Areas to Target
The focus of the campaign is the improving biodiveristy of the urban environment in Wigan – these are our streets, parks and gardens.
These suggested areas are just a starting point to get the ball rolling. We welcome your suggestions for anywhere else you think would benefit.
The areas we have suggested initially are both private and council-run, we believe this is the best approach for a larger positive impact on the nature of our town.
Mesnes Park is a beautiful space in the town centre. It's well cared for but mostly ornamental, with annual bedding plants that are put each each year. In general, it’s very highly manicured and with many rhododendrons that are spreading all over.
Rhododendrons, which are prominent, are invasive and non-native to the UK. They were popular in Victorian times in manicured lawns and gardens, but we know more now.
They are shown to reduce the number of birds, earthworms and plants in surrounding areas. It is because of the abundance, we should aim to diversify the plant life in Mesnes Park.
There is the opportunity for a wildflower meadow in a corner or two to encourage more biodiversity, plus more areas for border bulbs and pollinating plants in general.
Grass verges small areas that may not look like they have much to offer, but they add up.
Once you start looking around town, you will see empty areas of grass everywhere. These areas are being mowed and have herbicides used on them - all this maintenance costs money.
To replace some of these space with wildflower areas, and to leave some to grow naturally could add up to some 60 hectares.
Around the immediate grounds of the hall and the Courtyard Kitchen are large areas of manicured grass. Along with the mature trees in the woodland, there is great potential to bring more wildlife to the area.
Being in such a prominent and well-visited place, it could be a great learning opportunity for young people and provide a beautiful opportunity to see nature thriving.
Wigan In Bloom
Another great opportunity is the annual Wigan in Bloom campaign.
Every year Moss Bank provide and maintain around 65,000 plants to be displayed around Wigan Centre and beyond.
There is plenty of scope here to review plant choices and increase plants that are considered perfect for pollinators and more perennials /diversity of plant choice.
Some of the planters around the town centre, for example, are quite big and very deep. The compost required for that is not cheap and they could hold something more substantial in size, however they often have shallow rooted annual plants in.
There could be space in your garden for a wildflower patch, or a few new pollinator plants. Generally, it's not expensive, and it's quick to start.
Private gardens make up the largest area of managed green spaces in Wigan Borough, and have great potential to transform the borough and be an important habitat.
If residents have a yard, and it's possible to do so, they try pulling up some flags so you can plant directly in the ground, it allows the roots to grow better and means the plants are less likely to dry up than in a pot.
Our role as residents is important - go to Ways to get involved to find out more about what you can do at home.
We're actively working with local community groups to identify areas where they can have a portion of the garden reserved for wildflowers and native plants.
This is relatively cheap and easy and easy for the gardeners to get involved in too. This includes cemeteries, community gardens and spaces and working with many 'Friends of' groups.
Town Centre Parks
Town Centre parks have a lot of opportunity to create for wild spaces. Playing and recreational fields are often expansive and not fully utilised by people.
For example, Alexandra Park and Walmsley Park are great recreational spaces, with plenty of playing fields.
A small portion of these could be sectioned and used as a wildflower meadow fairly easily.