New path and wildflower meadow for increasingly-popular Cuerden Valley Park

Work is about to begin on two new projects to improve Cuerden Valley Park.

By Catherine Musgrove
Thursday, 10th June 2021, 3:45 pm

With £55,000 funding from the Lancashire Environmental Fund and Clayton-le-Woods Parish Council, a new multi-use path will be built across a reclaimed meadow in front of the Visitor Centre and Café, which will be sown with wild flowers.

The path - to be made from recycled materials - replaces an existing route often known by runners as ‘Cardiac Hill’ which has suffered badly from erosion in the last few years.

Simon Thorpe, chief executive of Cuerden Valley Park Trust, said: “The existing path is narrow and steep and not suited to all our visitor’s needs.

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A wildflower meadow at Cuerden Valley Park

"Rather than repair the existing surface, which acts like a river in heavy rain, we are constructing a new wider path which meanders up the valley side, making circular routes in the Park accessible to more people."

Mr Thorpe said an increasing number of visitors to the park - more than 300,000 last year - combined with a lack of maintenance, climate change and increased water run-off due to nearby housing has lead to increased erosion throughout the park.

He added: The existing path has now been closed due to the extent of erosion and for the safety of our visitors.

"A temporary diversion has been created through the meadow linking the wooden footbridge to the Visitor Centre, giving a taste of the new path to come.”

Map showing the new path and the closed 'Cardiac Hill' path

The area, overlooked by the café, will offer greater access to the park, linking up with the wider network of paths and trails, currently heavily used by walkers and cyclists.

The Trust hopes that volunteers will be involved with the restoration of the meadow by sowing seeds and planting plugs of species common to the area such as Yellow Rattle, Oxeye Daisy, Ladies Bedstraw and Common Knapweed.

Design and construction work is set to start this summer.

Mr Thorpe added: “This is the first capital project in the parkland for some years, and we are enormously grateful for the support of the Parish Council and Lancashire Environmental Fund who have recognised the importance of investing in our beautiful Park to ensure it continues to meet the needs of our communities.”

Andy Rowett, Fund Manger of Lancashire Environmental Fund with Simon Thorpe, Chief Executive of Cuerden Valley at the top of 'Cardiac Hill'. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard