You beauty! Award for lodges' makeover after volunteers transform land

Bury Times: TRANSFORMATION: Dot Wood holding the award with Rod Wood and Hazel Herdson TRANSFORMATION: Dot Wood holding the award with Rod Wood and Hazel Herdson

HARD-WORKING volunteers who have spent years transforming an unloved space into a natural beauty spot were honoured at a prestigious awards ceremony.

Red Bank Lodges in Radcliffe used to be a magnet for flytippers and vandals but after years of work by residents, tenants and community groups is now a haven for wildlife.

Dot Wood, chairman of Abbey Close Tenants and Residents Association (TRA) and husband Rod attended a prize-giving held by the national Access to Nature scheme, which has supported the lodges’ makeover.

At the ceremony in Birmingham’s Botanic Gardens Countryfile presenter John Craven presented certificates to volunteers from 115 projects from across the country.

Dot said: “We were thrilled to be invited to Birmingham to collect the award which celebrates the journey to turn this space from a run down and neglected place to something beautiful which everyone can enjoy.

“Shaking John Craven’s hand cemented all the hard work we and many other residents and volunteers have put in which is a fantastic thing.”

With help from Six Town Housing, police, Radcliffe primary schools and Bury Council members of the TRA and other volunteers cut back undergrowth and removed dead trees and litter from the lodges.

Volunteer wardens regularly patrol the area to prevent antisocial behaviour and new benches, wildflower garden, aquatic shrubs, nesting boxes and information boards have been installed.

There is also a pond dipping platform providing a facility for children and families to observe pond life and learn about wildlife.

TV presenter John Craven said: “It is a privilege to be involved in this event which recognises and celebrates the achievements of so many people who are making a real difference in their own communities.

“From the work I have done over many years, I see time and time again the positive impact of the natural environment on people's lives, and the scope and range of Access to Nature has allowed so many more people to get involved.”

Liz Newton, Natural England’s Director of Access & Engagement, said: “The range and diversity of the Access to Nature projects is spellbinding.

“The teams involved have come up with so many different ways of helping people of all ages and abilities to experience the delights of nature and wildlife.”

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