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A £6,000 grant to improve some of Westhoughton’s most popular nature reserves has been awarded.

Eatock Lodge, Hall Lee Bank Park, Hall Lee Brook and Cunningham Clough will all benefit from the Westhoughton Town Council money in the coming weeks.

Town councillor David Wilkinson said: “Westhoughton’s open spaces are extremely important for all of our families to enjoy and I want to do everything we can to protect them.

“This money will go a long way in maintaining and improving these spaces as the town continues to grow.”

Following the flood events of Boxing Day, excessive amounts of land drainage water in Hall Lee Bank Park and Cunningham Clough led to bank erosion and trees being uprooted. In Cunningham Clough, the northernmost footbridge collapsed completely after the bank washed away.

In Hall Lee Bank Park a new coppice woodland will be created near Lower Landedmans, the Edwardian brook edge wall will be renovated, paths will be cleared, tree safety work will be carried out and hedgerows will be restocked.

A wildflower meadow will be created at Hall Lee Brook near Cow Lees and Fieldbrook Walk, footpaths will be resurfaced and the habits for bees and butterflies will be maintained.

Treatment of water lily and pondweed at Eatock Lodge will be carried out to prevent fish deaths, the Japanese Knotweed will continue to be tackled, coppicing of the woodland area will take place and woodland work will preserve the colliery landscape features.

Eatock Lodge is a designated Site of Biological Importance and was developed on an old colliery spoil tip known as Hoskers Nook. It supports a fishing lodge, species-rich grassland, a series of ditches and planted mixed woodland.

The Friends of Eatock Lodge group was set up by residents with the help of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust to help maintain the site and raise awareness of its historical and wildlife value.

The group often runs activities on the site including guided walks and talks, family fun days, community clean-ups and educational activities.

Cllr Wilkinson said: “Groups like this are the lifeblood of our nature reserves. It is thanks to hard-working volunteers that we can continue to enjoy them.”

Read about David’s campaign for open spaces – and show your support for it by voting for David Wilkinson for the Westhoughton South ward on Thursday 5 May.

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