Please follow & like us

Council’s calendar to provide monthly update on Borough’s nature coast & greenspaces

A fox hidden in undergrowth enjoying some winter sunshine.
A hidden fox enjoying some winter sunshine.

To mark the start of a new year, the Council’s Green Sefton service has launched a new nature’s calendar to tell people what will be happening along the Borough’s unique Natural Coast and its many greenspaces.

Seasons

Each month the nature’s calendar tells people what they can expect to see and hear happening around them as the seasons progress. It also describes what work the Green Sefton teams are doing and sometimes explain what they are not doing, to nurture our protected habitats landscapes, plants and wildlife.

Also, the calendar, at www.sefton.gov.uk/nature-calendar will provide some advice on what Sefton residents might see or be doing in the garden or their nearby park or greenspace.

Belted Galloway cow on the Ainsdale dunes
Belted Galloway cow on the Ainsdale dunes. Photo taken by Green Sefton Engagement Officer John Dempsey.

Snowdrops starting to appear, robins and wrens singing, and the unearthly mating calls of foxes are among the things the calendar’s January page says we should look out for.  It also explains that during the winter, Green Sefton cuts back invasive scrub on the coast and uses visiting Belted Galloway cows and Herdwick Sheep to improve habitats through conservation grazing.

Wildlife

This month’s calendar also reports that Green Sefton will be mowing in some parks and inland green spaces but will be on the lookout for wildlife like hedgehogs. Some areas will be left uncut to provide vital food sources.

With winter far from over, it also advises that people living in areas prone to flooding, check they have made any preparations that can avoid water damage and maybe find out more from the North West Flood Hub at https://thefloodhub.co.uk.

Nature Coast

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Working on Sefton’s green spaces and along our 22-mile nature coast, much of our Green Sefton teams’ work is determined by the seasons and they have a month-by-month programme designed to enhance and protect our unique combination of environments, plants and wildlife.

“Ensuring we provide protection for these sometimes means carrying out measures including scrub clearance, which some people may be surprised to see.

“It also sometimes means not doing things people expect we would, such as not mowing in certain areas this month to provide food sources during the lean winter months.

“This year we thought it would be good to share some of those seasonal update elements with Sefton residents telling them what’s going on around them in nature and what to look out for.”

Visit the Sefton Nature Calendar.

 

New, Sefton Council golf driving range to open at Bootle Golf Course on Monday

Bootle Golf Course sign saying 'Driving Range - Coming Soon'
Coming Monday

From Monday 31st January, people will be able to try out the new 10-bay facility at Bootle Golf Course.

By investing in the new ÂŁ240,000 floodlit driving range, Sefton Council is providing existing players with the opportunity to practice more as well as giving non-golfers a chance to give the sport a try.

Practising

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Health and Wellbeing said: “I am delighted that this new facility is now open and that local golfers will be able to carry on practising their game through the remainder of the winter months where the short days can make it difficult to fit in a round.

“This is an exciting week for golf in Sefton with announcement that July’s Cazoo Classic will be held at Hillside, on Sefton’s glorious Golf Coast and our new Bootle driving range gives local people to give golf a try and might even give a future Cazoo Classic Champion the first step in their career.”

“It’s just £6 for 100 balls or £4 for 50 and people can just turn up, pay and play, any time between 8am and 9pm Sunday to Friday and from 8am to 7pm on Saturdays.”

Sefton Council’s decision to build the new driving range at Bootle Golf Course was backed by local people and course users during a consultation that took place in 2019.

Improved and expanded

Bays at new Bootle Golf Course Driving RangeCllr Moncur added: “When we consulted local people and course users about how they wanted to see facilities improved and expanded they told us was they wanted more practice facilities, which is just they will have from Monday.”

The new Bootle Driving Range features a dedicated coaching bay and in the future, the Council’s Green Sefton team will be advertising for a course professional to provide this training.

Adult prices to play a round at Bootle Golf Course start at just £13. Information about Sefton Council’s Bootle and Southport Links courses, including prices, can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/golf. People can also contact the Bootle Golf course office on 0151 928 1371 to book tee times.

You can find out about the Cazoo Classic coming to Hillside Golf Course here.

Sefton once again showcases its green-fingered expertise at North West in Bloom competition

Netherton Community Garden who received a Thriving Award
Netherton Community Garden who received a Thriving Award

Community groups across the Borough have once again been recognised for their green-fingered expertise for the 2021 North West in Bloom competition.

Volunteer groups from Ainsdale, Bootle, Litherland, Netherton, Maghull, Crosby, Seaforth, Southport and Waterloo were enthusiastically involved in this year’s celebration following the cancellation of the official competition in 2020.

In July, the North West in Bloom judges visited each location to see for themselves the good work the volunteers have been doing, despite the difficulties posed by the continuation of some Covid-19 restrictions.

Despite the obstacles they faced, Sefton’s gardening enthusiasts have once again showcased their skills by maintaining flower beds, supporting community initiatives and creating wonderful displays.

