Wildflowers, pollinators and birds to benefit from work to improve river habitats in Milton
The River Trent is the third longest river in England, flowing for 185 miles. It starts its epic journey as a natural spring high up on Biddulph Moor, north of Stoke-on-Trent.
As it travels through the city it is still in its infancy, and just a few feet wide in places. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Milton, in the north of the city. The diminutive channel here is easy to overlook, but it nevertheless still provides a great green corridor for connecting wildlife throughout the city.
Under the SUNRISE Project, funded by the ERDF (European Regional Development Agency), we are looking to maximise this already good habitat by improving the woodland and wetland habitats alongside the river.
A few areas of this woodland are starting to suffer from a lack of management. In these areas, the trees will be thinned out to allow the remaining trees more space. By making space within the canopy, this will enable more sunlight to reach the wildflowers beneath the trees, allowing them – and the pollinators that rely on them – to thrive.
Being native broadleaved species, many of the felled trees will regrow from the stumps creating a dense under-storey which is ideal nesting habitat for birds.
The floodplain alongside this stretch is also starting to suffer and dry out. The final phase of SUNRISE work here will be to lower the ground so it is inundated with water more frequently, helping the wetland plant species that are still clinging on.
Local communities will also benefit from the work as it will help to reduce flood risk in the area by enabling the water to fill these lowered sections before overflowing into other areas.