Wildlife breathes new life into our his­toric mines

Manchester Evening News - - WILDLIFE - By ALAN WRIGHT The Wildlife Trust for Lan­cashire, Manchester and North Mersey­side

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

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