Friday 26 April 2019

Wirral Walk for Wildlife

Thurstaston beach

Local conservationist Marcus Drummond has organised the Wirral Walk for Wildlife.

Saturday 11th May 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

We will walk along the Wirral Coast line from New Brighton to Wirral Country Park Thurstaston…in silence. The walk will be part bold statement of the silence of nature, part peaceful protest, healing meditative walk to observe and reflect. Participants are encouraged to make or bring banners so there is a message to the public to show who are the organisations representing and supporting each other as well as facts with impacts relating to this topic. This event will be open to the public to be involved. The more the better.

The event will be twofold: Firstly, the purpose of the silent walk is to make a bold statement about the loss of habitats, the lack of biodiversity of our countryside, the impact human activity is having on wildlife. The silence represents the effects of species decline and die-offs (nod to Silent Spring by Rachel Carson), extinction rates, of which is largely due to anthropological impacts.

The second is to create and develop more unity, cohesion and solidarity among the organisations involved with tackling these issues, those finding solutions, sharing good practice, and inevitably improving our green spaces and habitats for wildlife.

At the end of the walk I would like for as many organisations as possible to take a few minutes to share a few words about relevant data and how their organisations are working to find solutions and what we can do to help. This will take place outside, weather permitting, at the Wirral Country Park Thurstaston, and inside the lecture hall if the weather doesn’t look so good.

If you are interested in attending please register via

Marcus Drummond

Thursday 25 April 2019

Spring In Heswall Dales

Open Day Saturday 11th May 11.00 am - 3.00 pm

Come and experience ‘Spring in the Dales’ - enjoy woodland walks, rare lowland heath and stunning views over the Dee estuary, surrounded by the sights and sounds of spring.

  • Self-guided walking routes with information boards
  • Quiz sheets and species tick-lists
  • Bird song via QR/smart phones
  • Refreshments and toilets available at Dale Farm

Join in outside the Ranger’s Cottage next to Dale Farm off Oldfield Road - families and children welcome

Stout footwear and suitable outdoor clothing is recommended.

For more information check the Friends’ website:

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Planning With Wildlife In Mind

Woodland at Dibbinsdale SSSI. Photo: Linda Higginbottom

In 2016, Cheshire Wildlife Trust ran a survey asking members what they felt the Trust should focus on. One priority raised was planning, but please don't leave it all to our small staff.

There are three levels of planning development. At national level, there is the National Policy Planning Framework, revised in 2018. The draft, put out for public consultation, did not include any protection for Local Wildlife Sites, the backbone of regional nature conservation. Many organisations and people made representations, and the final version reinstated protection for LWS, along with better protection for ancient woodland and ancient trees. If enough people shout, things can be changed!

The second level is the "Local Plan", so-called even when it applies to an area as big as Cheshire East. These are drawn up by local authorities, with a series of stages and public consultations. In Wirral we are still going through this process, after years of disagreement about how many houses Wirral really needs. High estimates for numbers needed led last autumn to a Green Belt Review over releasing land for building. No-one likes losing Green Belt land, so this has generated much heat and confusion. Green Belt is not a nature conservation designation, but in Wirral, with 46% land already built up, the green areas hold much of our remaining wildlife. Impacts would be felt even by protected sites such as Dibbinsdale SSSI and LWS (eg Prenton Dell, Harrock Wood). Wirral Wildlife has done its own planning comments for 44 years, since Wirral Borough was separated from Cheshire. So we put together a 35-page document, commenting on every parcel of land, about its value (or otherwise) for wildlife conservation, wildlife corridors, flood control, air quality, food production, and its value for people to experience wildlife. We await the next stage, when the planning officers and councillors have managed to digest the 3000+ submissions (they have our sympathy). Because we have a long record of considered, evidenced comments on planning matters, we do know our document will be taken seriously. (Those of you in other areas whose Local Plans are decided or nearly so, do not relax too much - they are subject to 5-yearly review!)

