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The Mersey Forest inspires next generation of foresters

23 May 2018

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Forestry students touring Colliers Moss
Students from the National School of Forestry visited our Colliers Moss regeneration site to learn how forestry can benefit communities.
The students took a tour around Colliers Moss accompanied by Carl Smethurst and Yendle Barwise from the Mersey Forest team. The study tour covered the history of the site – the transformation of a 55 hectare former colliery tip to a valued open space right on the doorstep of local residents – and the challenges of managing a woodland site in a semi-urban area.

The site – part of Bold Forest Park  – has seen many improvements in the last two years. Entrance ways have been given a makeover and more than a mile of footpaths improved, including a programme of clearing back vegetation from paths that had been unmanaged for years.

The students discussed the management regime of the site's most valuable wildlife habitats including clearing reeds, opening up areas of heathland and ensuring the remnant mosslands around the site thrive into the future.

The tour also covered the social and economic benefits of the site and wider Bold Forest Park, and the aspiration for these green spaces to enable local people to safely be active, connect with nature and come together as a community.

The students also discussed The Mersey Forest's innovative wood allotments scheme, which allows community members to get involved in woodland management and benefit from free firewood.

The site visit – in glorious sunshine – was extended due to the students' level of interest in the achievements at Colliers Moss. The success of the training day has led to the National School of Forestry planning to create a new session in their policy module covering these kind of approaches to community forestry.

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Protecting your privacy

23 May 2018

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Long-eared owls at Culcheth
At The Mersey Forest we are committed to protecting your privacy. We've updated our Privacy Policy to reflect upcoming changes in data protection law, and to better explain how and why we collect your personal information.

If you've ever contacted us or signed up as a supporter you might want to have a quick look, to check how we will use your personal data.

Photo © Mike Roberts

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Are you a friend of Hob Hey Wood?

14 May 2018

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Volunteers in Hob Hey Wood
We're seeking people to get involved with caring for Frodsham's Hob Hey Wood – a rare remnant of Ancient Woodland within The Mersey Forest.
Working with local residents, we want to set up a Friends' Group for this vital woodland – helping to ensure that it is properly managed and cared for in years to come. The five hectare site is owned by Frodsham Town Council and includes a mix of trees including oak, sycamore, ash, birch and hawthorn.

A community consultation took place in March, followed by an on-site meeting in April which included a guided walk around part of the wood led by foresters Ben Greenaway and Yendle Barwise, to illustrate the value of woodland management and the benefits it brings to trees, nature and people. The group discussed activities that a Friends Group could drive forward, including improving access and planting trees and woodland wildflowers.

wood anemones in Hob Hey WoodWood anemones in Hob Hey Wood

The group also discussed the site's Woodland Management Plan (funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Saltscape project), and the new Forest Charter. The long-term vision is to protect the structure of the woodland, improve the bio-diversity, and encourage public access along paths.

The Mersey Forest has had many years of supporting Friends groups to get established and to develop. Groups organise activities and events – such as practical task days to care for their woodlands, fun events from teddy bears' picnics to plays and concerts and learning events for example bird identification courses or wildlife photography workshops.

There is also the opportunity to develop a wood allotment group, either alongside or as part of the Friends group. Wood allotments gives people the chance to sustainably harvest wood from carefully marked trees – giving them free logs, while the woodland thrives from better management.

Next steps

The next stage for Hob Hey Wood is for a meeting of interested residents on Wednesday 23rd May 7pm at Castle Park. If are keen to get involved, please contact or call 01925 816217 and ask for Yendle.

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Australian minister goes walkabout in Mersey Forest

25 April 2018

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Australia's Natural Resources Minister, The Hon Rick Colless, took a tour of some key sites and projects in the Mersey Forest to explore our approach to community forestry.

Accompanied by officials from Defra, he viewed the Trees For Learning initiative, Forest School at Green Lane Special School, Warrington and visited the Countess of Chester Country Park. Colless visited a number of organisations and green spaces in the US and the UK in March and April to find out more about international approaches to conservation and forestry.

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Chester residents plant 800 new trees to mark the advent of the new Charter for Trees, Woods and People.

18 April 2018

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Planting trees at the Countess of Chester Country Park
Charter comes to life as community comes together to expand woodland for the future.

An event to plant 800 new trees and mark the new Charter for Trees, Woods and People attracted a great turnout at the Countess of Chester Country Park on Saturday 14th April.

The new trees, which will benefit both wildlife and future generations of Chester residents, include oak, alder, silver birch, hornbeam, hazel, maple, crab apple and wild cherry. 

Local ward member, Cllr Matt Bryan, who is a member of The Mersey Forest Steering Group said, "We had a brilliant day, the first sunny day on the year and planted 800 trees. Families and couples of all ages came to plant and we had a thoroughly great time. Added to the 3000 we planted last season, this brings the total to 3800 extra trees to enjoy in the park in the future."

Much of the park is located on a former landfill site next to the Countess of Chester Hospital, which was closed in the 1970s. It now provides paths and trails for walking, running and cycling, plus a range of habitats for wildlife. Woodland on the site is being expanded as part of a major partnership project.

The tree planting was supported by the Land Trust, Cheshire West and Chester Council, The Conservation Volunteers, Friends of the Countess of Chester Country Park and The Mersey Forest. The event was the first of a series that aim to bring the new Tree Charter to life in our area.

Land Trust estate manager Sarah Palgrave-Neath added: "Since opening in September 2014, the park has become a thriving natural space for the whole community to enjoy. Only the other day a visitor commented to one of the 'Friends of the Park', this place gets better every day, there's always something new happening."

If you would like to get involved with helping to improve the Countess of Chester Country Park contact the Friends of the Countess of Chester Country Park at or call Sarah Palgrave-Neath at 01925 852005 for more information.

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