Friends of Three Sisters

Three Sisters Recreation Area, Three Sisters Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield, WN4 8DD.
Ranger Service 01942 720453











The following is a record of the activities of the Friends of Three Sisters:

Tuesday 21st June 2011 (Following the AGM.)

AGM & this meeting have had to be rearranged due to lack of Rangers to open up building for us. Need to discuss this problem with AC or LB.

Article from Wigan Evening Post saying Three Sisters is new LNR. Questions asked as to what happened to the public meetings that GW promised. Where will the friends stand if Wigan council are to manage the site? Secretary to e mail Anne Cockram re our concerns.

Feasability study to be conducted for a Visitors’ Centre and refreshment facility. Secretary still has surveys done when we were bidding for money. Most ask for such facilities.She will offer them to AC.

Lancs Wildlife not moved to 3S yet, do not know if will be using house or Visitors’ Centre [this has IT facilities and the house does not]

Photos of man cutting fence were taken at 6.0am. He is committing criminal damage and evidence has been passed on.VG has repaired the fence again tonight[21-6-11] and Friends are concerned on H&S grounds as there is very deep water now in some of the areas. Boardwalk has been closed off due to its condition. Appears to be very little maintenance going on. Rangers are withdrawn to collect fishing money at Orrell and this is time consuming.

Following the fire at GeorgiaPacific, cable [copper] is being stolen and insulation is now littering the wood on other side of their fence. It is a H&S hazzard. Secretary to inform AC.

WORK DONE AT LAST WORK DAY:- 4 members helped out at the cycle event on the Race track run by Active Living Team. VG & AO mended a fence during week 2x3hours = 6 hours List of raffle prizes given out. Secretary to email list to VG for website.

Letter from AC re canoeing on lake. The following points were raised and secretary is to write to AC. Most of us were unaware that this was offered as an option and presumed that if people wished to boat or canoe they asked the Rangers. We know it used to happen quite extensively in the past but has been a very infrequent occurance recently. Most people who arrive with a vessel of some sort usually do have life jackets and occasionally helmets. If they have a boat/ canoe they are aware of safety issues. How would people be made aware of the ban? How would ban be enforced if there are no Rangers on the site? We would all be sorry to see yet another reduction in services at the Three Sisters but appreciate the potential H&S problems.

Tuesday 25th. April 2011

The bench on Arena Hill has been moved but gate and fencing still not finished.

Concern has been shown by many members of the public about the lack of general maintenance on the site and about the toilets being locked at 4.30pm on days when there are no Rangers on ‘lates’.The play area and the site in general is still very busy in the evenings, especially as the evenings are light, and the toilets are still needed after 4.30pm.

Easter Egg Hunt was a great success and enjoyed by 109 children and 67 adults. Many good comments received.

Books have been audited ready for AGM. Balances of £2266.54.

No work was done at the last Work day as there were no Rangers to open garage so no tools were available. In light of previous comments about lack of maintenance, can LCT not see that any work The Friends do would only improve the situation. Perhaps access to the tools could be organised without a Ranger needing to be present? Secretary to raise problem with management.

JW would like to tidy up the scrub land outside the toilets and plant with wild flowers.

Old Dipping pond needs cleaning out - it is many years since we did this.

Roof over the bird feeding station needs repairing.-think this was last done 2008.

Raffle tickets have been printed, IGW sold about £50 worth at Easter Egg Hunt. He gave tickets to members who were present at meeting. JW asked PB to ask if Caledonian would donate a prize and IGW is to ask at Wetherspoons. VG said he would ask at shops in Bryn. Any other offers will be welcomed. Will we be able to sell tickets at Race track? VG to ask.

The Active Living Team have asked if members can help at their Cycle event on 12th June. Several members volunteered.

29th March 2011.

A reply has been received from Graham Workman , thanking us for our response to the LNR. He will let us know when the public meeting is to be held. PM reported that Natural England are pleased with the plan and it will go forward to Cabinet for ratification.

The Car Park mentioned in the last meeting has started to be cleared of garden rubbish.

Last swan death was 23rd February. 7 swans have died and 5 have gone to swan reserve near Chester. Swans are thought to be suffering from a clostridium virus. Lake water has been tested but is clear.

PONTOONS :- The swans cannot get onto the new pontoon, it is proposed we build a ramp to help them.

A bench on Arena Hill needs moving as land round it is very worn.

Fencing & gate needs finishing.

If there is no Fun Day, Chair suggests we organise a Car Boot Sale.-implications need to be researched-insurance especially.

WORK DONE AT LAST WORK DAY:- Repair gate & fence on Nature Reserve at top end of lake. 2 Rangers and 7 volunteers worked 10.30 am to 12.30pm. [14 hours]

Eggs have been bought for Easter Egg Hunt [9] Chair informed meeting of arrangements for the Hunt.

21st April 1.30pm to 4pm. Rangers to print map

RAFFLE:- Secretary proposed that we have a Summer Raffle and sell tickets over the summer months. Draw the winning tickets at end of August. All agreed and VG will try to get prizes from Race track. JW to get tickets printed.

25th.January 2011

DRAFT MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR LNR STATUS.:- All members had received a copy of the plan by e mail. There was much discussion about the plan and the proposals for a new Friends of the LNR group. The secretary is to put together a response based on the views expressed. It will be circulated to Members prior to being sent to Graham Workman. LCT are to stop feeding the birds at the feeding station from April due to lack of money. It was suggested that we could use some of our funds to buy bird food to continue to feed birds.

