Woodland water trail and sculptures planned for moorland country park in Greater Manchester

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Six pieces will be developed, each focussed on a different area of the estate and revealing something of the history of the huge Smithills estate north of Bolton.

Three new sculptures and a new woodland water trail are planned for a moorland country park.

The Woodland Trust, who own and maintain the huge Smithills estate north of Bolton, plan a water trail and features through Walker Fold Woods, alongside Dean Brook.

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The trust said the trail would allow visitors an opportunity to learn more about the work the Woodland Trust does at Smithills to look after its habitats, as well as being informed of about the historic importance of the site.

The Smithills team have worked with community groups and six pieces will be developed, each focussed on a different area of the estate.

To tell the stories on the trail the trust have applied to Bolton Council to install information boards, steel silhouette sculptures, a bird hide and story stones.

Walker Fold Woods, Bolton Credit: via LDRSWalker Fold Woods, Bolton Credit: via LDRS
Walker Fold Woods, Bolton Credit: via LDRS | ldrs

Smithills estate is the largest site owned by the Woodland Trust in England and contains various habitats from woodland to extensive moorland including part of Winter Hill, which is dominated by the giant television mast.

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In a planning application to install three sculptures along the trail, the trust said the waterside trail was ‘the culmination of a five-year project’.

The statement, said: “The subject of this planning application are the Waterfold Trail features that form part of a cohesive network of interpretation across Smithills estate.

“The design, number and spread of features across the estate, and the individual locations of each feature have been chosen to create negligible visual impact on the landscape.

“The steel silhouettes will be situated at the at the side of the tramway which will draw people to walk along the tramway.

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Walker Fold Woods, BoltonWalker Fold Woods, Bolton
Walker Fold Woods, Bolton | ldrs

“Habitats benches will be situated on the side of a footpath in a clearing between the footpath and river. The community bird hide will be on the side of a footpath from the car park starting the Waterfold trail.”

The trust said the trail would be within ancient woodland which has persisted since 1600.

They said: “They are relatively undisturbed by human development. As a result, they are unique and complex communities of plants, fungi, insects and other micro-organisms, they are home to more threatened species than any other.”

Bolton Council will now consider the application for the sculptures.

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