Atherton Wood and Bedford Wood (also known as Hough Wood) are part of the boundary plantations of Atherton Hall which had an 18th-century landscaped park. Bedford Wood was presented to Leigh by Lord Lilford in 1914 and became Lilford Park. There is now a volunteer group dedicated to ensuring the park's future who have their own website called The Friends of Lilford Park.
|An artist's impression of the guided busway
Back at school the children will be using this first hand experience to do some descriptive and persuasive writing about whether they think the guided busway is a good thing or not. Hopefully this trip will help them make up their own minds.
Unfortunately, the bird life in Lilford Park seems to have suffered a decline in recent years and so the LOSYBC Team came armed with identification sheets for trees, spring flowers and winter twigs, just in case there weren't so many birds about.
|Martyn and Brian's Group
|Tony Talks to Everyone
Tony explained that many railway lines were closed in the 1960's following the Beeching Reports and that the proposed guided busway follows the route of some former railway lines from Leigh to Manchester via Tyldesley, Ellenbrook and Salford.
|The Route of the Old Railway Line
|A Worker on the Guided Busway
The busway is supposed to cut journey times by 45 minutes, with at least eight direct services on most of the route at peak times on weekdays.
|Hugging a tree
They found many beech (mast) nuts and acorns, some sycamore seeds, a pine cone or two and the remains of a few conkers. Some of the trees here are very old as can be told by their size and one group of children joined hands to encircle a tree and give it a hug!
|Looking for Woodpecker holes
He also said that the rotting tree stumps and branches were an important food source for insects, which in turn are an important food source for birds.
|Identifying a Leaf
The spring flowers weren't out (we didn't see any Snowdrops here today) yet but we did find some wild garlic leaves and a few fungi growing on the bark of dead trees.
|Tony is given a Sycamore Seed
Towards the end of the trip Tony also explained about the flood prevention mechanisms which have been put in place here to avoid flooding in the Lilford and Bedford areas of Leigh. A large flood storage basin has been created with a gate at one end which can be closed to hold back the floodwaters. With the gate closed, the water fills the basin and floods the meadows along one side of Atherton Wood, protecting the local houses.
To finish off the children had some time on the swings and slides in the playground area of the park. This was a really nice way to end what had been a very pleasant and successful morning for all of us. A big thanks must go to Mrs Currie, Mrs Chambers and all the support staff who made this such an enjoyable experience.