Bird pontoons should be made soon, as they need to be in the water by end of February. We will set aside our next work day to do this work, getting a work party for a week-end. Secretary to e mail Friends to find who will be available. JW & PM to co-ordinate this week ends work. TO is cleaning out the existing bird boxes, stencilling numbers on them and marking them on a plan. He will get more wood to make extra boxes.

I t was suggested that the swampy area near Arena Hill be made into a small pond.

Car park 5, which we have cleaned up earlier last year, is once again being used by Wigan’s Parks Department to dump garden waste on. Will it be cleared up by LCT once the weather improves? Secretary will try to find out.

Balances stand at £2682.50 but we will spend some of this on Bird Pontoons and Bird boxes.

PB asked about the balances of the monies donated for David and Gilbert.

SMK and AO will buy bulbs/trees with the respective balances and report back to meeting.

Secretary explained what is to happen at the Township Forum and asked for suggestions to take to the next Forum meeting. Members can e mail suggestions when they have had time to consider the situation.

It was requested that the car park be salted if we get more snow.

28th. November 2010 .

Report back from Bio-diversity Partnership Meeting :- There is to be some hedgerow planting at 3 sites and Three Sisters is to be one of these. Volunteers to help.

Partnership is objecting to the extension of peat cutting on Chat Moss- a letter is to be sent from FO3S.

Report back from Wigan Woodland & Wetland symposium:- JW, IGW & PM attended on behalf of FO3S.

24th Oct. Report on Hallowe’en Walks:- 120 children and families attended the walks. 4 Rangers helped with 14 Friends volunteers. Problems encountered and to be taken into consideration next year:- The hour had not changed so it was not dark. We will need to check on this next time. Older boys caused problems all around the walk:- limit age of participants to 11 years old max. Change order of events or vary route so that previous attenders do not know what to expect.

The proposals for Wetland as given to the meeting by Graham Workman at previous meeting was discussed. Many of the group were not happy at the idea of having two groups of Friends and could not see how it could work. It was felt that FO3S had fought against the Bike Park to enable the Wetland to come into being. The Friends had worked on the site and bid for money [via Groundwork] to bring in funds to create the site. The proposed plan appears to be Cherrypicking areas of the Three Sisters and it was felt that the proposals demeaned all the efforts the group had made. Friends would attend the meeting that GW proposed and put forward our views.

Lines have not been painted on main road as weather has been too cold.

26th. October 2010

There are to be some road markings on the main drive as well as the ‘Playground’ signs in an attempt to slow cars down near the new play area.

AC thought that there would be problems with an outside drinking fountain. Friends sited drinking fountains in other places and asked the secretary to raise the question again.

Walk4life would like to put a peoplemeter on the Woodland walk. Secretary has sent info on to AC.

Halloween Walks:- The remainder of the meeting was spent discussing the organisation of the Halloween Walks. There are to be 6 walks starting at 5.15pm. The last walk will be about 6.30pm. Many children have already booked.

VG has bought 2 new radios and together with the 3 ones we already have these will enable people to keep in contact.

28th. September 2010

Graham Workman from Lancashire Wildlife Trust, spoke to the meeting about the aspirations for the Wetland Area. It is hoped that the Three Sisters will be designated as a Local Nature Reserve. The Management plan is now in draft form and it is hoped that a Friends group will be set up to help with the site. There will be a meeting in the next month or so to kick start the project. GW explained the proposed remit of this new group and hopes that the two groups will work together. He also informed the group that he is hoping that the Wetland site will get SBI status [ Site of Biological Importance] Members were invited to attend Wigan’s Woodland & Wetlands Volunteer Symposium on 24th October. Secretary to e mail GW with names.

JOHN HILL, from LCT Community Development Team, spoke to the group about a PARK WATCH scheme. All were enthusiastic about this. He asked members to complete a SKILLS AUDIT and left copies which are to be returned to LCT, secretary will collect these.

Benches on Arena Hill this matter has been resolved, no benches to be removed but none added. Other locations are to be found around the site.

JW remarked that she had noticed the sign was now in place along the Main Drive.

Bookings are now coming in for Hallowe’en Walks. 5 Rangers have agreed to lead walks. Arrangements for Walks were discussed.

Secretary to send thanks to AC for picnic benches. These were now installed 2 near Play area, 1 on hill in ‘old play area’, 1 in middle of Arena hill. It is proposed to cover the metal seats with wood as per last bench installed, as people do not like sitting on the metal benches, they are too cold. Friends to pay for this work to be done. VG & TO to complete work.

PM has priced wood etc for bird pontoons. £700. He proposes that we refurbish the one pontoon that is still floating and then build a new one to replace the one that has sunk. Work to be done over the winter. It was agreed that PM should buy goods to value not to exceed £700 for a new pontoon and.the refurbishment of the old pontoon would be at an additional cost to this.

WORK DONE AT LAST WORK DAY:- Some work done on boat in preparation for its use to refurbish pontoons. Reeds removed from dipping pond have been planted along the borders of main lake at far end.

Warning sign to play area is now in place.

Are there to be road markings? JW to e mail AC.

Walk4life 3 walks are now on the site.

Letter received saying our application to be a Community Member of Township Forum has been accepted. JW can not attend next Forum Meeting on 25th October and asked VG to attend for the group.

