Tales from the Riverside

 January 2009



James Thompson, former Nantwich Riverside Project Manager for two borough councils, and

now Executive Director of Greenspaces South Cheshire CIC, is a familiar face around

 the banks of the River Weaver. Here, he tells about the latest events down on the Riverside


Zoo backs biodiversity with flowers and fruit

HERE is a Press release issued following work to plant bluebells and launch a community orchard.


REPRESENTATIVES from Chester Zoo, the Nantwich Riverside Project and Nantwich in Bloom braved the winter weather to do their bit for local biodiversity as part of the Nantwich Riverside Project and the Cheshire Bluebell Biodiversity Action Plan.

   The team planted more than 10,000 English native bluebell bulbs along with several fruit trees with the long-term aim of establishing a community orchard in the area.

   With another 10,000 bluebells planted before Christmas, and the same amount again in 2009, this partnership work not only enriches the local environment but also contributes significantly towards achieving the Cheshire region Biodiversity Partnership’s (CrBP) target of increasing the range of the species.

   The work is being funded by a Chester Zoo Conservation Research Grant. This small grants fund provides vital support for practical conservation work



and research projects in the UK and overseas.

   Applications are carefully assessed for real

conservation impact; in 2008 more than £95,000 was provided to 40 projects. We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from Chester Zoo on this element of the Riverside Project, both in monetary terms and assistance on the ground.  I’m sure all the hard work in the snow will pay off with a fantastic show of blue in the spring.

oSarah Bird, Chester Zoo’s Biodiversity Officer said: “The British bluebell is internationally important with around half the world population of this species found here in the UK. However, our bluebells are suffering for many reasons, including loss of woodland and hybridisation with similar species that are grown in gardens. Chester Zoo is very pleased to be able to assist this project both financially and practically; we will certainly be back in Nantwich in May to see the show!”


lRight: James is pictured with Mark Hargreaves of Chester Zoo.            Pictures by Cliff Brett






At the apple trees planting (left) are: James Thompson (front, right), Alderman Doug Butterill (Chairman, Nantwich in Bloom Committee, rear, centre), Mark Hargreaves (rear, right) and Chester Zoo staff members, Clive Roe (kneeling) and Matthew Jenkins. No, they're not adding bluebell bulbs in with the tree roots - just a quirk of posing for a publicity picture involving two different aspects of biodiversity work!

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