I used to work at Merseyside Environmental Advisory Service, the team advising all the north Merseyside councils on ecology and environmental matters. A key part of my duties was to organise monitoring of Local Wildlife Sites. There was so much to do that after I left, I decided to volunteer as a surveyor to help the monitoring effort.
Gallows Croft LWS is a woodland on the southern boundary of St. Helens borough which is designated for its natural rock exposure and woodland plants including bluebells. I’m pleased to report that, on the St. Helens side of the brook at least, the woodland seems in good condition with plenty of bluebells just about to flower (as of 11th April 2012). I can’t say the same for the Warrington side of the brook, which seems to have fallen victim to Himalayan balsam, fly tipping and Japanese knotweed, although there are quite a lot of fallen trees and patches of standing water which seem promising for invertebrates.
There is no official public access to the woodland, but the bluebells at the western end can be seen from the lane to the south. If you do go up to have a look, please park considerately as the lane is narrow.
I hope to pop back in a couple of weeks to photograph the bluebells when they come out – it was raining too hard this morning to contemplate taking any pictures.
If you would like to help with Local Wildlife Site monitoring, please contact Merseyside EAS and ask for Tom King; he would be thrilled to have more volunteers, so don’t be shy !