Fairway to heaven in the middle of city
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