Two items received from AC.:- 1 Boat club would like to use lake for their meetings. All in favour with two queries which JW will forward to AC. 2 Info about a new hygiene suite to be built. This was welcomed. Will ask if a drinking fountain can be installed at same time.


Tuesday 29th June 2010

Identification Badges did not arrive but an e mail has been received from AC saying they had been posted. JW made temporary badges for use at Fun Day. High viz jackets were bought by PB, printed with Friends name and logo.

Money had been donated to go towards a bird hide in memory of Gilbert Bolton. We have been unable to comply with this request so an alternative has been agreed with his widow. A picnic bench and table has been sited by the Dipping Pond and a plaque has been added to it.

The signs have been ordered for Main drive to warn traffic of children crossing from car park to playground.

Decorating in Visitor’s Centre is almost completed.

BENCHES ON ARENA HILL:-Complaints have been received about the positioning of the Memorial benches on Arena Hill. The matter was discussed and the meeting agreed that we should pass on these complains and concerns to the management with our comments.

The Wetland was now partly opened to the public but there was confusion about where the public could walk. Notices were not very clear or had been removed. It was suggested that a plan or map showing where people could go would be useful. VG said he would try to find a map. AO is to put up new notices.

THE FAMILY FUN DAY had been a great success with fine weather and over 3000 visitors. The Friends thanked the Rangers for their help in erecting the gazebos. However it was felt that a lone Ranger on the site when there were so many visitors was not satisfactory. The meeting thanked Lisa for all her hard work. The treasurer produced a very comprehensive breakdown of income and expenditure on the Fun Day. Around £1000 was raised much of this from the Raffle. Secretary to send letters of thanks to people who donated prizes or helped on the day. This was the last meeting before the Summer break. The next meeting will therefore be at the end of September unless any urgent business arises.

Workdays will continue through the summer and secretary will continue to send out notices.

Tuesday 25th May 2010 Fifth Annual General Meeting.

There were no new nominations for Chair, Treasurer or Secretary so the present holders of these posts were re-elected for a further 12 months:- Chair Vic Greenwood Treasurer Peter Browne Secretary Joy Winstanley.

No changes to the constitution had been received.

Treasurer collected Membership fees.

General meeting followed the AGM.
A room in the former Visitors’ Centre is to be made available for us to book people into events for the Fun Day. We would like the Visitors’ Centre to be returned to full public use once all officers are working from Haigh Hall.
Quad bikes are once again using the site and causing damage especially on the Heather patch.
Fun Day is organised forThursday 4th June but there will be only one Ranger on site. Posters to be distributed to local shops.
Audited accounts were distributed to Members.
April 27th 2010
General Meeting

  • A group of horse riders attended and told the meeting of their problem moving from one bridleway to the next. They offered to raise funds to improve the path within the Three Sisters that connects the two bridle ways. Anne Cockram agreed to talk to the Rights of Way Officer and get back to the group.
  • Anne Cockram wished to correct the misunderstandings about the Ranger Service which had been voiced at the last meeting. The information given was one suggestion put forward some time ago and was not the organisation that was now in place. She went on to address some of the concerns raised by members about reduced staff numbers and how this affected the safety issues raised.
    AC informed the group that The House will remain the venue for some activities as at present. The former Visitors’ Centre is to stay in use as offices for the forseeable future. Chair thanked AC for her input to the meeting.
  • Treasurer’s Report - Treasurer informed the meeting that the books had been audited and were ready for the AGM on 25th May.
  • A member is to find out about kits to build new Bird Islands and report back to the meeting.
  • Work done at last work day were noted and secretary asked for any new items to add to work list.
  • Last work day:- Work done at last work day were noted and secretary asked for any new items to add to work list.
  • Items concerning the Family Fun Day were discussed.

    Our AGM is followed by a general meeting on Tuesday 25th May 2010
    at 7.30 p.m. in The House at the Three Sisters.
    All welcome.

March 30th 2010
General Meeting

  • Ranger Service - Great concern by many members about the reducing number of Rangers employed by WLCT. It is now very difficult to find a Ranger on the site. The new Play Area is very popular and visitor numbers have increased greatly. Secretary asked to write to WLCT to express concerns.
  • Item to add to jobs list - Potholes due to frost damage need repairing.
  • Treasurer’s ReportCheque for Dave’s bench has been given to LCT. Balance of £50 to be used to buy bulbs to be planted at appropriate time. Dave’s family have chosen spot for bench and agreed wording for plaque.Secretary reminded Treasurer that books need to be audited for AGM in May. A suitable Auditor will be found.
  • Secretary’s ReportList given to members of jobs to be done on work days.
  • Raffle:-Tickets at printers, many prizes donated by local firms.
  • Volunteers- Letter received from group wishing to work with The Friends on any project planned. LCT have been informed that we would like to work with this group. Awaiting response.
  • Last work day:- Clearing the Woodland Path from Main gate to Play area.
  • Engineers Fund - Waiting for information from Township Manager. Plan B could be a picnic table suitable for use by wheel chair users. Councillors have agreed to give a donation to help fund the Family Fun Day from their Brighter Borough Budgets.

