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Denzell Gardens and The Devisdale are open and
free to enter from
dawn until dusk

Local Nature Conservation Site

The Devisdale has been the subject of ecological surveys since the 1990s. These became more important as the use of The Devisdale made the transition from sports pitches and cricket ground to 'Local Nature Conservation' site or LNC. The LNC status applies to the whole of The Devisdale currently under Trafford's ownership and management.

The Site of Biological Importance (Grade C) identifies a part of The Devisdale as being of particular local nature conservation importance. This was designated by the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit in February, 2006. The SBI covers the northwest and northeast corners of The Devisdale along Dunham Road. The designation line runs straight across The Devisdale from the kissing gate in the track that divides The Devisdale from the grounds of Denzell House.

Ecological Studies

From the earliest of the ecological surveys of the site this area has been identified as the most 'species rich'.

The combination of native grasses & sedges (common bent, red fescue, sweet vernal, Yorkshire fog, tufted hair grass and field woodrush) with flowering herbs (birds foot trefoil, meadow buttercup, lesser knapweed, sneezewort, common sorrel and lesser stitchwort) supports a complex community of insects and animals.

The Friends of Denzell Gardens and The Devisdale have worked hard to support and implement habitat improvement projects on The Devisdale, to further enrich the SBI and the wider LNC.

 
The Yarrow has a long history as a powerful healing herb and was a popular vegetable in the 17th Century
"I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one"
 
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay 'Afternoon on a Hill'
Attracting Different Species

A £5,000 grant from Greening Greater Manchester allowed for the installation of a wildlife pond in the northwest corner. Local schools worked with the Friends to sow the margins with wildflower seed. The maturing pond has attracted frogs, newts and several species of damsels and dragons - brown hawker and broad bodied chaser dragonflies, and the common blue damselfly.
 
Stop by the wildlife pond in the summer and you will be sure to see the Damselfly darting to and fro
 
Borders and Bees

Altrincham Girls' Grammar School picked up the theme again in July 2009 as they worked to create a wildflower verge beneath the boundary wall on the back lawn of Denzell Gardens. This area links the Gardens with The Devisdale. The wild flower verge will provide another basking, feeding and breeding area for bees, butterflies and beetles. The shelter of a wall provides warm and dry conditions which attract many wild creatures.

The Importance of Mowing

On the upper slopes of The Devisdale towards St Margarets Road, winter grassland mowing regimes have been tried by former Head Gardener, Fred Ives. In the trial area cut over several winters, we are already seeing the return of many flowering herbs among the grasses including the wild orchids which showed positive signs of moving in and flowering during 2009 and 2010.

Clearly, no herbicide or fertiliser is used on The Devisdale. Cutting and removing the grass in some areas reduces the vigour of the grass and removes the 'dead thatch' of the turf which lets in the seed of wildflowers and allows them room to grow.

 
Knapweed is beneficial to dozens of insect species
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