The final blog entry from Laura George, Saltscape Trainee working with Saltscape Partner Cheshire Wildlife Trust.
At the centre of Northwich, in the middle of a highly industrial landscape, we discovered a gem of a site for wildlife. Furey Tip lies on top of a steep sided bund on the banks of the Weaver Navigation, and next door to a large chemical works. Given the sites past and current surroundings, it is remarkable to think that it could be anything other than an industrial wasteland. But it is in fact, a haven for wildlife, and home to such rarities as the beautiful bee orchid.
Furey Tip lies on the site of a disused lime bed, where ash and lime-rich waste from the nearby chemical industry were deposited. Surprisingly it is this highly alkaline industrial by-product which has led, in part, to the sites diverse wildlife community which includes the increasingly rare dingy skipper butterfly. The dingy skipper is attracted to carpets of common and greater bird’s foot trefoil, bright yellow flowering plants which are the preferred food plant for both the adult and larval stages.
This survey forms part of the work being undertaken by Cheshire Wildlife Trust for the Saltscape Project and will guide the development of a management plan to improve the site’s condition, as it currently being left to its own devices. A lack of management is slowly allowing the site to become overgrown with large bramble banks and tree scrub, which will eventually completely take over. Our surveying work and management recommendations will prevent this site and its amazing wildlife from being lost.
And on that positive note, it’s time for me to finish. Time has flown by and my six month traineeship has come to an end. I’ve had a wonderful time, learnt many new fascinating things about wildlife and the heritage of Saltscape, and picked up lots of useful skills to help my career. So, thank you Cheshire Wildlife Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund and of course, Saltscape!
Farewell Laura. Thanks for the fascinating blog entries. They give a great insight into the important role of conservation work in the Saltscape partnership. We wish you all the best on your next project!
Bee Orchid Photo: Amy Lewis