Friends of Lees Lane Ponds
Friends of Lees Lane Ponds are a green community group looking after the Ponds area for the enjoyment of all.
We are a new group of volunteers (formed last year) who want to conserve and enhance the environment around Lees Lane Ponds and improve this link to the Wirral Way for the enjoyment of local residents, walkers, horse riders and cyclists. We are also improving our knowledge about the Ponds and sharing this on schools and community visits and events.
Our aims are to improve plant and wildlife, promote good site management and share our knowledge about the Ponds. To achieve this we are involving the public and local residents, forming working parties, organising events, raising awareness amongst visitors and undertaking environmental studies.
We have successfully run four events so far and have a busy calendar of future activities. Our Easter Egg hunt with an environmental message was attended by over 80 children and parents. Pond-dipping events are proving popular with local schools and their eco-clubs. We are looking forward to a Bat Walk and an Apple Fest.
We organised pruning of some mature apple trees attended by 50 people and we also planted an “Edible” hedge to demark what will be a community orchard. We look forward to children planting apple trees through funding from the Tree Council’s Orchard Windfalls grant this autumn.
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
We have a pressing need to obtain the equipment required to fully make use of opportunities for community use. We propose to buy our own pond-dipping sets x5 (£250), bug viewer sets (£100), binoculars (£50). Our activities range from pond-dipping and learning about pond eco-systems, to bird watching, bat-walks and nature walks. We would also like a shower-proof canopy (£100) and equipment wheelie box (£50) upon which our funder could put logos.
Prior to the formation of the Friends the local council has upgraded basic infrastructure including a pond observation platform, accessible pathways and a cabin to act as a base on-site. Subsequently the fledgling Friends group has run some very successful events. Feedback has highlighted we need our own resources rather than borrowing ad-hoc equipment. There was encouragement for more guided walks and activities surrounding the ponds. Having an activity base well-stocked with equipment for children and adults would enable more ambitious events.
We have plans for much more next year. There are currently 30 active Friends who help organise the events – coming up are “drop-in” pond-dipping during school holidays, a bat walk, an Apple Fest and orchard tree-planting. Interest is strong from groups such as the 3 local primary schools, a local care home and sheltered housing, scouts and guides and Wirral Footpath Society.
We have established links to the local history groups, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, Chester Zoo and Ness Gardens as we research the history and flora / fauna of the Ponds / marl pits.
Our local community will benefit in the following ways:
The 3 primary schools within walking distance come to explore the ponds and wildlife
Children will come on wildlife and pondlife events – fun learning about the environment
Families will better understand and appreciate their local environment hot-spot
Adults with learning difficulties can come for therapeutic outdoor activities
Visitors will be informed about the special character and history of the Ponds.
"Friends of Lees Lane Ponds is a fantastic example of local volunteers working to improve the lives of their community. They have already begun to transform a neglected part of the Wirral Way into a thriving outdoor community space. I am pleased that local schools have participated and local residents are working together to restore and expand an old orchard for all ages to enjoy.
Louise Gittins, Cheshire West and Chester Councillor and Cabinet Member for Communities and Well-being"