During the 1960s The Astley Hall Nature Trail was developed which went through the Astley Park woodland from the old children’s play area (next to the main path) and on to Ackhurst Lodge. Plants were listed that were growing on the course of the former nature trail. In 2016 Friends of Astley Park volunteers identified fifteen species that were no longer present on this route.

There were two main reasons for this happening. There had been an increase in beech trees which only allow spring flowering wildflowers to flourish and large areas had been covered by Himalayan Balsam which had killed off the existing wildflowers.

We work with staff and pupils from Astley Park School to grow one hundred plants of each of the fifteen species of woodland wildflowers as listed below.

Alchemilla vulgaris (Lady’s mantle)
Anemone sylvestris (Snowdrop windflower)
Campanula trachelium (Nettle leaved bellflower)
Centaurea nigra (Knapweed)
Conopodium majus (Pignuts)
Filipendula ulmaria (Meadowsweet)
Galium molluge (Hedge bedstraw)
Geranium robertianum (Herb robert)
Geranium sylvaticum (Wood cranesbill)
Lychnis flos-cuculi (Ragged robin)
Lysimachia nemorum (Wood pimpernel)
Petasites hybridus (Butterbur)
Primula vulgaris (Primrose)
Ranunculus flammula (Lesser spearwort)
Viola riviniana (Dog violet)

In September 2016 the first batch  of the woodland wildflowers were planted in the Great Wood part of the Park by members of our group.

However sadly, at around this time Astley Park School had problems with vandals so it was decided that another school should be asked to participate in completing our project. Buckshaw School was approached and they agreed to help us. The school’s Gardening Club which comprised keen young gardeners grew six species of plants from seed amounting to about 20 trays. The seedlings were planted in the Spring of 2017.

To complement the woodland wildflower planting, beech saplings were removed by our volunteers. We are also continuing with our Balsam Bashing to control the spread of this plant in the Park.