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Monday, 14 April 2014
This year, during Monday afternoon’s SPACE sessions, Year 10 pupils from the Boys’ Division have been lending a hand at the Darcy Lever Gravel Pits.
The Gravel Pits are part of the larger Moses Gate Country Park, and are listed as a Site of Biological Interest. This status helped the Country Park achieve the designation of Local Nature Reserve. The site as it stands today was created as a by-product of the construction of St Peter’s Way: when the sand and gravel were extracted from the area, marshes and ponds were created, leaving behind this habitat. Despite being less than a mile from Bolton town centre, in the intervening period the area became home to roe deer as well as various rare butterfly and moth species. It is also a breeding place for sixteen species of dragonflies and damselflies, forty species of birds, and all five main species of amphibians: frogs, toads, smooth newts, palmate news, and even ‘red listed’ great crested newts which are endangered due to habitat loss.
In light of this, it is particularly important to preserve the marshy nature of the landscape. However, it is a constant battle against the march of nature, with trees and shrubs constantly threatening to dry up the pools and ponds.
The Year 10 boys have been assisting the Darcy Lever Gravel Pits Action Group (GPAG) in maintaining and managing the site. There is plenty to do: GPAG is responsible for tree management, including felling and coppicing; clearing invasive plants such as Himalayan Balsam; preventing ponds from drying out or becoming clogged; and creating and maintaining footpaths, horse bridleways and fences.
The boys have worked really hard to assist where they are needed, and the conservationists have found them a great help. A GPAG spokesperson said, “The regular attendance of students from Bolton School this last year has proved to be so beneficial to GPAG and the site, as they’ve helped us achieve a number of objectives that would have otherwise taken an extended period to finish. The overall result of this is that the group have been able to use the time to achieve other goals and it’s hoped that involvement with the school will carry on in years to come.”
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