Local volunteers have launched a project to revive the fortunes of much-loved bluebells in the woodlands of Rivacre Valley Local Nature Reserve, managed by Cheshire West and Chester Council Greenspace team.
Community group the Friends of Rivacre Valley and fellow volunteers from conservation charity BTCV have leapt into action following a below par bloom in spring 2011 at the site, caused by the spread of competing flora including brambles, sycamore and rhododendron.
The volunteers have joined forces with Cheshire West and Chester Council rangers to plant 1,500 bluebell bulbs to kick start the flowers' comeback, following hot on the heels of woodland management work earlier in the autumn to create more space and light on the woodland floor to allow the flowers to thrive.
Funding for the project was secured by The Mersey Forest from local chemical manufacturer INEOS ChlorVinyls via the Landfill Communities Fund. The Mersey Forest has also been taking part in the Cheshire Bluebell Recovery Project, led by Cheshire Wildlife Trust, which is planting locally grown bluebell bulbs in other community woodlands including Chester's Blacon Nature Park, Caldy Nature Park and Dukes Drive woodland.
Cllr Myles Hogg, Cheshire West and Chester Council's member for The Mersey Forest, joined in the bulb planting at Rivacre Valley and said: "More than 10,000 visitors come to the nature reserve every year, and it's fantastic to see local volunteers working so hard to make sure that they will have a real treat in store next spring."
Janet Ward of INEOS ChlorVinyls said: "We're proud to help the volunteers fight back against the decline of one of our most beautiful woodland wildflowers. From their wildlife value to the enjoyment they give people, helping our native bluebells is really important."