Alt Meadows, also known as the Alt Valley Restoration Project, at Stonebridge in Liverpool, remains one of our most notable achievements, and possibly the biggest challenge to date . From relatively modest beginnings at the beginning of 2013 to remove a culvert, this project evolved into a £1.55 million scheme to divert the River Alt into a new 900 metre long linear park.
Significant engineering works were undertaken as well as the creation of accessible paths and meadow, wetland and woodland habitats. New walking and cycling routes were developed, providing safe, attractive links between housing, employment, shops, schools and public transport. The benefits to the river will include more diverse wildlife and reduced flood risk. Additionally, the design provides a high quality setting for existing and future developments.
The new park, called’ Alt Meadows’, was named from ideas put forward by local people and officially opened with a celebration event on 29 March 2015.
Community involvement has been integral to the project with over 2,000 trees, nearly 4,000 shrubs and 2,100 wetland plants being planted by volunteers and the contractor. Twenty conservation volunteering and tree planting days were held and the project received support from 300+ volunteers. Birds have been surveyed, mosaics have been created and 1,400 people have attended our events and activities.
For information on all these events, and to keep up-to-date on all things Alt Meadows, see our Facebook page.
The project was led and managed by The Cass Foundation, in partnership with the Community Forest Trust, with funding from DEFRA's Catchment Restoration Fund (via the Environment Agency) and Liverpool City Council.
The Foundation remains responsible for maintaining the newly formed riverside park, Alt Meadows, on behalf of Liverpool City Council. The newly-formed river is establishing well as a habitat for an increasing range of wildlife and is a popular and well used green space for local people.
We continue to monitor the hydrological performance of the new water course. It has performed well, dealing with intense rainfall events without difficulty. Wildlife along the river valley has continued to diversify, with increasing amounts and species of bird and insect life. Kingfishers and visiting Little Egret are regularly seen, and waterfowl have bred successfully on the site.
Vegetation continues to mature, and we have involved local people, including schools and the Friends of Croxteth Greenspace, in litter picking and wild flower sowing activities. Lancashire Wildlife Trust has continued its role as maintenance contractor when required.
The project provides an excellent example of how nature and local people can enjoy the same space, and how good design and management can overcome previous concerns over safety and water quality in public space.