BBC Breathing Places Reading Circle

In 2007 the Friends successfully applied for a grant of £6,460 from the Big Lottery Fund as part of the hugely successful BBC-led Breathing Places campaign. The campaign, driven by BBC's Autumnwatch and Springwatch programmes, had enthused and energised thousands across the country to get involved in community projects to make space for nature.

Our project was developed in partnership with Stockport Library Services and the Council's Parks and Recreation Team to improve and enhance the woodland area behind the Marple Library for both wildlife and people. The incorporation of a circular reading area with full disabled access penetrating into the woodland created an outdoor 'room' to provide a window into the natural wildlife habitat surrounding it.

Update - 29 November 2008

A misty day in Memorial Park saw the Friends Group complete work in the BBC Breathing Places area by installing the interpretation board that explains what the project is all about. This proved to be a daunting task at first sight because the legs on the metal frame of the board were at least a foot longer than they needed to be, meaning that the hole had to be dug a foot deeper too! Fortunately many spades made fairly light work of the hole and made it all the more satisfying to complete the job. Of course this is not the end of work on the Breathing Places area, which will continue to be maintained and managed by the group, but it is the last item of work covered by the Breathing Places grant. This is an important milestone and a completion report now has to be submitted to the Big Lottery Fund to advise them exactly how all the money has been spent.

Interpretation Board completed

 We believe the photos on this page help to show what a great project it has been and demonstrate that the community involvement has been brilliant. We would like to thank everyone who has been involved along the way with special mention for the Beaver Scouts, who braved two cold and wet Saturdays to help us plant hedgerows and wildflowers; and to David Myers, who installed the sculpture for us free of charge. Well done everyone!

Update - 25 October 2008

Today we had wildlife galore in the woodland with lots of Beavers and their Scout Leaders and parents helping to plant wildflowers purchased with our Breathing Places grant. It is almost a year since the Beavers last joined us in the woodland to plant hedgerows and we were delighted to welcome them back again. It was great to see so many young faces enjoying themselves. After an hour of hard graft to earn their badges the Beavers retired to the library for hot chocolate and cookies and another Tree Party!

Update - 14 September 2008

The BBC Breathing Places Reading Area was launched yesterday with a very special event organised by Marple Library. There was face painting from 1.30pm and with most youngsters choosing to go with the nature theme it was great to see so many wild creatures in the woodland - even a couple of tigers!

From 2pm Storyteller Shonaleigh entranced young and old alike with her interactive tales. These began in the new woodland reading area before departing on a quest to find silver leaves and solve riddles. The stories were then brought to a conclusion in another interactive session in the sunshine in front of the watchful eyes of Midnight the Owl and seated on the logs and ground sculptures created from the remains of the old Copper Beech near to the Bowling Green.

The weather behaved itself for a change and everyone was treated to a most enjoyable day in the sunshine. The following pictures were taken during the day's proceedings.

The Friends of the Park were in attendance throughout the event with displays about the Breathing Places Project and promoting the Wildflower Planting Event to be held on 25 October 2008, between 10am and 1pm. Everyone is welcome to join in planting wildflowers in the Breathing Places Woodland and in the Nature Area running parallel with the canal side walk in the Park.

Update - 07 August 2008

We'd like to thank Manchester Tree Surgeons Dave and Greg of Myers Tree Care for making it a very special day today by installing our new Breathing Places sculpture completely free of charge. Over the years Myers Tree Care's support for local community and heritage projects in Marple has been exceptional and they certainly continued that tradition today. The photos below were taking while Dave and Greg grafted hard to get set the sculpture in its final resting place following display at the Tatton Show last month.

The sculpture really has transformed the area and it was drawing visitors into the woodland even before the concrete had set and we now look forward to the library starting to use the reading circle for story time with local children. The project is taking shape now but it's still not complete. Look out for an invite for local people to become more involved in the near future!

Update - 28 July 2008

It's taken a while but we're pleased to advise that the new sculpture created for us by Chain Saw Artist Andrew Frost for the Breathing Places Reading Area is complete! It is shown in the photographs below being exhibited at the RHS Tatton Show, which finished yesterday. Hopefully it will not be too long before it's installed behind the library on the edge of the circle. Just watch this space for more news.

Update - 26 April 2008

During our task day in March the badly designed bat boxes that had been replaced in February were converted to bird boxes and re-fitted. Only two days later we were advised by library staff that one of them was occupied by blue tits.

During our April task day the Parks and Recreation Team kindly fitted our BBC Breathing Places plaque shown below.

Breathing Places Plaque fitted.

09 March 2008

The planting around the reading circle has now been completed and planting of hawthorn and honey suckle whips at the rear of the area was carried out at the last task day on 23rd February. Six bat boxes were also installed in the in the trees in the Breathing Places Area and six more along the nature walk running alongside the canal. The crocuses have been putting on an exceptional display behind the library and the daffodils are getting set to do the same over the next few weeks.

