Council approves sale of land at Lunt to National Trust

02 February 2024 3min read

Plans to create new woodlands and more diverse, nature-rich, habitats for nature like wetlands and species rich grassland in Sefton received a boost with the news that the Council have agreed to sell 78 hectares of disused farmland to the National Trust.  

New areas of forest would join existing pockets of woodland and wetlands with the intention of creating a green haven for local people to enjoy, and habitats for wildlife from birds to insects, to native plants and even perhaps red squirrels. 

Climate action

The project would be partly funded by the Trees For Climate programme from the Mersey Forest team. Trees are one of the most powerful tools in mitigating climate change. As new woodland develops and matures it locks up carbon in soils and timber, as well as intercepting rainfall which can help to reduce flood risk and reduce water pollution. 

Community engagement

The National Trust now aims to work closely with local communities and partner organisations to shape their plans for the land. Upon approval of these plans, initial planting of the woodland would begin in 2024. 

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “At its meeting on 2 November 2023, Sefton Council's Cabinet approved the Heads of Terms for the proposed sale of 78 hectares of land at Lunt Village, Thornton. The report presented to cabinet showed the sale would have a positive impact on biodiversity of the area, contribute to increasing the ability of the area to capture carbon from new woodland planting and wetland creation, as well as offering new access opportunities to local people in Sefton.”  

Kate Martin, lead ranger for the Trust in the area said: “Whilst the landscape around Lunt looks quite green, much of it is private farmland and not currently accessible. Securing this land gives us a brilliant opportunity to create more diverse habitat, enabling nature to flourish in the area. We know that people feel much more connected to nature when they can get out into it close to home, and that connectedness makes a huge difference to health and wellbeing.” 

“We’re looking forward to working with partners such as Mersey Forest, the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency and Forestry England, as well as Sefton Council, to make the most of this opportunity, connecting habitats to form a mosaic of woodland and wetland in the area. We’re excited to see how this land can become a haven for people and nature alike.” 

Paul Nolan, Director of Mersey Forest said: “The Mersey Forest team are excited that a project like this could be funded through a Trees for Climate grant. Lunt has long been a key strategic site identified in the Mersey Forest plan. This is a chance to bring the many benefits of woodland creation to Sefton, for communities, climate, and nature.” 

John Deakin, the National Trust head of Trees and Woodland said: “We are one of Europe’s least wooded nations, yet these spaces are vital in our response to the biodiversity and climate crises. As the National Trust, we’re keen to play our part by supporting woodland creation projects near places where people live, helping biodiversity recovery and climate mitigation but also providing opportunities for people to access nature close to home”

Drop in event

To learn more about the process, and what’s happening over the coming months, the National Trust will be holding a drop-in session at Ince Blundell Village Hall between 1 and 4 on the afternoon of the 10  February. Alternately people can contact the National Trust by email:

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