Hugh Harris: Everton Park Nature Garden

Photo Credit: Hugh Harris

Thursday 3rd September 2015, Everton Park Nature Garden SJ352920:

Everton Park is one of the city’s precious green lungs, but it has been underused in the past.  This has changed and a visitor destination – like Barcelona’s Parc Guell is – has emerged like a phoenix from the ashes of housing policy. These waves of change began around three centuries ago, and accelerated in intensity, reshaping the ridge with housing and small industries.  The site was once a vibrant community of narrow little streets, and the communities have been uprooted, dispersed and wiped off the map. A new transformation has taken place; a much more gentle and greener change than previous upheavals, but still radical in its own way. A park, which is renamed Everton People’s Park, is a chance for people to reconnect again with their roots – a sort of ‘Liverpool Regained’.  Everton Park is situated on a beautiful sandstone ridge that overlooks central Liverpool and the Mersey; a place to sit and contemplate and admire the distant views.  I doubt if there is a city district in the UK that has experienced such intense and repeated waves of change hammering the cliff face into unrecognisable shapes.  

This area once housed a district of 60,000 people, and was densely developed all the way down to the River Mersey. The 1966 Housing plan saw Liverpool demolish 70% of its inner city housing and move 160,000 residents beyond the boundaries to new towns and estates. The park was created on the cleared site of largely failed tower blocks and 60s/70s estates. The new 1960s & 70s estates were all but abandoned within a decade, and most were demolished and grassed over in the late 1980s to create Everton Park. 

n the heart of the transformation is a well-kept treasure of wildlife and tranquility; Everton Park Nature Garden. The Nature Garden is a ¾ hectare walled garden located within the Park and close to the City centre and 1.8 kilometres from the Pier Head. It is accessed via Roscommon Street off Netherfield Road North, Liverpool 5. The Nature Garden is considered by many to be the hidden gem of Everton Park. A walled-off and gated nature reserve which has been described by a former parks manager as "probably the most biodiverse location in Liverpool." It is an established natural habitat including two small lakes, offering opportunities for pond dipping and bird watching. There are grassland meadows and woodland, rock types of interest to amateur geologists and a heritage trail with guided walks available.

We spent a profitable hour or two in the Nature Garden, one of North Liverpool’s remaining green spaces recording with Ami Weir, Trainee Project Officer with Lancashire Wildlife Trust, on her last Urban Grasslands Project Survey. This wildlife site was unrecorded without any citation and our pioneer records are hopefully the foundation for future surveys.

Although a small site, it provides habitats for woodland, grassland and aquatic species. 

The nature garden is located within the single monad, (35/92)

Species list:

Lemna minor

Common Duckweed

Typha latifolia

Bulrush

Epilobium hirsutem

Great Willowherb

Iris pseudocorus

Yellow Iris

Equisetum sp.

Horsetail

Sambucus nigra

Elder

Prunus sp.

Cherry

Rubus fruticosus agg.

Bramble

Salix caprea

Goat Willow

Mentha aquatica

Water Mint

Persicaria amphibia

Amphibious Bistort

Lythrum salicaria

Purple-loosestrife

Nymphaea alba

White Water-lily

Filipendula ulmaria

Meadowsweet

Senecio jacobaea

Common Ragwort

Lotus sp.

Bird’s-Foot-Trefoil

Medicago lupulina

Black Medick

Vicia sativa

Common Vetch

Sanguisorba minor

Salad Burnet

Galium verum

Lady’s Bedstraw

Trifolium pratense

Red Clover

Achillea millefolium

Yarrow

Plantago lanceolata

Ribwort Plantain

Dactylis glomerata

Cock’s-foot

Holcus lanatus

Yorkshire Fog

Alchemilla sp.

Lady’s-mantle

Calystegia sp.

Bindweed

Geum rivale

Water Avens

Geum urbanum

Wood Avens

Juncus effusus

Soft Rush

Carex pendula

Pendulous Sedge

Pinus sylvestris

Scot’s Pine

Betula pendula

Silver Birch

Sorbus aucuparia

Rowan

Corylus avellana

Hazel

Alnus glutinosa

Alder

Sympetium striolatum

Common Darter

Pica pica

Magpie

Menyanthes trifoliata

Bogbean

 

 

 

 

Hugh@UrbanGrasslandsProject