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Accrington to boast two largest local nature reserves in Lancashire

Hyndburn has become the first district in the county to meet accessible natural green space targets

Volunteer group scything meadow

Two of the largest local nature reserves in Lancashire have been established in Accrington.

Hyndburn has also become the first district in the county to meet national targets for ‘accessible natural green space’.

The local nature reserves will cover Peel Park, including land at the Coppice, Arden Hall and Plantation Road, and Woodnook Vale, including land at King George V Playing Fields, some areas of Bullough Park and Rothwell Heights.

Map of the Peel Park local nature reserve in Accrington.

Coun Ken Moss, cabinet member for leisure, said it is the culmination of a two-year project and extra funding is being sought.

He told a recent cabinet meeting: “They will be the two biggest in Lancashire and we are the first council to achieve the national recommended daily dose of local nature reserves.

"This is a long-term thing and I’m keen to push it through.

“We have got those areas, we are lucky to have them and we should designate them and there’s a lot of work being going on with local schools and groups.

Map of the Woodnook Vale local nature reserve in Accrington.

“There’s work ongoing trying to pull in funding from external sources and there’s lots and lots of different projects going on.”

Council leader Miles Parkinson said it was a great achievement and will also help protect against future housing development.

He told the meeting: “It’s pleasing that we are one of the first councils to designate such large areas for nature reserves.

“It also plays into part of the strategy for the future development of the borough and making sure that it’s protected, because we do have to deliver housing, and the figures set down in the core strategy will be about 4,000 properties.

Woodnook Vale path in Accrington.

“It’s important that we have in the urban boundaries and urban areas open space for the public to access.

"We are a small borough, densely populated over a small area but with the countryside in walkable distance.”

Tory group leader Coun Tony Dobson said: “I think we need to do all we can in projects like this and I think the designation can be nothing but a good thing.

“The Conservative group is more than happy to welcome it and I congratulate everyone who has taken part to get it to this stage because I do know that a lot of work has gone into it.”

Woodnook water in Accrington
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