Chadkirk is an attractive place to visit, whether you come for a daily walk, or enjoy family time, visit for the Festival, Bat and Bird Box making or one of the other events. Part of the pleasure of this unique place is intangible: the beauty of the landscape, the buildings, the walled garden, all contribute.
However the Country Park at Chadkirk has another key aspect. Conservation. It is a place where wildlife habitats are managed to enable flourishing biodiversity. It was set up , in part, as safe place for wildlife. Whereas hedges and meadows, ancient woodlands and ponds have been disappearing from the British landscape, here there is a strong intention to protect and enable wildlife to flourish, to manage and protect.
In recent decades Friends of Chadkirk, Stockport MBC, the Ranger Service and other environmental groups have made significant contributions. During that time, there have been many projects, big and small, that have enabled the biodiversity of Chadkirk to increase.
Each of these projects has played it’s part in making Chadkirk the special place that it is today. None more than the Coronation Meadow.
The Coronation Meadows Project is led by Plantlife in partnership with The Wildlife Trusts and The Rare Breeds Survival Trust. By establishing a meadow in every county as a way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation, each meadow is a living breathing link from the past to our shared future.
Here’s how Plantlife describe the project:
97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930s.
Inspired and initiated by HRH The Prince of Wales, the Coronation Meadows Project is:
Celebrating our surviving meadows – identifying a flagship Coronation Meadow for every county in the UK.
Creating new meadows by using the seed or green hay from these Coronation Meadows at receptor sites in the same county.
Increasing the area of this valuable habitat provides new homes for bees, butterflies and other pollinators and helps to secure our wild flower heritage for the next 60 years and beyond.
There is only one Coronation Meadow in Greater Manchester. It’s here. At Chadkirk. This 13 hectare site is a rare gem in an increasingly urban environment. With so many green spaces trampled or degraded because of a variety of pressures, this site is unique in the area.
Friends of Chadkirk have been involved in it’s growth and development. In 2015 volunteers will work closely with staff of Stockport MBC Ranger Service to collect seeds, so that plug plants can be grown and planted out in other locations.
Volunteers monitoring species richness in this part of Chadkirk have noted an increased diversity. They say:
The diversity of Coronation Meadow is growing year on year and in the past couple of years a large colony of Six-Spot Burnet moths has developed and plants such as Birdsfoot Trefoil have helped support Common Blue Butterflies.
In the autumn and winter months Coronation Meadow at Chadkirk provides winter grazing for cattle. The sight of a small herd of cattle grazing on meadow land is rare. A reminder of traditional links between wildlife and farming practices which allow rich biodiversity.
The three wildlife ponds in Coronation Meadow also support a large variety of aquatic wildlife including water beetles, dragon flies, frogs, toads and newts.
The successful management of the Ancient Woodland of Little Wood and Kirk Wood, the ponds and meadows at Chadkirk are testament to the careful and wise stewardship of a few which enables the many visitors to enjoy all this precious gem has to offer.