Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) are sites that contain wildlife and/or geological features that are of special interest locally. Their function is to provide opportunities for people to become involved in the management of their local environment as well as giving people special opportunities to study, learn or simply enjoy nature.
LNRs will offer many benefits not only to wildlife but also to the quality of life for the people of Manchester. The benefits of LNRs can be summarised as: -
- Protection of wildlife habitats and natural features
- Increased community awareness and enjoyment of the natural environment through greater involvement
- Provision of an environment in which people can learn about and study nature
- Building relationships between Local Authorities, national and local conservation bodies and local people
Manchester currently has seven Local Nature Reserves.
Chorlton Water Park is owned by Manchester City Council and managed as part of the Mersey Valley Project. The site is of regional importance for its winter wildfowl populations and as such is a Grade A Site of Biological Importance. The sites cover 7.9 hectares that is mainly the manmade reservoir and associated shrub and grassland.
Blackley Forest is owned by Manchester City Council and managed as part of the Irk Valley Project. The site covers 19 hectares, consisting of predominately plantation woodland, semi natural broadleaved woodland, ponds, and neutral/basic grassland. The Forest is a Grade B Site of Biological Importance as it contains a good example of broadleaved woodland with a rich variety of ground flora.
Clayton Vale is owned by Manchester City Council and managed as part of the Medlock Valley Project. The site covers approximately 57 hectares, consisting of unimproved grassland, woodland, three ponds and the river Medlock. The vale has two ponds that are Grade C Sites of Biological Importance containing common reed and supporting a wide range of aquatic species.
Chorlton Ees & Ivy Green are owned by Manchester City Council and managed by the Mersey Valley Warden Service. The sites mainly contain woodland and grassland and combined covers over 58 hectares. Chorlton Ees is designated as Site of Biological Importance Grade B with its mix of woodland and wildflower meadows.
Boggart Hole Clough contains the largest woodland Clough in Manchester, with its parkland forming a landscape of mature woodland, grasslands and lakes in the Charlestown ward. It is 75.9 hectares in size and is managed by Manchester Leisure.
Highfield Country Park is an area of urban countryside set just over 31 hectares of open space in the Levenshulme Ward. The park is managed by Manchester Leisure.
Stenner Woods and Millgate Fields are neighbouring sites, managed by the Mersey Valley Warden Service since 1978. It is for this reason that these sites have been designated as one local nature reserve.
Image courtesy of Martin Palmer
Stenner Woods and Millgate Fields comprise a variety of habitats, including woodland, mature plantation coppices, grasslands, ponds and ditches. Stenner Woods is classified as a grade B Site of Biological Importance as it contains a rich area of wet woodland that is an UK priority habitat. Other habitats include open water and marshy grasslands. A variety of breeding birds have been recorded and breeding frogs, toads and newts are also present.