‘Fantastic’ £61,000 project transforms Preston park landscape

Facelift: Haslam Park, off Bristow Avenue in Ashton, Preston
Facelift: Haslam Park, off Bristow Avenue in Ashton, Preston
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A major project to transform a city park has been described as “fantastic” by community leaders.

The £61,000 scheme to conserve threatened plants in Haslam Park in Preston has now been completed, including the creation of a wetland habitat.

The project was led by Lancashire Wildlife Trust along with the Friends of Haslam Park, whose volunteers worked with staff from the trust.

Coun Elizabeth Atkins, who represents Ashton ward, said: “I think that’s brilliant, it’s fantastic. I am 100 per cent supportive of Haslam Park, I think it is beautiful and the Friends of Haslam Park are so hard-working and committed to the park.

“They treat it almost like it’s their own garden. It is a very alive place, it’s not just a little plot of green, its used a lot and it is well-maintained.”

The project at the park took place in different stages.

First, the staff and volunteers collected seeds from plants in the park, with an emphasis on rare, declining and threatened plants associated with ponds and wetlands.

They then landscaped an area of the park to create a wetland habitat. Plants that had been grown off-site from the collected seeds were then planted in the new habitat.

Targeted habitat-management was also undertaken to ensure the plants become established and are conserved long-term. Three interpretation boards, describing the work’s aims and objectives, have also been installed.

Funding for the project came from Preston Council and The Veolia Environmental Trust, who awarded a grant of £49,082 through the Landfill Communities Fund.

Chris Taylor of Lancashire Wildlife Trust said: “It has been really satisfying to see the ponds fill up.

“We are getting reports of wildlife sightings already. As early as last summer we had several species of damsel fly and even a kingfisher using the site.”

Executive director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, Paul Taylor, said: “It is great to hear that this important project is now complete. It is an excellent example of how we and the Landfill Communities Fund can help projects to protect and improve vital habitats.”