Next Meeting will be back in The House on the Three Sisters at 7;30pm on Tuesday 27th April .Secretary to send letter of thanks to Caledonian for their help over the winter months.
March 9th 2010
  • Easter Egg Hunt 77 children completed the Egg Hunt
    accompanied by either Mums and Dads, Grandparents or Carers. A good
    time was had by all and prizes of Easter Eggs were given to the

March 2nd 2010
General Meeting

  • Horses - On going problem with horse riders on the footpaths causing damage and danger to pedestrians.
  • Visitors' Centre - Management are leaving their temporary offices in the former Visitors’ Centre. We would like to see the room revert to its former use as a Meeting Room for various Users of the Three Sisters.
  • Treasurer’s Report -Secretary gave a cheque for £80 which was further donations towards Dave’s bench.
  • Secretary’s Report - Three members worked on the last work day planting daffodil bulbs round the play area and clearing plastic and litter from Arena Hill. Need to be more proactive about work done on Work days. Suggested that a list be drawn up of work we think needs doing, share this with Ranger Service, add jobs as people notice them on their walks round the site. Suggestions should be e mailed to Chair or Secretary.
  • Easter Egg Hunt - Organisation is under way. Fun Day Raffle:- Confirm main prizes so tickets can be printed. JW & SMK to ask local shops for donations.
  • Membership of Township ForumNo decision taken.
  • Engineers Fund - Township Manager to get cost of improving access from Car Park to Play Area. Secretary to progress this item.

  • Next Meeting:- 30th March at The Caledonian Hotel, Bolton Rd. 7:30pm 2nd March 2010

Jan 26th, 2010
General Meeting

The meeting started with a one minute’s silent reflection to the memory of David McKendrick 1942 - 2009, founder member of the group.
  • Halloween Walk - There was much positive feedback by email and word of mouth for our efforts.
  • Horses are a continuing problem causing damage to paths.
  • Map - It is proposed to place a large map of the area on the notice board.
  • Play Area - This is now complete and the Ranger Service thanked us for our part in making this project come to completion. An official opening is to be arranged and we will be invited.
  • Fun Day will be the 3rd. June. Budget to be confirmed.
  • Treasurer reported that £420 had been donated from members of the public for a bench to the memory of David McKendrick to be sited on the Three Sisters Recreation Area. Balance stood at £2280.27 of which £420 is for a bench and £300 is a donation towards a bird hide in the new Wetland Area.
  • Membership of the Township Forum would be reviewed at the next meeting.
  • Engineers Fund - two projects suggested. Refurbishment of the island in the lake and foot path markers were to be costed.
  • Lotteries licence was applied for.
  • Plan for work days was request of the Trust for tasks that are within the capabilities of the group.

October 29th, 2009
Over 170 adults and children took part in the annual Hallowe'en Walk round the site, with the aid of Rangers and the Friends. The event raised almost £60 for Friends' funds.
October 27th, 2009
General Meeting

  • Centre car park. The signs were reported to be at regulation height, but it was still felt that shorter signs would be more appropriate and were in use in other places.
  • Dog fouling. The rangers were now being supplied with bin bags and these were being emptied.
  • Traffic calming. The yellow lines on Three Sisters Road had been discussed with the Council's safety officer and felt to be appropriate. However, racetrack traffic was still exiting the site at excessive speed and represented a danger to pedestrians.
  • Play area. Work was progressing and the fencing was now being installed.
  • Raffle. The Secretary had obtained costings for an extended raffle next spring. It was agreed that this should go ahead and a licence should be purchased.
  • Winter venue. It was agreed that winter meetins would take place at the Caledonian Hotel.
  • Noticeboard. The perspex had been obtained and the Chair was approaching a local firm to make the door frame.
  • Horse riders. Some were still using unauthorised paths and presenting a safety hazard. The old stile at the end of Kestrel path leading on to Viridor Wood required a 'pinch point' to restrict access and signage was needed.
  • Hallowe'en. The remainder of the meeting was taken up with discussing arrangements for the Hallowe'en fun evening to be held this Thursday.

September 22nd, 2009
General Meeting

  • New wildlife pond. The pond is open but other footpaths are still dangerous.
  • Site maintenance. AC said that work was now underway and several paths had already been strimmed.
  • Dog fouling. Several members agreed that the new bag system had cleaned up many areas but felt that volunteers should not be supplying bags and emptying them. AC said she would arrange for a supply of bags to be made available. The Rangers were now doing some of the emptying and she suspected that the system would be reviewed by LCT in the near future. Several companies produce plastic bag clamps to turn a bag into a more secure bin. Each costs about £35. WLCT would have to agree to the clamps and lids being put on the site.
  • Task days. The purchase of High Visibility Waistcoats was raised and AC said she could provide 10 of these. It is to be decided if we should get them printed.
  • Ranger's items. Hallowe’en Walks to go ahead on 29th October, 5 walks starting 4.45pm, last walk 6.00pm. JW to sort out sweets as last year and prepare new Donations bucket. No raffle this year. Final arrangements to be discussed at next meeting, 27th October.
  • Play area project. Since the last meeting there had been rapid developments. Funding had been secured by the Trust and work had commenced. The playground was expected to be completed by Xmas.
  • The playground, under construction.
  • Centre car park. Several members voiced their concerns about the car park, speed bumps and double yellow lines on Three Sisters Road. There were complaints about the new 'No Entry' signs on the car park, which are obtrusive. AC explained that these were not the correct signs and would be lowered.
  • Refurbishing bird islands on lake. A boat has been donated but needs some work on it. It will be useful for work on the floating bird islands, but JW pointed out that all equipment needed to be ready and we need to know that members will be available to do the work. A specific date should be set.
  • Treasurer's report. Funds stand at £1517.72. The Fun Day raised £470, but we needed an analysis of sources. No cheque has been received from Brighter Boroughs - VG to follow this up.
  • Publicity. The group’s information has been entered onto the Wigan Libraries Database.
  • Task mornings. JW and AC have devised a new system to alert Rangers to the next Friend’s work day. It had worked well for the last work day. JW asked if a list could be compiled of regular, seasonal work that could be done on the work days. This had been asked for before but nothing has happened.
  • Raffles. JW expressed her concern about the Fun Day raffle. She felt that such good prizes should be bringing in more money. She will investigate the cost of having tickets printed and registering with Small Lotteries.
  • Last task morning. JW and Jean White worked on the house garden. VG removed some broken bottles from dipping pond and then helped with gardens.
  • Website. DMcK has asked if the Friends will now fund the website domain name. He has paid for it up to date and the fee is due shortly. It will cost £6.75 for 2 years. Meeting agreed.
  • Horses. Complaints had been received about horse manure on footpaths and horses galloping along paths. The step-over stiles have been removed to allow disabled access and this has made access for horses easier. AC has written to the local stables asking horse riders to keep to the bridleway and not use the footpaths.

