Rivington Gardens Survey

Many Lancashire Wildlife Trust Volunteers would, like me, have received notice of a survey to be carried out at the Japanese Gardens  on the old estate of soap tycoon Lord Leverhulme.  William Hesketh Lever was a Bolton grocer who developed soap products in the cellar of his shop and went on to today's mighty detergent and chemicals empire Unilver.
The terraced gardens on the hillside at Rivington were designed by the landscape architect T. H. Mawson from the Lakeland Nursery in Wndermere in 1905.
Six volunteers from around the county took up the invitation to join the Groundwork project to restore the gardens; we were welcome by Project Manager Ben Williams before we set off into the gardens with Trust Senior  Conservation Officer John Lamb.

Well over a hundred species were identified and recorded during the day and, very importantly the group were able to learn a huge amount from John's expertise. It is vital that more people develop an understanding of the importance of of our native flora; and learning to identify the various species that most people pass by without a second glance leads to that understanding.
Trees, shrubs, grasses and flowering plants were the focus of the day but it became obvious that mosses, lichens and fungi were present in abundance and will merit some serious study in the near future.

Further surveys are to be carried out during September and Trust members can find out more by contacting Volunteer Coordinator Catherine Haddon at the Trust 
Photographs clockwise: Identifying aquatic species, Keying our ferns, examining species growing between paving stone, three fern frond: Lady Fern, Broad Buckler Fern, Male Fern.

The site of Rivington's Terraced Gardens seem to be an obvious site for a future field trip for the Botany Group. Let me have your views via the Contact Page.

Field Trip to Condor Green & Lancaster Canal

Our postponed Field Trip got off to a good start as 11 members of the Botany Group met up at the Condor Green car park to join our leader Eric Greenwood ably assisted by David Earl, Vice County Recorder for Lancashire VC 59 & 60.
Tyro botanists, such as myself, find it hugely beneficial to be in the company of such experienced and knowledgeable botanists as well as Sarah Stille, BSBI Vice County Recorder for Merioneth; Sheila Wynne, General Secretary of the Wildflower Society. http://www.thewildflowersociety.com
Leaving our cars well wrapped against the wind and with a promise of showers our first find on the edge of the marsh was Calystegia sepium Ssp Roseata which found in full bloom which is a rare occurrence I am told
We continued along the branch of the Lancaster Canal with occasional showers but enjoyed a picnic lunch in sunshine sheltered from the wind by one of the bridges.
Other finds included Common Hemp-nettle Galeopsis tetrhit  and Field Scabious Knautia arvensis.  All three finds were new to me though I am sure very familiar to other members of the party.
We were joined by a family group of Mute Swans who were obviously used to being fed  but had to resort to foraging amongst the Hemp Agrimony Eupatorium cannabinum.
This field trip was the last of the current season but we are very interested to hear your views on the future of the group; what type of activities would you like to take place? What sites would you like to visit? What training events would be useful to you? Would you be prepared to lead a field trip to your favourite patch?

Please tell us what you think so that we can include your ideas into our next year's programme. You can reply using the contact form.