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Burnham For Mayor

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Environmental improvements at Lilford Park

Historically it was known as the ‘little ford’…
But now it’s hoping to make a big impression on nature lovers across Wigan Borough and beyond thanks to a series of major environmental improvements.

Lilford Park may be right in the heart of the busy town but it could arguably be called one of the borough’s best-kept secrets.

Over the past couple of years local ward councillors have joined forces with Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust and the Environment Agency on an ambitious plan to throw previously out-of-bounds land open to the public to enjoy.

The historic park is situated next to a flood basin which is used to store excess water that flows from brooks upstream during heavy rainfall.

And while at times of torrent the basin and the nearby Bedford Pumping Station are vital for keeping Leigh free from flooding, thanks to the partnership, the area has become part of a scenic woodland walk during fine weather.

More than £50,000 has been spent invested in the new walk through Lilford Park that has helped to create a dedicated pathway through the semi-ancient woodlands.
This now links with a path along the flood-basin embankment to create a two-kilometre ‘scenic circuit’ ideal for summer walks, nature rambles and a family picnic.

Last week, I joined ward councillors who have contributed Brighter Borough funding to the scheme, and officials from the Environment Agency and the Leisure Trust, to officially open the walk to the public.

Amongst the regular non-human visitors to Lilford Park, the woodpecker, nuthatch and treecreeper happily call in home. You can also spot buzzards and even hear the distinctive ‘hoot’ of the Tawny Owl come evening. Squirrels abound and if you’re lucky you may see a fox or two, whilst Pipistrelle and noctule bats can often be seen in early spring and summer.
The changes at Lilford Park are a great example of what can be achieved through working in partnership. The result is something that all the partners can be justly proud of. Of course one very important partner in all of this is the individual members of the community who will reap the benefits of this fantastic project for generations to come.