Friends of Low Hall meetings are held on the first Monday of every month in the 'Bird'i'th' Hand' public house on Liverpool Road, Hindley. - All are welcome.
The Friends of Low Hall (FLOW) is a group of local people formed to help manage and care for Low Hall Park off Liverpool Road, Platt Bridge. This became Low Hall Nature Reserve in 2009. It is home to the protected Water Vole, the Banded Demoiselle, Willow Tit and a whole host of other birds and animals.
Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust’s countryside manager Graham Workman said: “This is a stunning place and a real gem of a site. It has long been an important site of biodiversity.”
It was coal mining subsidence that created the flash on the site and the swampy areas caused by subsidence from long closed pits are a perfect environment for dragonflies and damselflies.
Low Hall became the fourth Local Nature Reserve in the borough of Wigan joining neighbouring Borsdane Wood in Hindley, Greenslate Water Meadow in Orrell and Wigan Flashes.
Key to the scheme has been the involvement of local people in the project – who have come together to become the Friends of Low Hall.
Graham added: “The newly-formed Friends of Low Hall have worked so hard over the last year.
They are super enthusiastic and I can’t see this being anything but a success because of their dedication.”
The scheme will also form part of the Greenheart Regional Park. This major initiative will unite country parks and open land from Pennington in Leigh to Haigh Hall in Wigan and transform an area of approximately 15 square kilometres at the heart of Wigan’s former coalfield, into a regional park of enormous significance for sports, leisure, nature and people.
Broadcaster and writer Stuart Maconie officially unveiled the borough’s fourth local nature reserve.
The Wigan-born Radio 2 star sowed wild flower seeds as Low Hall Park, Hindley officially became Low Hall Local Nature Reserve.
This designation recognises its pivotal role in helping to ensure the future of one of Britain’s most beautiful but under pressure species – the banded demoiselle – an iridescent blue and smaller cousin of the dragonfly. Another pressured species is the Willow Tit -a few of which have successfully thrived in the area for some time, along with others such as the Water Vole, Kingfisher and Grasshopper Warbler.
Also a rare Grizzled Skipper butterfly has also been spotted at the site – a first for Greater Manchester. A major feature is the involvement of local people in the project – who have come together to form the Friends of Low Hall working alongside Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT), Lancashire Wildlife Trust and local councillors to improve the area.
Mr Maconie has thrown his support behind the scheme, saying: “Wigan is proud of its industrial roots and proud of its recreational pursuits.
“So it seems only natural one should develop out of the other.”
Chairman of the Friends of Low Hall, Geoff Barrett, added: “This really is a wonderful wildlife haven. We’re all extremely proud of what’s been achieved so far.”
Since the opening in 2009 a lot of work has been done, both with the help of Wigan Leisure and Culture trust and Lancashire Wildlife trust as well as from various grants from Government.,The Lottery and Industry .
Many hundreds of wild flowers have planted to help form a wild flower meadow, and to add Bluebells to the woods, native tree species have been planted, including Holly and Hawthorn , and some non native trees and shrubs have been removed.
After the award of a Lottery Grant from the Awards for All Fund, a new woodland trail path was completed and an information board set up.
Similarly we successfully applied for a grant of £30,000 from 'Viridor', giving us the ability to begin fencing off the site to prevent intrusion by motorcycles and also to provide good paths around to give access for the disabled and pram users.
Using the funds from this grant, and a similar grant from the 'Million Pound Project', a section of several small ponds were added to the site to give better habitats for amphibians and the water voles. We are hoping to attract newts and more frogs as we already have a healthy population of Common Toads and various fish, notably Brown Trout and Chubb.
Most recently a grant of 150 trees from the 'Woodland Trust', and 132 more from the 'Willow Tit Conservation Project' have been planted to replace some of the non-native White Poplar trees removed as part of the plan to help promote a better environment for native wildlife.
We will continue to look for ways to improve and manage the site and its wildlife, by seeking funding and carrying out work ourselves and with the help of other volunteers from WLCT and LWT, and anyone interested in helping in any way, or becoming a member, can contact us by phone or email.
Or you can come to one of our meetings which are held on the first Monday of every month in the 'Bird'i'th Hand' pub on Liverpool Road Hindley.
Check out the 'Contact Us' page for more info and 'News and events' for updated information on what is happening , meetings and events to come.
For other information about the site,there are two leaflets in .pdf File form available to view or download below
'Low Hall Nature Reserve' includes a map
'History of Low Hall', tells the story of the site in some detail and was written by one of our members Joyce Haggerty
If you don't already have one you will need a pdf reader to see these such as Adobe Reader or Foxit Reader- download either from the links below
The Committee 2013 -Joyce, Richard, Mick, Geoff and John (-and John's Dog too!) (Picture by Liz Smith with thanks)