Nearly 40 hectares of fen habitat lying between Wigan and Leigh have been improved as the result of efforts by volunteers from Lancashire Wildlife Trust. Made possible thanks to a £49,000 grant from Enovert Community Trust, the 'Fenscape' project has created a corridor of fen habitats in the Greenheart Country Park which will improve habitats for wildlife.
The project, a partnership between Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Wigan Council, Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles and United Utilities has seen extensive areas of fen habitats re-wetted, while groundworks have created ditches to enhance water retention in lakes and reedbeds. Willow scrub has been removed as part of the extensive habitat management programme, which has restored and improved the wet grasslands.
The project, which received match funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of its 'Carbon Landscape' programme, has also sought to raise awareness of the importance of wet grassland habitats through training courses and volunteering days. Indeed, volunteers have played a major role in the Fenscape project, contributing more than 500 volunteer days with a value of more than £25,000 to date.
Daveen Wallis, Head of People and Wildlife at Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said: "As a low-lying marshy area, the Greenheart fens support a diverse range of wildlife species. Fenscape is one of our flagship projects, focussing on improving accessible public land and raising awareness within the community to increase the use, appreciation and ownership of the area by local people.
"Through the Fenscape project, we have improved connections to create a corridor of fen habitats between Wigan and Leigh, that will bring huge benefits for biodiversity by increasing the available habitat in the fen landscape area."
Angela Haymonds, Trust Secretary at Enovert Community Trust, said: "The Trustees were delighted to support this project, which has brought about impressive improvements to the habitats and biodiversity in the Greenheart Fen Landscape area.
"The project has done a fantastic job of engaging local people to take an active role in the management of the site, which will strengthen a sense of responsibility and shared ownership while improving the health and wellbeing of those involved."