A riverside woodland in Kingsmead has been transformed in a £21,000 project.
The semi-ancient woodland of Poors Wood nature reserve, between Kingsmead and the River Weaver, has been opened up for residents to enjoy.
The project has been carried out by Cheshire Wildlife Trust with funding from chemicals manufacturer INEOS Enterprises.
Until a few months ago to wood had informal pathways along steep slopes that were regularly waterlogged and muddy.
Other areas of woodland sat underwater for much of the year.
Now more than 50 metres of boardwalks have been installed as well as ‘stepping in’ trails along steep sides.
Boardwalk panels are made from recycled plastic, which are highly resistant to fire and vandalism and have an expected 50-year lifespan.
Poors Wood has also been included in the trust’s English bluebell recovery scheme, which has seen hundreds of bulbs planted across the nature reserve in a bid to stem declines.
Kingsmead resident Eleanor Underhill said: “It opens up the woods beautifully and we’ve enjoyed the bluebells, the wild garlic, and being able to get up close to the huge trees which up to now we’ve only been able to see from a distance.
“The boardwalk has been done really sensitively and robustly.
“It’s fantastic to see a resource like this opened up for the local community.”
Matt Allmark, from Cheshire Wildlife Trust, said: “This has been an important and high-profile project for us at the trust, with hundreds of people living just a few yards from the wood and using it on a regular basis.
“We’ve been able to consolidate the existing footpath network, but also create new trails into areas where people can now experience plants like the marsh marigold, which previously would have found visitors knee-high in water.
“By creating a definitive and engaging route through the reserve, I hope we can now protect more fragile areas like those that are home to bluebells, or parts of the wood that were formally too dangerous to walk through.”
Janet Ward, from INEOS Enterprises, said: “As a dog walker myself, it was delightful to experience the new trails after so many months of hard work by the trust and their volunteers on this very challenging location alongside the river.
“We are always keen to support projects that enable better access to the environment for the local community, and Poors Wood will certainly offer that now for many years to come.”