Moss plays host to a VIP vis­i­tor

Macclesfield Express - - WILDLIFE -

WE had a very im­por­tant vis­i­tor to our Manch­ester moss­lands re­cently, en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Therese Cof­fey.

Dr Cof­fey was vis­it­ing Lit­tle Woolden Moss to look at how the Lan­cashire Wildlife Trust is chang­ing former peat-ex­tracted land to won­der­ful wildlife habi­tat.

Yes, our whole car­bon land­scape from War­ring­ton to Wi­gan to Sal­ford is be­com­ing home to oys­ter­catch­ers, brown hares, com­mon lizards and 15 species of drag­on­fly and dam­sel­fly.

We felt the good doc­tor needed to know that it was time the en­vi­ron­ment was pushed higher up the po­lit­i­cal agenda.

It ap­pears to have been ig­nored for years.

How­ever, Therese seems very much on­side on many is­sues, par­tic­u­larly the im­por­tance of the peat­lands of the UK for car­bon cap­ture, wildlife and peo­ple.

And she was, af­ter all, born in Billinge Hospi­tal which makes her a Wi­ganer, so that is great news!

The most im­por­tant thing in all of this is that we fi­nally got some real recog­ni­tion from the gov­ern­ment and TV of our bril­liant work on the mosses.

The whole Chat Moss area was a no-go area when I was a kid. It was an in­dus­trial and agri­cul­tural site.

Now, we have a na­ture re­serve and we are go­ing to put a chil­dren’s trail and a class­room on the site. When peo­ple turn up they will gasp at the sheer im­men­sity of the place and the Big Sky Coun­try in front of them.

The whole place just screams out for po­etic phrases – it is ‘the lungs of Manch­ester’ and ‘the UK’s rain for­est’.

More than 70 species of bird are spot­ted here ev­ery month, in­clud­ing the fastest crea­ture on earth, the pere­grine fal­con. Rare birds reg­u­larly pay vis­its here.

We have recorded cranes, os­prey and the won­der­fully funny- look­ing stone curlew.

Yes, this area is on your doorstep.

We need peo­ple to know about our work here, be­cause we can­not af­ford to let this in­ter­na­tion­ally im­por­tant moss go away.

For those of you who buy Na­tional Lot­tery tick­ets, much of our work is funded by the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund so these re­ally are your na­ture re­serves.

Come along to the Lit­tle Woolden Moss and take in the stun­ning sights and sounds of na­ture that sit just half a mile from Cadishead and Ir­lam, just two miles from the Trafford Cen­tre and just five or six miles from Manch­ester city cen­tre.

If you watch Coun­try­file, this is the real thing and it be­longs to you.

To sup­port the work of the Wildlife Trust for Lan­cashire, Manch­ester and North Mersey­side. Text WILD09 with the amount you want to do­nate to 70070.

Chris Miller, Mick We­ston and Anne Selby of the Lan­cashire Wildlife Trust with en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Therese Cof­fey (cen­tre)

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