Moors the mer­rier!

Macclesfield Express - - WILDLIFE -

ABOUT 15 years ago we moved into a vil­lage on the edge of the West Pen­nine Moors.

Like many towns and vil­lages in Lan­cashire and Greater Manch­ester, the moors dom­i­nate the scenery.

From the Lan­cashire Wildlife Trust’s re­serves in Sal­ford, Wi­gan and Bolton you can see Riv­ing­ton and Win­ter Hill and get­ting onto the moors of­fers views across Lan­cashire and Mersey­side and North Wales and the Lake District.

As you drive into our vil­lage the moors rise above you, there is pas­ture, for­est and boggy ter­rain cov­er­ing half the sky.

I love walk­ing on the West Pen­nine Moors – ev­ery day is dif­fer­ent, ev­ery day you will see or hear won­der­ful wildlife and breathe fresh air de­spite being sur­rounded by mil­lions of peo­ple in the ma­jor north west conur­ba­tions.

And this week it was heart­en­ing to hear that this green lung has been des­ig­nated a Site of Spe­cial Sci­en­tific In­ter­est by Natural Eng­land. Let’s just sing the praises of Natural Eng­land here, this is a mas­sive and im­por­tant boost for wildlife and hu­man­ity in the north west.

The West Pen­nine Moors cover around 100 square miles be­tween Old­ham, Rochdale, Bury, Bolton, Chor­ley, Black­burn, Ac­cring­ton and Burn­ley.

Walk­ing on the moors I have been greeted by an­gry curlews warn­ing me away from their nests and lis­tened to sky­larks so high in the sky that I can’t ac­tu­ally see them.

Buz­zards glide in the therms above your head and you will see kestrels hov­er­ing and drop­ping silently onto their prey. I have seen red deer, groups of roe deer, weasels and a big dog fox slip­ping in and out of trees into the wood­land. Bees and but­ter­flies love the wild plants up on the moors and pur­ple heather and white, fluffy cot­ton­grass of­ten car­pets the land­scape.

The Wildlife Trust for Lan­cashire, Manch­ester and North Mersey­side is ded­i­cated to the pro­tec­tion and pro­mo­tion of the wildlife in Lan­cashire, seven bor­oughs of Greater Manch­ester and four of Mersey­side, all ly­ing north of the River Mersey. It man­ages around 40 na­ture re­serves and 20 Lo­cal Na­ture Re­serves, cov­er­ing acres of wood­land, wet­land, up­land and meadow. The Trust has 29,000 mem­bers and over 1,200 vol­un­teers. To be­come a mem­ber of the Trust go to the web­site at www. lanc­ or call 01772 324129. For more in­for­ma­tion about Cheshire Wildlife Trust call 01948 820728 or go to cheshirewil­dlifetrust.

The West Pen­nine Moors have been des­ig­nated a Site of Spe­cial Sci­en­tific In­ter­est by en­vi­ron­ment body Natural Eng­land

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