hundreds of years and are part of the legacy of the former wooded, agricultural and parkland landscape that existed before the rapid expansion of Manchester’s southern suburbs from the 1920’s onwards.

Future plans

The project finishes at the end of September 2020. By then we will have; planted hundreds of trees and thousands of wildflowers, boosted biodiversity and helped make the woodlands places people can feel safe in and enjoy.

We will also have passed on skills and woodland management knowledge, encouraging local residents to get involved so they can maintain the woodland for future generations.

If you are interested in getting involved and supporting this project contact Andy Long –