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Wigan Flashes Gateways Get A Makeover
Wednesday 3rd March, 2010

Wigan Flashes Gateways Get A Makeover
Wigan Flashes

The Wigan Flashes Conservation And Community Group, supported by the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, have raised a £444,000 to improve one of Wigan’s best-known and well-loved environmental resources. The Wigan Flashes Local Nature Reserve will benefit from this Community Spaces Grant, a National Lottery grant administered by Groundwork’s National Office.

The funding will help the local community group, based at the Wigan Flashes; improve the gateways and entrances on the western side on the Nature Reserve.

MP Neil Turner will be cutting the first turf on Friday 5th March, having taken an interest in the development of the Flashes over the years.

The project to develop hay meadows and improve the quality of the gateways has been supported by Wigan Council, the site owners, who have encouraged the partnership on the Nature Reserve, which includes the Wigan Flashes Conservation and Community Group and the Lancashire Wildlife Trust via the Greenheart Project.

Wildflower seed will be spread on the areas that are currently covered in bramble and other unattractive vegetation, making entrances that are at present unappealing and dull, quite vibrant with wild flowers. Not only will these areas be more attractive to visitors but also they will, in future, benefit a whole range of wildlife including bees.

Work on the Wigan Flashes in the past ten years shows the importance of this type of work as visitor numbers steadily increase, but it further demonstrates the importance of Wigan’s post-industrial legacy to wildlife. Meadows planted as part of the reclamation of the colliery are now, after a few years of management developing an exciting range of wild flower including five species of orchid.

Annual cornfield species that are becoming very rare in the British agricultural landscape will be planted to develop an attractive flower-rich area with poppies and corn flowers bringing much needed colour in the first year of growth, these will gradually be replaced with perennial flowers as the hay cutting and site development follows the natural process.

Other benefits that the public will see include more accessible gateways and a softening of the current metal fencing by developing an art project with the local Hawkley Hall School Art Department. The Trust have worked with the Art Department staff in the past to deliver a range of exciting and successful projects, including the Ince Gateway and an Environmental Project that was displayed at the Millennium Dome.

By June, when the next Open Day is held, the area at Welham Road, along with the other gateways and entrances, will be looking fantastic and the Trust hope that visitors from the borough and local residents will enjoy the changes.

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