Family Fun Day: May 28th, 2009.

Volunteers from the Friends' group again assisted with the fun day, holding a white elephant stall and raffle, and assisting with badge-making, canoeing and car parking. The weather was dry but cloudy, and attendance appeared less than last year. Once again members of the public enjoyed the event.

May 26th, 2009
Annual General Meeting

All Officers were re-elected: Vic Greenwood as Chair; Joy Winstanley as Secretary; and Peter Browne as Treasurer. The constitution was amended to recognise that the management of parts of the Three Sisters could be carried out by other bodies besides Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust.

General Meeting

  • Wetland. A meeting of the Leisure and Culture Trust and other bodies was due to take place to decide details of the management of the wetland area. It was noted that the public were still accessing the area despite it being a nature reserve, and it was suggested that an information panel was needed to educate people.
  • Playground project. Joy Winstanley had now walked the paths with Ann Cochran. The next step would be to design and cost markers for the individual walks, and identify suitable paths for people with mobility scooters. Now that the main playground project would be funded from government monies, the Friends could seek funding specifically for the pathways.
  • Dog fouling. Vic Greenwood had placed bags in an area which had been littered with bags of dog faeces and these were being used. It was felt that regular provision of a bin bag would save the Rangers work in clearing litter and should be adopted as part of their duties.
  • Communication. Concern was expressed that there was an apparent lack of feedback from the Trust on matters raised at the Friends' meetings, which raised doubts as to the extent that the Trust valued the work of the group. It was agreed that the Chair and Secretary draft a letter to the Trust expressing this concern.
  • Maintenance. It was felt that there was evidence of lack of maintenance of the site, eg. overgrown footpaths.
  • Visitor Center. Although the loss of use of the Visitor Centre for the public had been described as a temporary measure, alterations being carried out suggested a more permanent use as an administrative centre for the Trust. The Chair was asked to enquire when the Centre would be again made available for public use.
  • Notice Board. It was noted that a recent volunteer was a joiner and suggested that he might be commissioned to make the doors for the notice board. The Chair again agreed to follow this up.
  • Fun Day. This was scheduled for Thursday, and Lisa Appleton outlined the programme. Plans were made for the involvement of Friends volunteers on the day.

April 28th, 2009
General Meeting

  • Play area project. Next week Joy Winstanley and Ann Cochran were walking the proposed footpaths for the project to determine work and costings for the bid. Wigan Council had secured further funding from play monies for the project and it was expected that work would commence in the next twelve months.
  • Litter bin. The Township Forum would fund the additonal bin once the rangers had determined the location and arrangements for emptying.
  • Donation. A further donation of £270 had been received towards funding a bird hide on the new wetland area in memory of Gilbert Bolton.
  • Edmund Arrowsmith school. The school had expressed an interest in participating in projects at Three Sisters.
  • Wetland area. Temporary fencing had been erected to protect the area but arrangements for public access still needed defining. Also, some ponds appeared to be losing water.
  • Rangers report. Jenny discussed the arrangements for the forthcoming fun day and sought volunteers from the group.

March 31st, 2009
General Meeting

  • Three Sisters - Events. It was noted that the Easter Hunt was coming up, but the Friends hadn't received sufficient notice to request assistance, which meant that several members weren't available.
  • Ashton Guides. A local Guides' troop was keen to assist in future events.
  • Rangers' Report. No ranger was in attendance, but Graham Workman had asked that the group publicises that the new wetland area should not be used by the public until fencing was in place, as people and dogs were disturbing the wildlife.
  • Footpath access from main car park. Work had been carried out to drop the kerb and install bollards to improve access. It was felt that the gravel surface at the footpath entrance needed a gritsand topping to avoid the gravel being scattered.
  • Litter bin. The need for a litter bin at the far end of the main path was again emphasised.
  • Notice Board. The Chair had still to obtain an estimate for the doors.
  • Donation. Tony Oldfield gave a £50 donation to the group in memory of Gilbert Bolton, to be used to help fund one of the new bird hides. He asked if it could be named in his memory and all agreed that this would be a suitable gesture.
  • Rumble Strips It was noted that the new rumble strips at the site entrance were causing concern to users because of the vibration even at low speeds.
  • Play Area Bid. No progress had yet been made by the Trust in carrying out their necessary action in order to allow the bid to proceed. The Secretary agreed to take this up, as the bid was in danger of failing.

