TAME­SIDE COUN­TRY­SIDE

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BIO­DI­VER­SITY or bi­o­log­i­cal di­ver­sity is the va­ri­ety of all life. It in­cludes plants, an­i­mals and the com­plex ecosytems of which they are part. From the small seed of a plant in soil to the largest an­i­mal that has ever lived, the blue whale in the sea, they are the wildlife that fit into an ecosys­tem which makes our world hab­it­able.

Our sur­vival de­pends on bio­di­ver­sity. Not only do plants, an­i­mals and habi­tats en­rich our ev­ery­day lives, they pro­duce the nec­es­sary in­gre­di­ents for all life to ex­ist.

Hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties are chang­ing and de­stroy­ing habi­tats, nat­u­ral ecosytems and land­scapes on an in­creas­ing scale, and as a con­se­quence species are de­clin­ing at an alarm­ing rate.

In an at­tempt to halt and re­verse the loss and de­cline of species and habi­tats within the UK the Bio­di­ver­sity Ac­tion Plan was cre­ated.

There are an amaz­ing va­ri­ety of key bio­di­ver­sity habi­tats in Tame­side; blan­ket bog, up­land flushes, fens and swamps, up­land heath­land, up­land oak wood­land, wet wood­land, low­land mead­ows, ponds and lodges and hedgerows.

In ad­di­tion there is ur­ban greenspace, marshy grass­land, arable field mar­gins, open mosaic habi­tats on pre­vi­ously de­vel­oped land and reedbeds.

There are large patches of broad-leaved wood­land in Ash­ton. This is the per­fect home for the speck­led wood but­ter­fly. It is only over the last few years that this but­ter­fly has been found as far north as Ash­ton.

Au­den­shaw has a won­der­ful stretch of open wa­ter that pro­vides a good habi­tat for dragon­flies. The young of these crea­tures live in the wa­ter for two years be­fore climb­ing upon a plant stem to emerge as dragon­flies.

The bluebell wood­lands of Den­ton look stun­ning in spring. These vi­brant blue flow­ers show them­selves just be­fore the trees be­come cov­ered in leaves, herald­ing the re­turn of sum­mer.

Duk­in­field has its ur­ban green space. These spa­ces are sur­rounded by houses ● which makes it a great place for the ur­ban fox. There are more foxes now liv­ing in the town than the coun­try­side.

Droyls­den is lucky to have a sec­tion of the Hollinwood Branch canal run­ning through it. This is a good habi­tat for aquatic life and makes an ideal home for the en­dan­gered wa­ter vole.

The up­land mead­ows of Wer­neth Low in Hyde are good places to find hay rat­tle. This semi par­a­sitic plant takes nu­tri­ents it needs from other plants that are grow­ing nearby.

Mead­ows are more likely to be rich in wild­flow­ers with the pres­ence of hay rat­tle.

Very few places in Eng­land can boast their own piece of an­cient wood­land like Long­den­dale can. Here you can find the mighty oak; a tree home to more species of in­sect than any other, which in turn at­tracts a greater num­ber of birds and mam­mals.

In the skies above Moss­ley you may see a small brown bird, but wait till you hear it sing.

The sky­lark rises up from the grass­land, into the sky, sev­eral hun­dred feet ver­ti­cally, then plum­mets to a few feet from the ground, singing all the time.

Staly­bridge is sur­rounded by moor­land.

This may ap­pear bleak, but a closer look can re­veal spec­tac­u­lar wildlife. Brown hares can be seen on the lower part of the moors and higher up you may be lucky.

Dis­cover the wildlife of Tame­side on an eight­mile walk from the Tame Val­ley and up to Wer­neth Low with Pete Long­bot­tom, Greenspace Devel­op­ment Of­fi­cer. Meet at 10am on Sun­day, Au­gust 20 at Hyde Cen­tral Sta­tion car park, Great Nor­bury Street, Hyde, SK14 1BW.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion ring 0161 342 3055.

The River Tame in Haughton Dale

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