The 30 Year Management Plan
The Trust is now in year five of its 30 year Management Plan, which was produced by the Trustees and David Southern with the assistance of Mersey Forest.
The Plan’s aim is to return areas of the park back to its original Dune Landscape, with the removal of gorse, sycamore and other non native species and in accordance with the Park’s status as a site of local biological interest (SLBI). Gorse removal will allow native and protected species such as Burnet Rose, Marram Grass and Sand Sedge to re-establish, provide sun basking areas for the common lizard and create a more open aspect to the walks. Seven new varieties of native trees are replacing the sycamores removed along the north and western boundaries, together with under planting of daffodils, snowdrops and winter aconites.
“Current Progress” – Autumn 2012
Where the Gorse has been removed over previous years, particularly in the north areas of the park, this initially left bare and rather unsightly tracts of land where the ground underneath the gorse had seen very little light for decades. However, the removal of the gorse provided the environment for native plants such as Burnet Rose, Sand Sedge, Marram Grass and a large variety of other native grasses to re-establish themselves and consequently to flourish and prosper.
Where once there was just gorse there are now swathes of grasses and other plants thriving and producing a far more interesting and varied landscape for all to enjoy. This variety of landscape and planting is important to the future wellbeing of the Park as it provides a more diverse habitat for plants, grasses, insects, birds, reptiles and animals to prosper.
The regeneration to the areas where the gorse has been removed this year, namely in the middle of the Park, south of the Site Cabin and along the south boundary of the Tennis club, have all benefitted (as well as the rest of the Park) from the somewhat “tropical” conditions we have experienced in the summer of very heavy rain storms followed by or in conjunction with warm weather. This has accelerated the growth of grasses and plants to re-establish and provide verdant cover where previously large areas would remain relatively bare for a number of years. It will be interesting to see whether this is how the seasons will behave in the future with drier winters and wetter summers and whether we are now experiencing a form of “Climate Change”.
One of the results of the drier winter and spring is that a number of saplings, that had been planted to replace the felled sycamores, have been unable to survive the drier conditions. Over the next few months we will be replacing these with new specimens and hope that they fare better.
The large wooded areas to the north, south and middle (around the playground) of the Park will largely remain unaltered apart from sensible woodland management but further gorse removal and replanting will continue over the coming years to create a more varied environment and habitat which in turn will also provide a more open aspect to the Park with larger vistas being created.
The Park remains an ever changing environment and one that requires a significant amount of work and planning to ensure that it remains safe and up to date but still retains its character as one of the few remaining Parks in the UK with a natural dune landscape. As such and as explained within the 30 Year Management Plan section, the Trustees are committed to re-establishing and retaining the natural habitat of the Park for future generations.
It would be fair to say that certain aspects of the Park, namely the encroachment of gorse and sycamores has been allowed to take more of a foothold than is desirable but this has and is continuing to be addressed on an annual basis. The effects of the removal of gorse and sycamore may, at times, seem a little radical but we hope you will agree the continuing results of the regeneration have been very worthwhile.
Dave Southern, the Park Warden, has been fully involved and committed in planning and carrying out the hard work associated with the gorse and sycamore removal and it is to his credit that he has accomplished these tasks in addition to his normal day to day and seasonal duties. Because the Park is such a large space and is, in essence, a natural Park, there are a huge number of tasks that need to be carried out to ensure that the Park retains its character but, at the same time, is also an environment that is suitable and enjoyable for the differing needs of the Members, whether this is a family with young children who enjoy exploring the Park and using the Playground or for dog walkers or for those who simply take pleasure in walking and relaxing in the Park.
THE KEY PARK—AERIAL VIEW
MANAGEMENT PLAN YEAR BY YEAR