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From Coal Dust to Natural Wigan
Friday 23rd January, 2009

From Coal Dust to Natural Wigan
Low Hall Park taken by Dave Green

WATER voles and banded damselflies have long made Low Hall Park their home.

Now the site of biological importance since 1985 is set to become Wigan’s newest Local Nature Reserve (LNR).

Wigan Council’s ruling cabinet officially gave the scheme the green light on Thursday 22nd January.

The move will play an important part in helping ensure the long term future of one of Britain’s most beautiful but under pressure species – the banded damselfly – an iridescent blue and smaller cousin of the dragonfly.

Low Hall Park off Liverpool Road, Platt Bridge is also home to the protected British water vole.

Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust’s countryside manager Graham Workman said: “This is a stunning place and a real gem of a site. It has long been an important site of biodiversity.”

Following the decision in Wigan to approve signing up to an LNR at Low Hall a declaration will be formally agreed with Natural England and legal notification and public notices placed in the press.

Barring any objections Low Hall Nature Reserve could be officially opened in the summer marking a stunning transformation from colliery spoil to stunning nature haven.

It was coal mining subsidence that created the flash on the site and the swampy areas caused by subsidence from long closed pits are a perfect environment for dragonflies and damselflies.

Low Hall will become the fourth Local Nature Reserve in the borough of Wigan joining neighbouring Borsdane Wood in Hindley, Greenslate Water Meadow in Orrell and Wigan Flashes.

Cllr Brian Baldwin, Wigan’s Cabinet member for Culture said: “This is an exciting development for Wigan. Two thirds of this borough is green space and this is another fantastic example of how Wigan is transforming itself into one of the greenest and most diverse places for nature enthusiasts in Greater Manchester.”

Key to the scheme has been the involvement of local people in the project – who have come together to become the Friends of Low Hall.

Graham added: “The newly-formed Friends of Low Hall have worked so hard over the last year.

“They are super enthusiastic and I can’t see this being anything but a success because of their dedication.”

The scheme will also form part of the The Greenheart Regional Park. A major initiative to unite country parks and open land from Pennington in Leigh to Haigh Hall in Wigan and transform an area of approximately 15 square kilometres at the heart of Wigan’s former coalfield, into a regional park of enormous significance for sports, leisure, nature and people.

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