A RESTORATION project has been announced for a rugby club in Prenton.

Prenton RUFC and National Grid have joined forces in a 10-year partnership in a bid to not only restore the natural beauty of Prenton Claypit, but also provide better access and an educational nature trail for the wider community.

Situated behind Prenton RUFC Community Hub, the Prenton Dell Claypit is an area of both flora-rich woodland and numerous habitats, which has ultimately led to the area being home to a huge variety of birds and butterflies, as well as species such as great crested newts.

National Grid has a long standing relationship with the site, once a thriving former environment partnership with Groundwork which created many of the existing pathways throughout the site.

Helene Parpworth of National Grid said: “We have a big commitment to sustainability and have a number of green projects throughout the country.

"The Prenton project is particularly special as it will have a big environmental impact as well as a societal one — it’s inspiring to see Prenton Rugby Club’s work in the community and it’s great to team up with them for this conservation project that will benefit many.”

In 2015, Hilary Ash and Michael Inger from Wirral Wildlife carried out a botanical survey during which many rare plants were recorded. These included four types of orchids as well as butterflies and other invertebrates.

However, since the research was carried out the area has been affected by the spread of self-seeded willow trees and other, non-native trees. Now, thanks to Prenton RUFC and National Grid’s forward thinking, the 10-year project aims to protect and enhance the biodiversity in the area while also increasing the accessibility for the public.

The project is split into several development stages, with all work being completed under the guidance of Wirral Wildlife. 

The first of these is the installation of gravel paths. Not only will this provide safe underfoot in a rather boggy space but will also enable its use for the community as soon as possible. Following this the project will turn towards restoring the ponds as well as installing benches and season-specific signs to aid in educating people of the species that call the Claypit their home.

Mike Coffin, 65, was initially involved in the discussions several years ago about what could be done with the space but ultimately nothing came of it.

He said: “For years we’ve been talking about having a nature trail but in the past, nothing has come of it. But then this year, National Grid – who actually own the piece of land – got in touch with us and asked whether we would be interested in taking out a lease and turning it into a nature reserve.

“The whole point of this is to preserve the area and make it accessible to people.  Not only do we want to make it accessible to local people, we want to get groups involved and schools. We’ve had discussions with Scout Leaders and the eco schools’ Officer who are both very keen to use it. We hope it can be a real educational tool for those groups.”

Members of the public are invited to the event to learn about the conservation plans for the wild space. The project is the latest in a series of community-driven initiatives by National Grid.

The project is being launched with an open day on Wednesday, May 22 at 12.30pm.