The third level of planning is development control, decisions on applications to build, made using the Local Plan, NPPF, and other "material considerations". Wirral Wildlife rarely needs to object outright, but we often ask for further surveys e.g. bats, and for conditions on the planning permission e.g. to protect trees or wildlife. Our standard badger conditions include "no hole to be left open overnight without a means of escape provided". Some years ago a builder turned up one morning to find a very irate badger in his foundations, which took much time and several skilled people to release.

You can help in 3 main ways:

1) You know your local area best, including where the wildlife is. So keep an eye on your local development control applications, through the press, websites and word of mouth. Write to comment or object, or alert CWT staff to do so.

2) Keep an eye on Local Plan and other consultations. Sometimes CWT will ask for people to write in on such matters; please do so. It may feel like a waste of time, but the ultimate decisions are made by politicians - and they depend on our votes.

3) When development is permitted in your area, look up the conditions on the local authority website, and check to see if they are observed e.g. have the retained trees been protected by fencing? In Wirral we have a good success rate of getting the conditions we want, but Enforcement is our next big challenge.

Hilary Ash,
Hon Conservation Officer

Thursday 18 April 2019

The City Nature Challenge

This year, the Liverpool City Region is taking part in the 2019 City Nature Challenge, in which the city will compete against other cities, globally, in what has been described as the ‘premier league’ of wildlife recording.

City Nature Challenge is organised on a global scale by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences.

Between the 26th and 29th April, over 150 cities worldwide will be competing to find urban and record wildlife. We will be pitting our wildlife spotting skills against the likes of Athens, LA, London and Manchester.

There are two ways to get involved with this fun and friendly competition. You can take part independently using the iNaturalist app to record any wildlife you spot over that weekend. You could record the ladybirds living on your balcony, the birds in the local park or the mushrooms you’ve seen on a walk in the countryside. The app is available to download at

You can also get involved by joining us at one of the many recording events taking place that weekend in parks and greenspaces across the Liverpool city Region held by Liverpool’s amazing local and national conservation organisations.

On Friday the 26th April, Croxteth Park Volunteer Group will be kicking off the Challenge with a Wildlife Walk and Recording Session. On the same day, a Wildlife Recording Day will be taking place at Royden Park organised by RECORD at 10am. On Saturday 27th Heal Earth are hosting a Family Foraging Walk at the North Wirral Coastal Park. And on Sunday 28th to round off the weekend we will be hosting a Wildlife Bring and Share Picnic at Freshfield in Formby, recording wildlife at the Lunt Meadows, Seaforth Nature reserve and Freshfield Dune Heath.

Anyone is welcome to come along and have a go. More information on the recording events taking place that weekend can be found by heading to and searching for 'Greenspace and Wildlife: LCR Year of the Environment’.

Anyone who joins in will be helping to make a difference, mapping where wildlife lives in the city. The information from this weekend will be added to the UK’s biodiversity database, becoming part of the data used to protect nature.

Ben Deed, Lead Environmental Records Officer for Merseyside Biobank said “The City Nature Challenge is a global competition where the Liverpool City Region will join together and go toe-to-toe with the rest of the world to showcase it’s incredible wildlife. We need your help to do this but It’s really easy to take part. Just download the iNaturalist App, get outdoors and upload photos of the wildlife you see. By taking part will help you to discover plants, animals and fungi that make our parks and greenspaces their home and the information you send in will be shared with a range of organisations to help improve our knowledge of wildlife across the region, promoting and protecting important places for wildlife and aiding conservation and scientific research..”

Records also help owners and organisations manage land for all species, and track how climate change, habitat management and other changes affect biodiversity over time – locally and nationally, as our records feed into the national NBN database.”

Monday 8 April 2019

Wildlife Recording Day

Take part in the Wildlife Recording Day taking place at Royden Park/ Thurstaston Common on 26th April, from 10am to 3pm.

As part of the City Nature Challenge help record as much wildlife as possible in one day. Experts will be on hand to assist with identification.

To book a place please email