Volunteers and local organisations have begun work to improve a woodland and neighbouring wetland in Eccleston in a bid to have them recognised as an official Local Nature Reserve.
Over the next 12 months, Mill Wood and Mill Brow will benefit from upgraded footpaths and boardwalks, tree management, and rhododendron control. Working in partnership with St.Helens Council and Eccleston Parish Council, the work will be led by Lancashire Wildlife Trust, with volunteers and local residents carrying out many of the tasks.
The improved Mill Brow will also provide an outdoor classroom facility for the neighbouring De La Salle School.
The funding for the work has come from United Utilities via the St.Helens Landscape Fund – a scheme to invest in communities affected by the construction of the West East Link Pipeline, which carries water 34 miles between Prescot and Bury. Additional funding has been secured from the Forestry Commission.
The two sites are owned by Eccleston Parish Council and St.Helens Council respectively, and it is hoped once the work is complete that they will together be designated as a Local Nature Reserve.
Eccleston ward Councillor Teresa Sims, Vice Chair of Eccleston Parish Council, said: "Mill Brow and Mill Wood are key open spaces within Eccleston and it is great to see local community members getting involved in what will be a valuable improved asset for the local area."
Brian Tollitt from United Utilities said "We're delighted that the fund is helping to support woodlands and public enjoyment within this area of St.Helens. If the improvements can help the future for the sites even further as a Local Nature Reserve that will be an even more rewarding outcome."
The fund, managed by The Mersey Forest on behalf of St.Helens Council, has also contributed to the landscape restoration of Victoria Park and eight other projects throughout the borough.