Fair­way to heaven in the mid­dle of city

Macclesfield Express - - WILDLIFE -

WILDLIFE Trust re­serves tend to be lovely sur­prises in un­ex­pected ar­eas – one of the best ex­am­ples is a mile from the cen­tre of Manch­ester.

To find Mos­ton Fair­way you need to travel through an ur­ban area with some nice look­ing homes be­fore find­ing a gap be­tween the houses and a car park.

The car park is sur­rounded by green­ery so it’s only as you walk along a fence that you see the full ex­tent of the re­serve. You are look­ing down over a large area of marshy bog that is sur­rounded by wood­land.

This was the Mos­ton Ex­change rail­way sid­ing that flooded and was then re­claimed by na­ture over the last cen­tury. More re­cently it has been im­proved as part of Mos­ton Brook, un­der the Mos­ton Brook Part­ner­ship.

It is re­mark­able be­ing sur­rounded by houses, over­looked by a block of flats with trains run­ning by ev­ery 10 min­utes and planes fly­ing over­head. Yet the num­bers of plants and an­i­mals here are re­mark­able.

Plants in­clude Manch­ester’s adopted flower com­mon cot­ton­grass, hard rush, marsh rag­wort and the won­der­fully named sneeze­wort.

Then there is the at­trac­tive lady’s smock. Yel­low sedge grows here and is un­com­mon in Greater Manch­ester.

Birds on this re­serve that are rare in other ar­eas of the city are reed bunting, lin­net, kestrel and, amaz­ingly, snipe, which I would nor­mally ex­pect to see on the moss­lands in Sal­ford and Wi­gan.

In the sum­mer ex­pect to see drag­on­flies, dam­sel­flies and but­ter­flies.

My last visit saw me chas­ing a meadow brown but­ter­fly around the re­serve to get a pic­ture.

This is a real oa­sis in an ur­ban area and it is con­stantly be­ing im­proved thanks to fund­ing from the Ve­o­lia En­vi­ron­men­tal Trust and oth­ers. Your waste re­cy­cling is pay­ing for this.

The new foot­path opened last year open­ing up the re­serve to lots more peo­ple.

While sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments in ac­cess and en­vi­ron­men­tal qual­ity have been made by the Mos­ton Brook Part­ner­ship, more work is still re­quired to raise aware­ness and cel­e­brate the im­por­tance of the Brook to en­cour­age more lo­cal peo­ple to visit, value and get ac­tively in­volved in the im­por­tant site.

We want lo­cal peo­ple to give us their thoughts through an on­line sur­vey at sur­vey­mon­key.co.uk/r/ moston­brook

If you want to talk with Lan­cashire Wildlife Trust about this project, call 01204 663754.

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 more than 1,200 vol­un­teers.

Path into a wildlife oa­sis at Mos­ton

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