For several years from 2008, Cheshire West and Chester Council had a bold and forward-looking plan to conserve and enhance the countryside surrounding the mid-Cheshire Sandstone Ridge between Frodsham and Bickerton.

Originally called the Sandstone Ridge ECOnet (Ecological Network) Partnership, but then known as the ‘Habitats and Hillforts‘ plan, this exciting project worked to create an interconnected web of new and restored woodland, heathland, peatland, wetland and grassland habitats along the ridge.

This ecological network continues to take shape  and is creating benefits for both wildlife and people.

Improved Quality of Life

It  undoubtedly improved the quality of life of everyone who lives or works in the area.

The recovery and return of special habitats along the ridge — as part of a coherent and sustainable ecological network of large habitat areas and corridors—aimed to:

• Expand and link areas for wildlife;
• Increase public enjoyment of the landscape;
• Celebrate the local cultural associations with the landscape;
• Support rural skills through training;
• Coordinate and improve the interpretation of this unique landscape for education and enjoyment.

More than 90 projects were supported locally to help realise the vision. Hedgerows and heathlands have been restored, the characteristic sandstone walls repaired, and opportunities created to enjoy and learn about the ridge.

Looking Ahead

By 2020, Cheshire’s ecological network will encompass nearly 4,000 hectares/10,000 acres of new and restored wildlife habitats. If we’re serious about saving our wildlife, then we must reshape how we work and think about the countryside.

Without such a vision, many of our plants and animals will continue to decline and eventually, perhaps, vanish altogether.

This cannot be allowed to happen.