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Cheshire Wildlife Trust completes triumphant outdoors project

Malpas celebration held at trust's HQ at Bickley Hall Farm

Ladies Birdwatching Group

The grand finale has taken place of Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Great Outdoors Malpas project.

To mark the project’s achievements a celebration event was held at the trust’s headquarters at Bickley Hall Farm, Malpas, for all participants.

The year-long project has seen more than 100 people aged over 50 take part in an exciting range of activities to help them engage with their community, develop new hobbies and build new friendships.

Participants have cruised on a canal barge observing wildlife along the way, learnt how to take interesting wildlife photographs, taken part in wildlife walks and created a whole host of exciting art projects using natural materials.

Wood flowers made by the group

Other highlights involved learning about bee-keeping at Bickley and the ecology of the mosslands around Delamere.

The project, which was funded through Brightlife, a partnership led by Age UK Cheshire, had the aim of countering social isolation in the older generation and re-engaging these individuals with Cheshire’s beautiful wildlife.

Community engagement officer at Cheshire Wildlife Trust, Anne Brenchley, said: “All the activities were aimed at getting this group of people more involved in their community.

“Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed the activities. In fact many of the activities have led to new groups being formed to carry on the pursuits of bird-watching and bee-keeping.”

As a whole, the participants have walked 455 miles, identified 95 different bird species, taken part in 13 different activities and have produced 13 jars of honey.

“It just goes to show that you are never too old to connect with nature and make new friends!” said Anne.

Joan Meredith shows off her bookmark

The activities didn’t stop as, during the celebration event itself, participants were involved in a wildlife walk around the farm, as well as having opportunities to get creative making 3D hangings, bookmarks and flowers out of wood.

Another permanent achievement from this project is that Clayhole Croft, a small piece of parish owned land in Malpas, was transformed by a dedicated group of volunteers inspired by this project. This once dark, uninviting and forgotten place, is now back to its full glory.

Clayhole Croft, Malpas

With a view over surrounding farmland, the overgrown hedge was rejuvenated and new benches were put in to make this area a comfortable resting place for all to enjoy.

Non-native plants were removed and replaced with native plantlife which will support local wildlife.

The group were provided with training by Cheshire Wildlife Trust in how to maintain the area including how to safely use tools which has enabled them to be self-sufficient into the future.

Participant Anne Walker, from Malpas, joined the project when it first started a year ago.

Anne Walker making her 3D art hanging

“I’ve really enjoyed the creative activities; it has been lovely to be able to get involved with hands-on art projects and meet like-minded people,” she said.

“It has been a fabulous experience – I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

Cheshire Wildlife Trust runs year-round volunteering opportunities and also holds wildlife themed events throughout the year, visit www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk to find out more.

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