February 24th, 2009
General Meeting

  • Play Area Bid. The Friends were still awaiting the approval of the Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust for the costings and layout of the suggested walks before the bid could be submitted. Concern was expressed at the delay.
  • 2009 Fun Day. It was noted that this would take place on Thursday, 28th May.
  • Safety measures on Three Sisters Road. Yellow lines and a rumble strip had been installed at the exit to the Three Sisters, but if anything this was exaggerating the problem of speeding cars leaving the site from the race track.
  • Car Parks. These had been resurfaced, but there was concern that the surface was already breaking up.
  • Wetland Project. The bid for fencing had been rejected. This was disappointing, as the wetland area was developing well. A question was raised about public access and it was noted that the sluices had been installed, resulting in deep water channels and ponds; therefore it was intended that the public had access only to part of the site, hence the need for fencing.
  • New education pond. The plastic revetment was proving unsatisfactory and needed replacing.
  • Dog waste. There was a continuing and increasing problem with dog waste. Although funding for an additional bin had been allocated from the Township Forum there was difficulty in arranging the emptying of the bin. The Friends had been unable to make progress on this issue, and it was suggested that members of the public concerned about the problem should contact their local councillor.
  • Notice Board. Liz and Paul had obtained perspex for the cover. It was agreed that the Chair would contact a local joiner for an estimate for fitting wooden doors to the board.
  • Partnership Convention. Joy Winstanley reported that she had attended this event on behalf of the Friends.

November 25th, 2008
General Meeting

  • Rangers' Service. Ann Cochran, Parks Officer Central, attended the meeting and discussed her role as manager of Three Sisters and other parks in the Wigan area. She had experience of working with Friends groups and looked forward to working with FOTS.
  • Officers' meeting with Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust and the Wildlife Trust. The Chair and Secretary had met to discuss the development of the wetland area. Plans are proceeding with a view to the area becoming a Local Nature Reserve, managed by the Wildlife Trust, and incorporating an education centre. The Friends had been invited to extend their remit to include the wetland area, and with the assistance of the Trust to apply for £10,000 funding to secure fencing and screens to enhance and protect the area. Tony Oldfield had agreed to join the Friends and to take on the recording of bird species using the new wetland area.
  • Notice Board. Still awaiting materials for construction of the doors. Ann Cochran agreed to supply a map of the Three Sisters for the notice board once it had been completed.
  • Play Area Bid. Joy Winstanley reported on progress of the sub-group. Final preparations were in hand for submission of the bids for funding. As part of the project the sub-group had prepared suggested walks in keeping with the bid, and maps of these were given to the Parks Officer for approval and outline costings. It was noted that orienteering maps were already in existence for the site. It was also noted that a priority for the walks and for existing users was the creation of disabled access from the Visitor Centre car park to the main path.
  • Horse Riders. It was noted that inconsiderate horse riding was again taking place on the site, with horses being allowed to stray from the main bridle path and also galloping across the meadow from the arena path.

October 31st, 2008
Once again the Friends assisted the Rangers in providing a Scary Hallowe'en Walk. Over a hundred booked on this year's walk, which again proved a success.

The winning numbers for the raffle were:

  1. 114   Box of chocolates
  2. 104   Box of chocolates
  3.  86   Jelly Babies
  4.  74   Rangers lucky bag
  5.  84   Rangers lucky bag
Please take your winning ticket to the Rangers' office to collect your prize.
October 28th, 2008
General Meeting

  • Playground Project. Joy Winstanley reported that the project would incorporate woodland walks, and the bid was being prepared for submission.
  • Hallowe'en. Plans for the event on Friday were finalised.
  • Wetland Project. It was noted that an interpretation board had now been installed by the new education pond. The Mayor would be attending an official opening of the wetland area on Thursday and Vic Greenwood was representing the Friends of Three Sisters.

September 30th, 2008
General Meeting

  • Promotional banner. Now obtained.
  • Footpath by septic tank. Requires resurfacing.
  • Ice-cream van. Public were complaining that noise, fumes and leakage from the van were spoiling enjoyment of the area by the lake and suggesting that the van be moved further away.
  • Old dipping pond. This was becoming overgrown with rushes, and a tree was leaning on the fencing.
  • Car parking. People felt there was a shortage of spaces now that the Trust staff were based at the Three Sisters. It was suggested that the surfaces on the car parks off the main drive could be improved to encourage more use of these.
  • Task mornings. It was agreed these be changed to the second Sunday in each month.
  • Work to Centre. Sharon Saunders had replied to correspondence and outlined the work intended to take place at the Visitor's Centre.
  • Playground. The Trust had written given formal permission for the playground to be sited at the Three Sisters.
  • Engineers' Fund 2007. The fund had met the costs of the new woodland walk at the site entrance.
  • Engineers' Fund 2008. It was agreed that the fund be asked to meet the costs of a new litter bin and an interpretation panel to be sited by the main car park.
  • Council for Voluntary Service. The Friends were now members.
  • Environmental Forum. The Trust had suggested that groups such as the Friends might welcome a forum to raise issues and aid communication.
  • Hallowe'en. Jen outlined a programme for this year's event, to be held on the 31st October. It was agreed that the next task morning be used to prepare material.
  • Trees offer. Kate Horgan from the Forestry Commission said she had had an offer of tree planting, and asked if any local groups would appreciate this.
  • Apple Day. The Forestry Commission is running an event on Sunday 25th October for local children at Viridor Wood.

