River quality project aims to improve wildlife habitat

WATER WORKERS: Steve Rhodes, right, and councillor Adrian Lowe, second right
WATER WORKERS: Steve Rhodes, right, and councillor Adrian Lowe, second right
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A scheme to improve the water quality of a town’s river at its popular park - providing a natural habitat for wildlife - is now complete.

The creation of a reed bed to help ‘filter’ the water of the River Chor through Astley Park in Chorley has also seen more than 700 trees, native hedgerow and woodland understory shrubs planted, plus hundreds of wetland and woodland wildflower plants and millions of wildflower seeds sown in the £35,000 project.

The Friends of Astley Park, concerned about the lack of plant and fish life in the river, spearheaded the project with support from Chorley Council. They won more than £13,000 from the Lancashire Environmental Fund; £10,000 from Chorley Council; £8,000 from the Environment Agency and £4,000 from Highways England. Coun Adrian Lowe, who oversees the park for the council, said: “The reeds are beginning to grow and the wetland and woodland area is already flourishing. We’ve improved the footpaths in the area and installed an interpretation board telling the story of the project and illustrating the wildlife which now thrive in the newly created area for people to enjoy.”

Steve Rhodes, chairman of the Friends, said: “We do regular clean ups of the river, picking litter and clearing blockages but the lack of fish and plant life concerned us. When we looked into it we faced many historical problems that would be impossible to tackle so we came up with the idea of the reed bed to help filter the water, researched it, put it to the council and sourced the grants. We’ve carried out much of the native planting within the new reed bed and wildlife area during work days, including planting a native hedgerow and wetland and wildflower plants.”