The North Manchester Nature Network

Nick Rodd

The Wildlife Trust has launched a new project which will create pathways for wildlife and link favourite nature spots in North Manchester following a grant from the Cadent Foundation.

The North Manchester Nature Network will give local people and communities the chance to protect wild animals and plants in the heart of the city. It responds directly to consultation undertaken by the Trust which evidenced that 61% of 2100 people ‘[wanted] to be part of a bigger movement to help Manchester’s wildlife’.

The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside and Manchester City Council are working alongside other partners on the project to help safeguard existing sites and encourage new wildlife into the city along green corridors.

Common Blue Butterfly

Emma Sharples 

A nature network in North Manchester

The Nature Network project (part of the My Wild City team) will focus on a strip of four Sites of Biological Importance (SBIs) where nature thrives. Bailey’s Wood, Boggart’s Hole Clough, Broadhurst Clough and Moston Fairways are all within walking distance of thousands of local people. These sites are much loved and are incredibly important for city wildlife such as owls, frogs and butterflies.

The Nature Network project will be running family events, training days and volunteering taskforces over the next year. This will offer people the chance to come face to face with this wildlife while giving it a helping hand.

A common frog that looks like it's smiling, resting in a pond

Common frog by Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

Not only that, the project will help people attract this wildlife into their gardens. Nature can struggle to travel through the bricks, tarmac and concrete of a big city. Managing our open spaces like parks, school grounds, cemeteries and gardens for wildlife can help animals move through our neighbourhoods, reach safety and thrive.

The value of Nearby Nature for people and communities

Tackling poor mental health is also a big part of the Nature Network project.

Even before the pandemic, nature was increasingly recognised as an amazing tool that could be used to reduce stress, depression and anxiety.

Our Nearby Nature report conducted during lockdown evidenced the critical role that local greenspaces and nature provided as an escape from the challenges faced by people and communities. The importance of the sound of bird song, the smell of wild flowers and the sight of brilliant butterflies in our urban areas was recognised more than ever. The North Manchester Nature Network will help more local residents to experience nature in their communities and take practical action to protect and expand areas for wildlife where they live.

Russell Hedley is the My Wild City Project Officer for the new North Manchester Nature Network:

This is a really exciting opportunity for people to get involved with nature on their doorstep. Throughout the next twelve months we will be running regular nature events and volunteering days. These will be great opportunities to meet like-minded people, tackle isolation and loneliness and make a difference to our Manchester wildlife.

Heron

Neil Aldridge

If we all did one small thing to help nature, it would make a huge difference to Manchester’s wildlife. This benefits local nature and local people – win win! That’s what this project is all about. We hope that this can be applied to other areas of the city and even other cities in the future.’

How to get involved in the Nature Network

From mid April onwards, the project will be offering volunteer days. This is where people can get involved in the practical work of the programme. To volunteer with the trust, participants just need to fill out a short form to register as a volunteer. This will cover them by Wildlife Trust Insurance during their time with us. Click here for our online volunteering form.

If you are already signed up as a volunteer and are interested in getting involved with this project or volunteering opportunities, please contact project officer Russell Hedley at rhedley@lancswt.org.uk