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Archive for the ‘Conservation’ Category

Tree works

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Route Details

  • From Chorlton to Fairfield station
  • Distance: 5.4 miles.
  • Type: Disused railway path, no hills and largely traffic free.
  • Surface: Tarmac
  • Path Number 6

Route Description

The Fallowfield Loopline is an attractive, largely traffic-free walking and cycling route which follows a former railway line. The route is a classic urban railway path, ideal for families and new cyclists who need to build up their confidence away from road traffic. It forms a green corridor running about one mile south of the city centre, linking parks and open spaces.

The Loopline connects Chorlton to Fairfield station and includes many reminders of its past as a railway line. The route begins at St Werburgh’s station in fashionable Chorlton. It runs through the thriving suburb of Levenshulme, through to Debdale Park, Gorton reservoirs and up to Fairfield station.

The Loop also connects to Route 60, which uses the in-filled canal to take you up to the Velodrome, the City Stadium and the Ashton Canal.

What we plan to do and why we want to do it

On many parts of the path, we simply seek to maintain what is there. In other sections we have identified opportunities to enhance habitats. We always aim to keep a safe and open feel to the path which sometimes requires us to undertake tree and scrub management as well as cutting grass directly adjacent to the path to prevent it from causing an obstruction. We also thin trees where it would improve the woodland health and we clear around some of the older trees to release them from the competition of younger more vigorous trees and allowing them to be fully appreciated by route users.

As you read on, you can see that the path has been split into 5 sections each with a specific focus beyond this general management. There is a brief description as to the nature and proposed management of each section.

Environmental Management Objectives

Restoring and enhancing the existing grasslands and woodlands along the route

Creating species rich habitats in suitable locations

Improving connections between habitat patches in the wider landscape

Providing suitable opportunities for nesting and hibernating wildlife

Increasing the abundance and diversity of foraging resources such as flowers, seeds, berries and insects along the route

Joining up habitats on the trail with Highfield Country Park Local Nature Reserve to encourage local wildlife to spread on to the route

Social Management Objectives

Providing volunteering opportunities for local people

Working with local businesses to manage the trail

Providing a setting which promotes and facilitates health and wellbeing

Creating a safe and welcoming environment for all

St Werbergh’s – Slade Lane

An section of path with many mature broadleaved trees, including sycamore, oak, willows and aspen. This section of path has
some issues with invasive plant species and fly-tipping

We would like to…

1/ Reduce the presence of invasive snowberry, rhododendron, spirea, and laurel and prevent any negative impacts it may have on the trail’s biodiversity or its neighbours.

2/ Clear fly-tipping and engage neighbours who deposit garden and household waste on the trail

3/ Assess and actively manage the poplar species which may grow too large for the trail.

Slade Lane to Nelstrop Road North

An open section of the path with food growing, grassland, scattered broadleaved trees and scrub

We would like to…

1/ Improve the species diversity within the grassland by implementing a traditional cutting regime and introducing new species through green hay application if required.

2/ Add to the food production in this section by planting more fruit trees.

3/ Create shallow ponds to increase the opportunities for wildlife

4/ Undertake habitat improvements on the open land adjacent to St Andrews CofE Primary School

Nelstrop Road North – Shillingford Road

A young woodland containing ash, aspen, willow and native shrubs.

We would like to…

1/ Clear the non-native invasive laurel

2/ Increase the food growing potential of the site by planting fruit trees and bushes

3/ Plant some new trees and create some shallow ponds to increase the habitat for wildlife.

Shillingford Road – Gore Brook

An open ash, cherry and willow woodland with areas of open grassland.

We would like to…

1/ Improve the species diversity within the grassland by implementing a traditional cutting regime and introducing new species through green hay application if required.

Gore Brook – Boothdale Drive

A maturing native woodland with small pockets of black poplar trees and some pond/wetland areas.

We would like to…

1/ Work with neighbours to see some coppicing of the black poplar to remove the risk of them obstructing the path in the future, and to create habitat diversity.

2/ Manage the ponds to maximise their benefits to wildlife

3/ Manage grassland and wetland between Alston Road and Green Fold

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My Wild City survey

The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside has partnered up with Manchester City Council to celebrate and improve the wildlife and wild spaces on our doorsteps.

Organisation logosFriends who value the Loop’s status as a wildlife corridor across Manchester might be interested in completing this survey and sharing their views of wildlife’s importance in general and of the Loop in particular.  The survey is intended to help shape the way wildlife is protected and to contribute to the new 10-year vision for biodiversity in Manchester.

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Scything on the Loop

Members of the Friends were this weekend learning about scything on the Loop, with the sessions led by tutor Simon Tomlin who has written about the weekend here.  Attendees learnt that cutting with a scythe is quiet, clean, and safe to use, and we hope that these skills will continue to be put to use in future management of the Loop!

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Today the Friends were out, together with members of the Sale and Altrincham Conservation Volunteers, to plant a new hedgerow on the edge of the Loop, adjacent to the Sherwood Street entrance and on the corner with Wellington Road.  The planted hedgerow contains a mix of native plants, predominantly hawthorn but also wild cherry, field maple, dog rose, hazel and blackthorn.

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