THE power of nature is being harnessed to help guard against flooding.

A new waterside community orchard and woodland has been planted along a canal towpath on a slope between the Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal and the River Irwell, to improve biodiversity and to combat the flood risk for residents around Prestolee and Nob End Locks.

The £8,800 project has involved covering two hectares of scrubland with fruit trees to improve soil stability, increase biodiversity and limit the impact of harmful non-native species, like giant hogweed

The work has been undertaken by The Canal and River Trust, the Environment Agency and volunteers from the Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal Society

Funded by a grant of £8,000 from the Environment Agency, 50 large trees, plus smaller trees and shrubs, have been planted on the slope between the canal and the river.

This Is Lancashire:

(The devastating Boxing Day floods in 2015)

Canal and River Trust ecologist Tom King said: “This is a fantastic natural solution to improving the local environment and protecting the area from flooding.

“Roots from the trees will help to bind the soil together and absorb run-off, slowing down the flow of water during periods of heavy rainfall.

“It will also help to improve biodiversity along the two waterways and eventually provide free fruit to local residents – a win-win project for everyone”

This Is Lancashire: Tree planting with Chris Nash Tom Bruce Tom King Nob End

(Tree planting with Chris Nash Tom Bruce Tom King at Nob End)

Adam Chapman, from the Environment Agency, added: “Prestolee Locks, adjacent to Nob End Site of Scientific Interest in Bolton, was selected as part of a nationwide programme of tree planting to protect the water environment. A thousand trees have been planted at the Nob End Community Woodland, which will help to reduce erosion of the river banks, act as a sponge to soak up rainwater and improve the visual impact of the landscape.”

For more information visit canalrivertrust.org.uk.