We want to enhance the biodiversity value of the park and woodlands and encourage more people to enjoy it. Project proposals include:
- A new build Woodland Hub and outdoor adventure offer to activate the lower plantations including toilets, outdoor learning spaces, picnic areas and infrastructure for seasonal facilities
- Priority repairs to the footpath network incorporating play and nature trails
- Priority actions within a long-term Woodland Management plan.
Ecology and woodland management
The ecology of the woodlands at Haigh has been recognised as a 'Site of Biological Importance' for the wide range of wildlife that make the Plantations their home. The woodlands are broadly divided into two by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal with the area to the south-west being the Lower Plantations and to the north-east are the Upper Plantations. Bottling Wood, near to the entrance at the Plantation Gates is also recorded as 'Ancient Woodland'. This makes it a particularly important and historic woodland several hundreds of years old.
Though attractive to visit, both the Lower and Upper Plantations are in need of significant work to clear invasive plant species like Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam. These non-native plants grow aggressively and shade out our own native plants. In some areas of the Plantations, trees are over-crowded and competing with each other for light and space. This leads to weak and spindly specimens that need to be removed to allow a smaller number to grow into strong, healthy woodland specimens.
Sometimes too much public access can also have a negative impact on conserving wildlife, especially during times when birds and animals are breeding or rearing their young. At these times, they are much more sensitive to us being present. An overall woodland management strategy is needed to provide a plan of action for the next 20 years.
The woodland management plan will set out what needs to happen each year to gradually improve the quality of the woodlands while protecting and enhancing their value for wildlife. This may recommend that during certain times of the year, levels of public access are restricted to provide undisturbed breeding areas, while footpath and nature trails will encourage greater access and enjoyment in other areas.
Share your feedback
We welcome comments and suggestions from all stakeholders and residents on the project proposals.