Bollin Valley Partnership - What is Happening in the Bollin Valley
Planting for the future
Recently, volunteers have helped us with a variety of conservation tasks all over the Bollin catchment, including Birch removal from the heathlands in Lindow Common and footpath work in the Carrs Park. Using volunteers is a great way to get large scale labour intensive projects completed and get local community 'buy in' to the sites. Pictured here are volunteers from the Mersey Rivers Trust who helped the rangers plant some wild flower plugs donated by Cheshire Wildlife Trust to improve the grassland at Newgate Nature reserve.
This month we welcomed people to Riverside Park for the first Bioblitz for a couple of years. Organised alongside Mersey Rivers Trust, over 50 visitors took part in bird walks, pond dipping and river dipping over the course of one day and recorded the species found. Pictured here are some keen youngsters surveying one of the ponds. They found many fish, snails and even a water scorpion. We are hoping to run a similar event next summer when we should find larger numbers of plants and animals to record.
Steady progress into normality
Over the past few months we have started to run a few volunteer events and are hoping that we can start to offer a wider events programme as restrictions ease. Pictured here is a poster from a Bioblitz trail we ran at the end of the summer holidays at Macclesfield Riverside Park. We put up the trail for people to follow and find out about the different habitats within the park. We are going to run a full scale Bioblitz event in October where people can have a go at pond dipping and other activities and then record all the plant and animal and plant species found on the day.
Although originally planted as a spring meadow, having never established, the top meadow at Rossmill will be planted as a Hazel coppice in the winter. This picture shows the first Hazel trees that were planted in the smaller meadow area this winter. Although they have grown really well, we have had to mow around the plants to enable them to compete against the grasses. In a couple of years time we won't have to do this and we can encourage some wildflowers underneath the trees. Meanwhile, the summer meadow at Rossmill is blooming with plenty of wildflowers and butterflies, insects and small mammals enjoying the display.
Fighting the alien invasion
Alongside the usual footpath maintenance at this time of year, such as strimming miles of footpaths to keep them clear, the rangers are also involved in a nationwide project to control the levels of invasive alien plant species. We would normally have teams of volunteers, corporate groups and scout groups assisting us but this year and last, due to the pandemic we have had to try to keep on top of it ourselves apart from a couple of small working parties. Pictured here is a volunteer at the Carrs, Wilmslow after a long morning clearing Himalayan Balsam.
Getting ready for spring
March for the ranger team is all about finishing off the last of the winter works and getting countryside sites ready for the busy spring and summer period. This has been an ongoing battle this year as the sites have been so busy but we've still managed lots of tree planting, footpath repairs, footpath surfacing as well as all the extra maintenance due to the increase in visitors. Pictured here is some fencing being completed in the Styal area ready for the cattle to be turned out in April.
Carbon neutral Cheshire East
The Bollin Valley Partnership are involved in a number of schemes to help in the fight against global warming. This winter we have been planting trees in locations all along the valley. Pictured here is a scheme at Macclesfield Riverside Park where 250 Willow, Elm and Alder trees have been planted next to the River Bollin to both enhance the habitat and provide long term river bank protection. The fencing is to protect the small trees and will be removed after a few years when they have become established.
Flooding In the Valley
With the very wet start to 2021 there has been a lot of flooding in the Bollin Valley. The photo to the left shows a flooded field adjacent to the Lymm Railway Line. The top of the kissing gate at the start of a path that crosses this field (not visible in this photo) is only just above the flood waters on the day this photo was taken.
If you are out for a walk at the moment it is sensible to have a map with you incase your intended route is blocked and wellies are definitely a good idea!
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