So much so that 38 entrants were recognised by the judges with the following awards: Thriving, Advancing, Outstanding, Silver and Gold. Special recognition was also awarded to seven Sefton entrants:

  • Ainsdale in Bloom – Best Town, Gold Award
  • Botanic Gardens Community Association, Southport – Five Years Outstanding Award
  • Cheyne Close, Crosby – Five Years Outstanding Award
  • Crosby and Waterloo in Bloom – Silver Gilt, Clean Sweep Award
  • Maghull Station Volunteers – Best Railway Station, Outstanding Award
  • Southport in Bloom – Best Large Coastal Resort, Gold Award
  • Southport Model Engineering Club – Five Years Outstanding Award

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“The Green Sefton team has been absolutely bowled over by the determination and commitment of our green-fingered community groups and volunteers who’ve created such wonderful displays and been involved in great outdoor projects this year.

“Not only do their continued efforts help to make our Sefton greener, but they also help to bring communities together making them stronger and happier. We’ve all enjoyed spending time outdoors, perhaps more than ever in recent times, and having passionate gardeners across our Borough looking after our valued green spaces has really enhanced our time spent outdoors.

“What’s more is that many of these displays help to boost our Borough’s biodiversity, attracting many pollinators that are vital in the natural fight against climate change that we’ve heard so much about recently.”

Boyer Court Garden Club, Maghull, who received an Outstanding Award
Boyer Court Garden Club, Maghull, who received an Outstanding Award

North West in Bloom is the voluntary regional organisation that administers the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Britain in Bloom competition in Lancashire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside, and is one of the 18 regions and Nations that comprise Britain in Bloom.

Sefton Council’s Green Sefton Service – who help co-ordinate North West in Bloom within the Borough – are encouraging residents to think ahead now to next year when it is hoped the competition will go ahead without any restrictions on activities.

Green Sefton officers are also keen for volunteer groups to think about the most environmentally friendly ways to maintain their future displays and arrangements. Ensuring that nature can thrive and act as natural mitigation to today’s climate concerns.

 

Anyone interested in becoming involved can email greensefton@sefton.gov.uk

For more information on taking a more active role in community gardening the RHS has lots of helpful resources, simply visit: https://www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/community-gardening

Get outdoors safely across Sefton this winter

Sefton’s heritage parks and green open spaces, along with its 22-mile coastline and exciting nature reserves are here to be explored this winter.

Whether its walking, cycling or simply getting outside for a breath of fresh air, which many people may look to do over the festive break, the Council’s Green Sefton service is reminding residents to take care and to respect wildlife, as well as the landscape, when getting outdoors locally.

Cllr Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“This year we’ve continued to see unprecedented use of our outdoor spaces, particularly throughout the summer months along our beautiful coastline. We joined forces with colleagues and partners to implement our Coastal Action Plan and we were delighted with the support we got from residents and visitors, the vast the majority of whom took note to enjoy our beaches safely.

“Now we’re embracing the seasonal changes and the onset of winter, and I would encourage everyone to continue to make the most of some fresh air when they get outdoors, as well as enjoying everything that nature has to offer in our Borough. That’s not just on our coastline but also our canal walks, cycling routes and Sefton’s many small open spaces and parks.”

Downloadable resources and ideas for places to explore locally in Sefton are available on the Visit Sefton website visitseftonandwestlancs.co.uk.

Residents are being urged to be prepared for winter differences before getting out and about around Sefton’s parks, coastline, and open spaces.

Cllr Moncur added:

“Following this advice and going through a quick check list before heading out and about will ensure that people get the best out of spending time outdoors.

“Similarly, the seasonal changes bring with them amazing wildlife spectacles. Rare migrating birds can often be spotted along our coastline, as can cattle and sheep that through their grazing are helping to manage vital habitats among the dunes. Please do show respect to both the landscape and the wildlife that we are so lucky to have in Sefton.”

A handy checklist covers everything residents, and visitors alike, need to know when enjoying the Borough’s outdoor spaces this winter.

