City of Trees has secured investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a unique project to record and preserve Greater Manchester's tree heritage.
Over the next four years, Greater Manchester's Heritage Trees will collect people's stories, photographs and memories about their local trees, woodlands, orchards and hedgerows.
The aim is to build up an online record of the city's tree heritage and the special part it plays in our society and culture.
The £646,000 investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund1 will also mean vital work can be carried out to protect and enhance important trees and areas of woodland to safeguard their future for this and future generations.
Hilary Wood, Green Streets Manager at City of Trees, said: "Trees have played a crucial role in the history and heritage of the towns and cities of Greater Manchester. They form the backdrop to our lives and make urban areas nicer places to live and work and provide incalculable benefits to our health and wellbeing. Just imagine a Greater Manchester without trees and you realise how critical they are. They have shaped our lives as individuals as well as our local history, culture and society.
"Greater Manchester's Heritage Trees will enable us to celebrate, document and preserve this vital natural element of our urban landscape.
"Local people will have an essential role to play in the project. We want people to share their memories of playing outdoors and the memories they have of local trees and woodland. By capturing these stories it will tell us so much about our local history and heritage, about our sense of place and our culture and identity. There will also be lots of opportunities to get involved through volunteering to record and protect our tree heritage."
Sara Hilton, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North West3, said: "Greater Manchester's Heritage Trees will tell the story of the intimate connection between local people and their tree heritage. Today's HLF investment will help raise awareness of these wonderful heritage assets and help people learn more about how our local landscape has changed over time - as the local area grew from a few scattered rural settlements to the third biggest city in the UK."
"People in Greater Manchester are passionate about their tree heritage - with people often mobilising to save trees or areas of woodland which may be under threat. This project will tap into that passion to ensure we look after this part of our natural heritage, conserve it and learn more about its value and its place in our lives."
Greater Manchester's rich tree heritage can be found across built up areas of the conurbation as well as in more open areas of countryside, parks and green space. The Ancient Woodland Inventory, which maps areas which have had continuous woodland cover for centuries, includes 179 sites in Greater Manchester covering 874 acres. And the Greater Manchester Tree Audit, which was carried out by Red Rose Forest, estimates that the conurbation is home to 10 million trees.
During the development phase of the project earlier this year, a survey was carried out to identify ancient and important trees across Greater Manchester which are ‘at risk'. They included a magnificent yew tree in Jubilee Park in Wigan which is in declining health and a huge oak in Wythenshawe Park whose main trunk has split in two and requires urgent attention to preserve it. These trees, along with 13 others identified in the ‘Trees in Need of TLC' survey, will now receive the help they need to secure their future.
As well as organising events and learning opportunities, the project will also work with older people and people who have dementia to record their stories and memories of local tree heritage.