Wythenshawe woodland turns from ‘gloom’ to ‘bloom’

12 July 2017

Urban oasis Gorse Covert in the South Manchester suburb of Wythenshawe has been nominated for a North West in Bloom award.

The blighted woodland suffered from fly tipping and was unused and unloved, as well as being considered unsafe by residents.

For the past year leading environmental charity City of Trees has been working alongside the community to bring the woodland back into use for local people, with support from Stewart Milne Homes.

They hosted clean-up days, removing over 7 tonnes of rubbish, planted new trees as well as hundreds of spring bulbs attracting urban wildlife and boosting biodiversity.

City of Trees also worked alongside children from St Elizabeth’s primary school, adjacent to the woodland, involving them in educational sessions both in the classroom and in Gorse Covert. The children also produced artwork which was featured on new signage, installed this summer.

Pictured: Pupils from St Elizabeth's RC Primary School who did a litterpick on the day of the judging.

Pete Stringer, City of Trees, comments – “The work we’ve done here has truly transformed this woodland." He adds; “By demonstrating the importance of this local greenspace for both people and the environment, we’re hoping to ensure its long term protection and preservation.” 

The project has been entered into this year’s RHS ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood Category’, part of the North West in Bloom Awards, which encourages local communities to improve and care for their local environment.

The competition is based on RHS core themes and aims to promote a sense of community and fun.

Mel Kirby, a representative for North West in Bloom comments “This year’s theme set by the RHS is Wildlife and Biodiversity and the woodland will be a perfect fit for this criteria”.

The Gorse Covert project is supported by Stewart Milne Homes, which has several developments across the North West. The housebuilder is working with City of Trees as part of its RUBY (regenerating urban back yards) campaign to improve run-down community spaces.

Stewart Milne has allocated resources and support towards the Gorse Covert project, as well as materials and people to carry out the improvements required.

Paul Challinor, managing director of Stewart Milne Homes North West England, said: “As a house builder we know that community spaces like the woodland at Wythenshawe can have a big impact on the lives of those in the local area. Our RUBY campaign aims to regenerate spaces which need a bit of attention and build stronger, better resourced communities across the regions we work in. We look forward to working with the Gorse Covert project team over the coming weeks and months and supporting the upgrade of the woodland at Wythenshawe.”

The judging for the North West in Bloom awards took place on Wednesday 12 July with levels 1 – 2 being awarded Bronze, Level 3 Silver, Level 4 Silver Gilt and Level 5 Gold.

The awards are announced in Southport in the first week in November.

The Gorse Covert project is being supported by leading housebuilder Stewart Milne Group, Manchester City Council, Real Food Wythenshawe, Tesco Bags of Help and Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and Back on Track.

In addition to the work by City of Trees, Manchester City Council has been working to improve the stream through the woodland as part of Manchester’s Clean City project to create a greener, cleaner Manchester, www.manchester.gov.uk/cleancity.