Chorley woods revamp opens this month

Michael Hunt

A £500,000 revamp of derelict woods in Chorley is set to be officially unveiled to the public this month.

For the past two years Big Wood and neighbouring Copperworks Wood have undergone a transformation to create around 18 hectares of woodland and a network of footpaths.

Chorley Council and Reclamation and Management of Derelict Land made the work possible, with funding provided by the North West Development Agency, Lancashire County Council, Biffa Award and Action Douglas and Yarrow.

A further £75,000 has been allocated for spring 2010. The official opening of the new extension to Yarrow Valley Country Park is to be held on Thursday 22 October.

The woods were previously derelict, underused and neglected and included the old lodges for the former Chorley Bleach Works, which has long since been demolished.

The first phase of works between 2007 and 2008 involved extensive engineering works to the lodge.

The second phase of the scheme, to reclaim the land, started in autumn 2008 and was completed in the summer this year.

Richard Tracey, head of environmental quality at the North West Development Agency, said: "The REMADE programme has already made significant progress, transforming a number of brownfield land sites throughout Lancashire and creating strategic green spaces.

"The new extension to Yarrow Valley Country Park, together with the advanced facilities for low mobility users will improve the quality of life for all residents, attract visitors and create an area more appealing to investors. These three elements will go towards improving the environmental, social and economic well-being of the region."

A management plan has been agreed to ensure continued aftercare and maintenance of wildlife, trees, wild plants and the upkeep of paths and associated infrastructure is undertaken.

The Big Wood and Copperworks Wood site is one of a number of reclamation schemes being implemented through the Lancashire County Council REMADE programme, which was established to reclaim derelict, underused and neglected land across the county and is funded by the North West Development Agency.

Funds were also donated by Biffaward, a multi-million pound environment fund which utilises landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Waste Services, and Chorley Council in partnership with Groundwork.

Big Wood and Copperworks Wood are located close to Yarrow Valley Way and Common Bank.

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