26 January 2008

The main landscaping works has now been completed and the planting around the reading circle will soon be underway. It is all looking a bit raw at the moment but things should begin to soften as spring gets underway. The bulbs in the area are beginning to show already and will hopefully put on a good display for us later in February and March.

Reading Circle

24 November 2007

On Saturday 24th November the Marple Beavers Scouts showed their support for the Friends of Marple Memorial Park's Breathing Places Project by holding a "Tree for All" hedgerow planting session in the woodland area at the rear of the library. The event was also part of the ongoing celebrations of 100 years of Scouting in the UK and the hedgerow packs were provided free of charge by the Woodland Trust's "Tree for All" scheme in recognition of this. After the planting session, which was unfortunately cold and wet, the Beavers warmed up again in the Library with hot chocolate and cookies during a Tree Party organised by library staff.

Scouts leader Lisa Bintliff with Marple Beavers

This event also kicked off Marple Scout Group's own centenary celebrations as they will be 100 years old in 2008, making them one of the oldest groups in the World of Scouting. This fact and their help with the project will be acknowledged in the Breathing Places interpretation and the Friends of the Park are grateful to Marple Beavers for their excellent support.

8 September 2007

Work has finally started on the project with commencement of the tree work this week. One tree has been removed near to the library to make way for the circular Reading Area and the remainder of the trees are having their crowns raised to increase the light penetration into the woodland. There is also some general maintenance work being done with the removal of some large limbs overhanging the library.

A landscape contractor has been selected and these works are expected to start soon after the tree work is completed.

BBC Breathing Places Grant Award

Breathing Place locationThe Friends of Marple Memorial Park are delighted to announce that they have been awarded a grant of £6,460 by the Big Lottery Fund as part of the hugely successful BBC-led Breathing Places campaign. The campaign, driven by BBC's Autumnwatch and Springwatch programmes, has enthused and energised thousands across the country to get involved in community projects to make space for nature, and that includes the Friends of Marple Memorial Park too.

As the The Big Lottery Fund explained in their Northwest news release at the end of May this year, "the Friends of Marple Memorial Park will soon be developing a woodland community reading area thanks to the £6,460 award. This enchanting project, sited in parkland next to the library, will plant woodland shrubs, bulbs, wildflowers and fruiting trees, and using surgery on existing trees increase the natural light across the area. Looking to the local fauna, the project will feature bird and bat boxes, and special log bedding for insect habitats. The site, which will provide full disabled access, will benefit local library users and serve as a meeting place for local organisations."

Friend of Marple Memorial Park, Jay Havoleana, said: "We were delighted to learn that our Breathing Places application has been successful. We are really excited about the project to create an outdoor reading area that will merge our library with the natural woodland and add an extra dimension to children's story time."

BBC Breathing Places is a four year campaign to inspire people to connect with nature. Developed in partnership with a wide group of wildlife and conservation organisations, the campaign encourages new audiences to get involved in doing one thing for nature, whilst providing opportunities for BBC Breathing Places to be created across the UK. A Breathing Place is an area that is great for wildlife and people and has an active community of people creating, enjoying and maintaining it.

This page will be updated with latest news and photographs as the project develops and progresses.

Details of our Breathing Place

Breathing Place planThe Friends of the Park's Breathing Places project was developed in partnership with Stockport Library Services and the Council's Parks and Recreation Team. It will improve and enhance the existing woodland area at the rear of Marple Library for both wildlife and people. The incorporation of a circular reading area with full disabled access penetrating into the woodland will create an outdoor 'room' that will provide a window into the natural wildlife habitat surrounding it. A border of wildflowers and shrubs will be planted around the reading circle that will help it to blend into the natural surroundings and a short distance into the woodland will be a wooden sculpture that will incorporate bird feeders. There will also be an interpretation board explaining the different flora and fauna to be found living in the woodland itself.

Improvements for wildlife include thinning of the tree canopy to improve light penetration to the woodland floor and the planting of additional wild flowers, bulbs and shrubs. More wildlife habitats will be created by the planting of hedgerows around the perimeter, and the addition of log bedding and more bird and bat boxes. It is planned for the planting of hedgerows to involve the local Scouts to help commemorate the centenary of Scouting in Marple in 2008, only one year after the centenary of the Scouting movement itself in 2007.

After consultation with owners of the properties surrounding the woodland area it was decided that the reading circle will not include any permanent seating to discourage misuse during the hours of darkness. The reading area will be accessible to anyone but it expected to be put to particularly good use by the library staff, who will use temporary seating and cushions to hold open air 'story time' reading sessions with local children.