New wildflower meadow developed by Woolston New Cut Heritage and Ecology Trail Group

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A new wildflower meadow created by the Woolston New Cut Heritage and Ecology Trail Group is proving hugely popular with visitors and providing a boost for Urban Ecology.

The New Cut Heritage and Ecology Trail Group, based around the abandoned former Mersey and Irwell navigation’s New Cut Canal, took on their most ambitious project yet to create a new 30-hectare wildflower meadow. The field on Paddington Meadows, an area of former cattle grazing land, is surrounded by a meander of the River Mersey, itself navigable until the New Cut opened in 1821.

Regular bird counts by the groups ornithologists have witnessed over 100 species of birds living on or visiting the meadows and by introducing native wildflower and grasses, attracting more moths, insects and bees in particular, birdlife will increase further.

Advised and working in close liaison with Warrington Borough Council, the volunteer team began work in 2021 when areas of bramble and blackthorn were removed. Then in March 2022 a contractor was engaged to cut, bale and remove the grass followed by light tilling and spraying to eradicate the grasses completely. In April the wildflower seeds were spread. The wildflowers and native grasses are now on full display in the summer months, with the display being much admired and commented upon by the many visitors to the Meadows.
The work has been financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which funded the Carbon Landscape project, and will be maintained in the future by the New Cut Trail Group volunteers.

Anne Price from the New Cut Heritage and Ecology Trail Group said: “This project is a wonderful example of co-operation between a volunteer group and local authority using National Lottery Heritage Funding which will give a real benefit for the local wildlife and a joy for those members of the public on the footpaths.”

Grace, Baby Mena, Grandma Anne, Milly

Directions
At the bottom of Larkfield Avenue WA1 3NE, cross the New Cut Trail footpath and go through the gate – the wildflower meadow is through the first gate on the right. e-mail: [email protected]
Website www.newcuttrail.com


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