Irwell Valley Revival

Bridge over River Irwell

Phillips Park rejuvenation

As part of the Greater Manchester Environment Fund, Phillips Park in Greater Manchester will be given a new lease of life.

The Greater Manchester Environment Fund (GMEF) has been successful with a bid to Green Recovery Challenge Fund (GRCF), which will support environmental NGOs to deliver key nature recovery projects. These projects will help to achieve key results against the Greater Manchester Local Nature Recovery Network Strategy. 

The Irwell Valley Revival project, set out by Bury Council, City of TreesLancashire Wildlife Trust and The Friends of Prestwich Forest Park will kick start the recovery of management work in Phillips Park, Prestwich, to maintain and enhance the natural heritage of this much-loved wild space.

Phillips Park is a critically important Local Nature Reserve within a wider connected landscape of over 556 ha. Unfortunately, the site has experienced declined due to local authority financial constraints and this has been exacerbated by coronavirus, leading to almost limited management work since March 2020.

Large sections of the park’s ancient and semi-natural woodland have also been affected by invasive non-native plant species which threaten to reduce species diversity and in turn biodiversity within the woods.

It is now critical that this decline in quality of habitats, infrastructure and general condition is addressed immediately. The Irwell Valley Revival Project will kick start this recovery as well as increasing the resilience of well-established community groups at the site.

The project aims to restore and conserve nature, improving habitats to support flora and fauna with a focus on woodland, grassland and wetland.

Alongside this, the project will provide positive opportunities for the local and wider community in the city region, including many of those hit hardest by the pandemic. By connecting people with nature, the site will:

  • Raise awareness and celebrate the natural heritage of Phillips Park and its connected landscape amongst Greater Manchester residents through family events and engaging social content
  • Provide voluntary opportunities for local people to play an active role in their local natural environment whilst gaining new skills and improved health

The partnership project will increase the resilience of the long-established Friends of Prestwich Forest Park group and establish a series of City of Trees Citizen Forester

volunteers by supporting them to adapt to the immediate coronavirus restrictions and grow their volunteer base to support long-term sustainability of this urban wildlife haven.

Where is Phillips Park?

Phillips Park is on Manchester’s doorstep, as well as being within walking distance of the communities of Whitefield and Prestwich. It offers a countryside experience to these urban communities; something which the pandemic has highlighted more than ever as being vital to the health and wellbeing of people.

At a time when more people than ever are recognising the importance of nature for their health and wellbeing, combined with the heightened concern for our climate and biodiversity, it is critical that awareness of the site is increased and The Friends of Prestwich Forest Park are supported to increase their resilience.

The project will address this opportunity and provide a foundation for the long-term recovery of this site as a flagship visitor attraction – benefiting nature, communities and the economy.