  • Be prepared for winter weather with appropriate clothing and robust footwear.
  • Always check the weather forecast as conditions can change quickly and check tide times before you set out to the coast.
  • Take note of any safety signage at beach entrances – there are no RNLI lifeguard patrols on Southport or Ainsdale beaches during winter. Lifeguard cover is year-round at Crosby. If you or someone needs help at the coast call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.
  • Remember that the evenings get darker earlier so carrying a torch or wearing reflective clothing would be advisable.
  • Always make sure someone knows where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Remember that some of our gated parks may be locked an hour after sunset.
  • Take care close to water, especially in wet or icy conditions and do not attempt to walk on frozen water, ponds or lakes.
  • Avoid walking through woodland in high winds and keep away from any fallen or hung up trees until they have been made safe.
  • Sefton’s entire coastline is environmentally sensitive and protected – please respect this precious landscape.
  • Do not disturb wildlife, livestock or damage habitat – keep a close eye on dogs and keep them under control away from pools of water and resting birds. Similarly, horse riders should never ride through flocks of wading birds. If they are chased or disturbed intentionally it can result in serious harm to them.   
  • Leave nothing but your footprints – take all your rubbish home with you and recycle wherever possible.
  • Some facilities like public toilets may not be open in winter months at parks and nature reserves.
  • Beach car parks are closed and will not re-open until the spring – please park responsibly in the parking available nearby.
  • Walk or cycle rather than taking a vehicle where possible.
  • If walking or cycling in remote areas, ensure you take a fully charged mobile phone and be aware that signal may be poor.
  • Camping, BBQs and fires are not permitted.
  • Remember to follow current COVID-19 guidelines.
  • Report any emergency hazards or concerns to Sefton Security on 0151 922 6107.
  • Always follow the Countryside Code: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code

For more advice, tips and updates from the Green Sefton service this winter, people are urged to follow them on social media:

Facebook: greensefton
Instagram: @greensefton
Twitter: @GreenSefton_

 

Vital habitat management works udder-way across the Sefton Coast this winter

Belted Galloway cow on the Ainsdale dunes
Belted Galloway cow on the Ainsdale dunes. Photo taken by Green Sefton Engagement Officer John Dempsey.

Sefton Council is carrying out its annual schedule of habitat management works at key sites along the coast.

Each winter, the Council’s Green Sefton service brings grazing animals onto the Local Nature Reserves to help control vegetation growth. This, in turn, encourages diverse plant species to grow and dune specialists such as Natterjack Toads, Sand Lizards and Northern Tiger Beetles to thrive.

This year, Herdwick sheep from Cumbria alongside Belted Galloway cattle from neighbouring Lancashire have been moved on to the reserve at Ainsdale.  The animals will graze the reserves until early spring 2022.

Sign reminding beach visitors of need to keep dogs on leads.
Sign reminding beach visitors of need to keep dogs on leads, to close gates and to be mindful of the cattle and sheep during the grazing period.

Green Sefton is urging everyone to act responsibly if they visit the reserve to catch a glimpse of the special winter visitors. Dog walkers are reminded that pets should be kept on a lead and under close control within fenced grazing areas, following the Countryside Code, which can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code

Herdwick sheep on Ainsdale Local Nature Reserve
Herdwick sheep on Ainsdale Local Nature Reserve.

Gordon White, Countryside Officer for Green Sefton, said:

“These grazing animals are an essential tool in the management of Sefton’s scientifically important sand dunes. Not only do they help us to improve the condition of the sand dune habitats, but they really help to optimise the potential of Sefton’s important natural assets.

“We urge all dog walkers to keep their pets on a lead, under close control and away from the sheep and cows they may see in the fenced grazing areas this winter – just as you would on any site or farmers field where livestock are kept.

“While they are docile animals and used to seeing people, they could be a little nervous in their new seasonal Sefton home.”

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“Conservation grazing is a fantastic, cost-effective and natural way to protect our dune systems and it is great to see the animals making a return to our reserve again this winter.”

Green Sefton officers managing a controlled burn of scrub
Green Sefton officers managing a controlled burn of scrub.

Other habitat management works taking place along the coast this winter include the tightly controlled burning of invasive, non-native species. This method is used due to the terrain of the area and to ensure that damaging biomass is removed to allow for improvements to the ecology of the dune systems

Areas of scrub are cut down throughout the winter by Green Sefton rangers, with the help of volunteer groups. The stumps are then removed or burned in a controlled environment, only when weather conditions permit.

The Dynamic Dunescapes programme also continues to tackle areas of invasive non-native species at the Sefton coast, such as Japanese Rose, Japanese Knotweed and Sea Buckthorn. Different methods are used to remove these species to expose more sand and ultimately improve the dune slack habitats. More information about this partnership can be found online at www.dynamicdunescapes.co.uk/project/sefton-coast/

Cllr Moncur added:

“Sefton’s coastline is one of Britain’s most important areas for nature conservation and has the highest level of protection under UK law as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its flora and fauna.

“On-going initiatives like this really help to enhance these important coastal ecological systems and also ensures that we are playing our part in mitigating the impact of climate change on our coast.”

Volunteer undertaking scrub removal
Volunteer undertaking scrub removal.

Gordon White added:

“We all have an obligation to protect these very special features and balancing their needs with those of our visitors can be a tricky task. Part of our role at Green Sefton is to help our communities to learn and understand how fortunate we all are to have such incredible and fantastic species right on our doorstep. Working with our communities, as well as with partner organisations on specific environmental projects, we can achieve great improvements to the condition of our wonderful sand dune habitats.

“Ultimately this will enable us to be confident that we have contributed to passing them on to the next generation in a strong condition, to continue to survive, while providing them with fascinating wildlife spectacles.”

Search Box