June 24th, 2008
General Meeting

  • History booklet. No further progress. It was suggested that a heritage grant could be sought to make progress with this if the Leisure and Culture Trust did not proceed with it.
  • Entrance footpath. This still required some finishing off, and Kath Godfrey had suggested that a grant could be sought for improvements to the surrounding woodland.
  • Friends' banner. D McKendrick had prepared the artwork and P Smith would approach Copycats for a quote.
  • Management changes at Three Sisters. It was noted that John Woodward had not been successful in the recent managerial appointments, and the group wished to meet the new manager of the Three Sisters in order to discuss future relationships and activities.
  • Change in use of the Visitors' Centre. It was noted that the office alterations were removing the meeting room. The Secretary was asked to write to the Trust regretting the loss of this important educational and social facility, and also enquiring about the effects on disabled parking through office staff using the car park.
  • Notice board. Liz Cook agreed to enquire about progress with the perspex covers for the board.
  • Stubshaw Cross Residents' Group. This group was holding a local History Night at the Labour Club and had invited attendance from the Friends.
  • Campaign for Ashton. Local MP Ian McCartney had written to the group inviting views on his campaign to bring investment into Ashton. The Chair agreed to reply.
  • Playground project. The Secretary reported that the new Coalfield Challenge criteria might not include the bid previously prepared. She was checking this, and also sounding out alternative sources of funding.
  • Township Forum monies. The Township Environmental Group was again making Council monies available to local groups, and the sum of £1,000 was being offered this year. On discussion, it was noted that certain areas of the Three Sisters were particularly gathering litter, and agreed that a bid should be made for two additional litter bins.

June 3rd, 2008
Annual General Meeting.

All officers were re-elected. The Constitution was amended to include the fact that the association is 'not-for-profit'.

General Meeting.

  • Ranger's Report (John Woodward):
    • Fun Day. He expressed appreciation for the help afforded by the Friends and volunteers.
    • Restructuring. The re-organisation of the rangers service was continuing, which would produce changes for the senior staff and temporary alteration of use of the visitors' centre.
    • Booklet. The Trust were planning to produce information on the Three Sisters based on the information prepared by Ian Winstanley.
  • New footpath. It was noted that the new entrance footpath through the woodland was complete and in use.
  • Fun Day. Almost £500 had been raised by the raffles, tombola and white elephant stall. This would allow funding of projects to improve the Three Sisters, and the Chair asked members to bring suggestions to the next meeting.
  • Big Thank You.. The Secretary showed the certificate for the award made to the Friends.
  • Youth involvement.. The Secretary had approached a local youth group in order to encourage youth involvement in the work at Three Sisters.
  • Banner.. After discussion it was agreed that the group should purchase a banner in order to help promote its work at public events.
  • Playground Project. The Secretary reported that she was still pursuing possible sources of funding.

Canoeing on the lake. Family Fun Day - May 29th, 2008. Another successful event for the Friends, Rangers and Forestry Commission staff, helped by good weather. A range of activities again attracted a large turnout from the public, and FOTS members Alison Clothier, Vic Greenwood, David & Sue McKendrick, Ian & Joy Winstanley were assisted by volunteers Sheila Banks, Ian, Liz & Sheila Brown, Barbara Greenwood, Ann Rampling and Maureen Smith in marshalling the car parking, badge-making, ticketing for canoeing and archery, and running a raffle, tombola, and a white elephant stall.

The first prize - a driving session on the Three Sisters racetrack - was won by Darren Atherton with winning orange ticket 150, and the second prize by Adele Wilkes, with orange ticket 279. Third prize: salmon ticket 011; fourth prize: orange ticket 324 - Mrs Gasney; fifth prize: orange ticket 053 - Mrs Dunn; sixth prize: orange ticket 027 - Jess King; seventh prize: orange ticket 014 - Mrs Pennington. Thanks to all who donated prizes and items for the stalls.

Proceeds from the activities will be used to further the activities of the Friends of Three Sisters in improving and maintaining the country park.

April 29th, 2008
General Meeting.

  • Ranger's Report (John Woodward):
    • Dog Waste. A recent incident when dog waste bags had not been cleared had been dealt with. Further discussion took place on the continuing problem of people discarding these bags instead of depositing them properly, and the location of litter bins. John said he would raise this matter at the Trust's Operations Meeting.
    • Anniversary booklet. A meeting was scheduled for Friday. Ian Winstanley agreed to attend on behalf of FOTS.
    • Family Fun Day. The plans for the forthcoming event were discussed.
    • Mears. This local firm had been approached by FOTS and appeared able to offer support to the Three Sisters.
  • Fun Day. Further discussion took place within the group regarding the costs and logistics of the day, including face painting, production of leaflets, stalls and prizes, raffle and tombola.
  • Playground Project. Joy Winstanley reported on progress. The group agreed to her recommendation that a bid be made for the playground funding, and that the proposed walks be planned, costed and funded as an additional item.
  • Walks. Joy Winstanley said that she had attended a training day and was now certificated to lead walks. The Rangers had enlisted her for a walk this Thursday.
  • Treasurer's Report. Peter Browne submitted the books for audit, and stated that the group's balance stood at £387.04.
  • Constitution. It was noted that Ian Winstanley had submitted an amendment to be discussed at the AGM.
  • Footpath. Vic Greenwood gave an update on progress with the footpath at the entrance to the site.

