Tameside Advertiser - - WILDLIFE -

RIV­ING through the hous­ing es­tates of Mos­ton, you might not ex­pect to find a na­ture re­serve nestling in all of this hu­man­ity.

But at Mos­ton Fair­way, tucked along­side the rail­way line head­ing into town from Mos­ton sta­tion, that’s ex­actly what I found when I joined our For­est Schools team.

This part-flooded site of a for­mer rail­way sid­ings has been colonised by na­ture and is now home to marsh plants and wildlife not found for many miles around. On a sum­mer’s walk you will see the grass­land ar­eas car­peted with kid­ney vetch, clus­ters of small yel­low flow­ers sit­ting atop lit­tle woolly cush­ions.

The bird­song is con­stant and you’re likely to see reed bunting, lin­net, kestrel and snipe. But­ter­flies and moths are ev­ery­where, with brown hawker dragon­fly and the com­mon blue dam­sel­fly among the other colour­ful in­sects to look out for.

The Wildlife Trust’s work in­volves vol­un­teers cre­at­ing wildlife habi­tat and mak­ing this oa­sis ac­ces­si­ble for lo­cal peo­ple who have fallen in love with the site – and, in some cases, fallen in love on the site! As part of that work, Mos­ton Fair­way has been cho­sen to pi­o­neer the ex­pan­sion of For­est School ac­tiv­ity in a na­tional project funded by play­ers of Peo­ple’s Post­code Lot­tery.

The For­est Schools move­ment is about out­door ed­u­ca­tion and play us­ing wood­land en­vi­ron­ments. It al­lows chil­dren to de­velop a re­la­tion­ship with the nat­u­ral world and boosts their re­silience, cre­ativ­ity and con­fi­dence. As your lo­cal Wildlife Trust, we’ve been at the fore­front of For­est Schools in the north west for more than seven years.

Our friends at Broad­hurst Pri­mary School have been us­ing our Mos­ton Fair­way site as an out­door For­est School learn­ing area for the last 18 months. With the award of more than £50k from play­ers of Peo­ple’s Post­code Lot­tery, we are now work­ing with Broad­hurst Pri­mary and three fur­ther pri­mary schools to bring that con­nec­tion with the joys of na­ture to more chil­dren and fam­i­lies.

We’re also im­prov­ing our out­door learn­ing venue on Mos­ton Fair­way. A sec­ond out­door class­room area has al­ready been put in place by the Friends of Mos­ton Brook work­ing along­side The Wildlife Trust and Mos­ton com­pa­nies OneFile and En­ter­prise Rent-a-Car.

Vol­un­teer and lo­cal res­i­dent An­drew Fitz­man said: “My two-year-old lad is go­ing to grow up play­ing here so it’s great that lo­cal chil­dren will love this spot and grow up to pro­tect it just as they learn from it.”

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