UK Urban Ecology Forum

Partner Member UN Habitat Assembly Global Stakeholders Forum (GSF)

The Old Rough Wildflower project


The Old Rough Wildflower project was given the UK-MAB Urban Wildlife Award for Excellence for providing a high quality landscape of wildflowers that bring nature to the people of Northwood and which demonstrate how creative conservation improves the quality of our lives in 2004.


Old Rough, Kirby

The Old Rough is a landmark project for the charity Landlife and a highly visible testimony to its creative conservation by restoring wildflowers in the heart of a new town landscape. It is a community landscape project, delivering creative conservation skills and landscapes in the Northwood area of Kirkby, near Liverpool, at an open space known as the Old Rough. The area contains clumps of remnant woodland, but was previously largely mown grass between tower blocks built in the 1970s.

The project was undertaken to train members of the Community Environment task team in Creative conservation skills to enable them to deliver high quality wildflower landscapes for the Northwood community. The work has resulted in over 2 hectares of dramatic wildflower landscapes amid a thirty-year old public housing area where many people are highly deprived and have low expectations in terms of public landscape. The areas of flowers, close to the summit of a slight rise in the local terrain, appear as a surprise to the visitor. They are much admired and appreciated by local residents and by people who come to visit friends in the neighbourhood. People readily express how delighted they are with the wildflower landscape. It is said to get people out of their flats to walk around the patches of flowers. Local church people have organised litter removal and tidying of the area to ensure it remains attractive.

The Old Rough site is developing a demonstration value for both local people and visitors from other areas. Over 600 children from Northwood schools are taking part in special themed days at the National Wildflower Centre. In July 2003, a special celebratory event on the Old Rough was organised with local singing and dance acts, as part of the creative conservation message. It demonstrated the cultural significance of this type of landscape. The message is being taken elsewhere. The training work included helping Cornish communities with a huge wildflower sowing as part of the largest habitat creation project in the UK. The site has been visited by the Garden Writers Guild and Plantlife members in 2003 and by participants in an international herbaceous plant conference at Sheffield in 2004.

National Wildflower Centre,
Court Hey Park,
L16 3NA.

[Top of page]