Wildlife breathes new life into our historic mines
FOR anyone who hasn’t been, wander along to the Lancashire Mining Museum in Astley Green, just off the East Lancashire Road.
It has the last standing pit-wheel in Lancashire and an amazing engine house, which bursts into noisy life every couple of months.
The place is run by volunteers and they are keen to get funding to keep this piece of industrial heritage alive for visitors. What has this got to do with wildlife? Well, we held the launch of the Carbon Landscape there, which is all about restoring huge areas of land where industry left its mark, providing a better environment for wildlife and humans.
Natural England’s Amanda Wright calls it ‘restoring, reconnecting people and wildlife and instilling pride in the community.’
While the mining museum reminds us of the industry that created a powerhouse in the region, I like to see wildlife dominating there now.
Where 10 feet of peat has been extracted for fuel, I see lawns of sphagnum moss, covered in dragonflies and butterflies.
Where coal mining scarred vast areas, I now see great crested grebe on huge lakes formed where the land has settled into the mines.
I want to hear willow tits and great tits shouting out to guard their territories on huge stones which are evidence of industrial sites bigger than some villages.
More than anything I want to see people out in these new nature reserves in Wigan, Warrington and Salford, volunteering or simply enjoying green spaces surrounded by exciting wildlife.
Astley Moss was a great example of a no-go industrial area, now people are there watching roe deer hopping through the woodland or spotting more than 80 species of bird flying around or just singing in joy.
Carbon Landscape team at Lancashire Mining Museum