Woodland that was as nature intended it to be
JOHN HANDLEY WALK LEADER
EAST Cheshire ramblers were privileged recently to see a traditional, natural woodland in all its spring glory and receive an expert account of its flora and fauna from walk leader John Handley, professor emeritus of Planning and Environmental Management at Manchester University and a long term member of East Cheshire Ramblers and Cheshire Wildlife Trust.
Cotterill Clough, near Manchester Airport, was acquired by public subscription to celebrate the memory of TA Coward, a great Cheshire naturalist and writer.
In his book, Life of Wayside and Woodland, he described May as: ‘the height of spring, the acme of the observer’s desire’ and remarked somewhat wistfully that there is only one month of May each year.
Indeed, the Cheshire beauty spot was at its best with wild cherry blossom in the tree canopy, sheets of scented bluebells below and a riot of wild garlic and golden saxifrage above on the lower slopes of a burbling stream.
Access to the nature reserve, which is managed by Cheshire Wildlife Trust, is carefully controlled to preserve its special qualities and the 26 ramblers present were fortunate to get their own exclusive viewing at such a special time of year.
Professor Handley said: “Cotterill Clough was the highlight of the walk which had many other points of interest, taking in the ecology of the National Trust woodlands at Styal, the transformation of the River Bollin into a navigable waterway for migratory trout and salmon and the remarkable creative conservation around Manchester Airport’s Runway 2, where compensatory woodlands, grasslands and wetlands are now really coming into their own.
“There was much to enjoy and celebrate here besides the month itself.”
For further information on the group’s summer programme of walks, coach outings and social activities go to: ramblerseastcheshire. org.uk.