Moss plays host to a VIP visitor
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)