The transformed Northwood Forest Hills community woodland has been officially launched – the culmination of a three-year improvement programme at the site.
It has been turned from an under-used and overgrown space into a welcoming site that has the strong support of local residents. The transformation has included the creation of new entrances, all-access paths and the installation of signage, seating and bins, plus habitat works including tree planting, woodland management and improvements to the pond and wetland habitats.
The local community has been heavily involved, with young people in particular making a big contribution. Pupils from Northwood Community Primary, Eastcroft Primary, St.Marie's Catholic Primary and teenagers from All Saints Centre for Learning all took part in tree planting at the site.
The launch event was also geared around involving children, with families enjoying a guided bug hunt and pond dipping.
Cllr Eddie Connor, Knowsley Council's Cabinet Member for Leisure, Community and Culture said: "The launch was a fantastic celebration of the work done to rejuvenate the woodland and the importance of the site in our local community.
"There is huge potential for people to get involved in a range of different activities through this exciting new development."
Complementing the Northwood Forest Hills improvements, more than 200 street trees have been planted in the surrounding neighbourhood within the past two years as part of The Mersey Forest's Green Streets programme.
The Green Streets planting and improvements to the main Northwood site have been funded by £247,000 funding through the Forestry Commission's Setting the Scene for Growth programme (funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency / UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills). This funding is matched by £50,000 from the Big Lottery Fund 'Community Spaces Fund' and a further £30,000 from the Forestry Commission's English Woodland Grant Scheme. Additional funds have come from Marks & Spencer 'Green Living Places' fund and the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund 'Environmental Blight Fund'.
This success has been the culmination of work between a range of partners including The Mersey Forest, Knowsley MBC, 2020 Knowsley and the local community.