A new project is being launched to look at how the Tawd Valley, often described as the ‘jewel in the crown of Skelmersdale’ could be developed to improve its appeal and accessibility to local people. A wide ranging consultation will take place between now and October culminating in a Master Plan to guide future development and look at how the park can be sustainable.
The Tawd Valley, a lush wooded valley running for 2km through the heart of Skelmersdale is an underutilised local resource with huge potential to provide opportunities for both wildlife enthusiasts and those simply looking for recreational activities to enjoy.
As well as being a beautiful and restful country escape in the heart of the town, the valley is a haven for wildlife. Tests over recent years have indicated that the water quality of the river is generally very good, providing a healthy home and habitat for a variety of fauna. Last year, 1,500 fish, mainly Roach, Chub and Dace, were released into the Tawd in the Park. Kingfishers have also been spotted there in recent times. The hope is that the future development of the valley will further improve the natural environment including the creation of sustainable wetlands in specific areas beside the river to further improve the quality of the water running through the Tawd into the River Douglas.
As well as looking after the ecological interests of the valley, the Park needs to provide recreational opportunities for local people such as walking, jogging, and cycling, as well as fishing and bird watching. The overall aim of the project is look at how to provide opportunities for people to enjoy the valley to the full, whilst at the same time generating the financial resources needed for the area to be looked after and maintained.
The first phase of the project will involve a community consultation with local residents and people who already use or have an interest in the park including local primary schools, secondary schools and colleges, to see what direction future improvements should take. The results of these consultations will help to inform the content of a questionnaire that will be issued later in the summer to seek the wider views of other members of the public as to how the Tawd Valley might be developed.
Members of the public are invited to attend a consultation event being held by Groundwork Cheshire Lancashire and Merseyside, with support from West Lancashire Council for Voluntary Service on Wednesday 21st June, from 6.30pm in the main hall at the Ecumenical Centre, Northway, opposite the Concourse. As well as gathering people’s views as to how the Tawd Valley should be developed, one of the main aims of the consultation event is to identify people with an active interest in the Park who might wish to go on to form a ‘Friends of the Tawd Valley Park’ group to look after the park in years to come.
The project is being led by West Lancashire Borough Council supported by a Project Steering group with representatives from the Environment Agency, County Council, the River Douglas Catchment Partnership, Groundwork CLM, West Lancs CVS and SHARES.
For more information on the consultation event on the 21 June, contact the CVS on 01695 733737.