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