March 4th, 2008
General Meeting.

  • Ranger's Report. Ranger Jen began by outlining the programme for the 2008 Fun Day. Once again the Forestry Commission would also be holding events, and she discussed a range of activities that were being prepared. Once again it would be helpful if the Friends prepared a leaflet for the day. Joy W and Sue McK said they had approached firms on the industrial estate, and Mears had offered to provide input.
  • Woodland footpath. Ashton and Bryn Township Forum had granted £4,000 towards the pathway.
  • Lottery bid. The bid for funding for the playground project had been refused on the grounds that it was not clear the group was 'not-for-profit'. Joy W said she would explore the reason for this with them.
  • Wetland project. Work had commenced and was proceeding rapidly.
  • Lake island. Discussion took place on the B&Q new award and the current position with regard to restoring the island in the lake.
  • Dog bags. Alison C said that the problem with people leaving dog poo bags around the site seemed to be increasing, and asked again if additional bins could be provided. Jen said she doubted if the policy would change, but the animal warden was prepared to prosecute offenders. Phil S suggested that signs be put up emphasising this.
  • AGM. Agreed that the AGM would be held on Tuesday, 3rd June.

January 29th, 2008
General Meeting.

The meeting was attended by Sharon Saunders, Zenno Vatev and Matt (Ranger).

  • 2008 Fun Day. Provisional date is May 29th. The WLCT would continue the funding of £1,500 towards the event, and the Friends would seek to supplement the activities as they did last year. Ideas for fund-raising and improving the visitor experience were: entrance fee; a raffle; and provision of drinks and crisps. Sharon Saunders agreed to explore the feasibility of these.
  • 30th Anniversary. The WLCT marketting team were studying the booklet prepared by Ian Winstanley with a view to its production. Sharon Saunders said that the Heritage team might also be interested in supporting it. Joy Winstanley hoped that local firms might sponsor the booklet through advertising.
  • Play Area Project. Planning permission had been obtained. The lottery bid application had been vetoed on spurious grounds and the Chair agreed to follow this up. Funding had been obtained from the Township Forum for the footpath, and this will be included in the project as improving access to the playground.
  • Sponsorship. Sue McKendrick and Joy Winstanley had visited firms on the industrial estate to sound out sponsorship for events at the Three Sisters. Many firms did not know of the site and it was proposed that an information pack be sent to them. The larger firms should be contacted at their head offices.
  • Future plans. Sharon Saunders spoke of the ideas of WLCT to enhance the Three Sisters. The Regeneration Team were looking at a Parks Strategy, where access signs ("Be Alive") and interpretation panels would be erected. In answer to a question whether the Friends could staff the Visitors' Centre one day per week, she said that whilst this was desirable, future plans of the Trust might lead to increased use of the accommodation at Three Sisters. However, partnership with voluntary groups was very much an aspect that the Trust wished to develop.
  • Wetland Project. It was now hoped that work could start on 11th February.

November 27th, 2007
General Meeting.
  • New Woodland Path. There was concern that the equipment funded by the Friends had not been used for the intended purpose. Path edging would be required at an estimated cost of £500. Enquiries would be made to determine if funding could be received from the Township Forum. The siting of the end of the path by the site entrance required consideration.
  • Volunteer Forms. The WLCT were requesting that the Friends complete forms for each Task Morning and meeting. It was agreed that the forms would be completed for the former only, as minutes of meetings were supplied to the Rangers.
  • Wetland Project. The work had been delayed due to waiting for the contract to be drawn up. Quotes were still needed for altering the gates at Kestrel Drive.
  • Promotional booklet. No feedback yet from the Leisure and Culture Trust - Sharon Saunders to be contacted.
  • Play Area Project. Zenno Vatev had suggested that the additional work for the footpath should be costed as part of the Lottery bid.
  • Sponsorship. Sue McKendrick and Joy Winstanley had visited firms on the industrial estate to sound out sponsorship for events at the Three Sisters. Many firms did not know of the site and it was proposed that an information pack be sent to them. The larger firms should be contacted at their head offices.

October 30th, 2007
General Meeting.
  • Wetland Project. It was now hoped that the project could start in January next.
  • New Woodland Path. Clearing of trees was almost complete. The removal of tree roots was underway, assisted by the hiring of equipment funded by the Friends.
  • Promotional booklet. No feedback yet from the Leisure and Culture Trust.
  • Hallowe'en Event. The Rangers had expressed thanks for the Friends' assistance. The Treasurer reported that £37 had been donated by participants for group funds.
  • Public Complaints. People were concerned about the amount of horse droppings on the pathways and horses not keeping to the bridle path.
  • Fundraising. The Chair said that the collection of aluminium, brass and copper was continuing to contribute to the group's funds.
  • Play Area Project. The Leisure and Culture Trust was applying for planning permission. The Secretary said that she had explored a number of funding sources. One suitable one was 'Playful Ideas', but this required the project to have a 'unique selling point'. She asked the group for suggestions, and proposed one herself - a "Walk Through Life" on the Three Sisters. Members were asked to consider this before the next meeting. It was also suggested that the Secretary approaches local firms for sponsorship for the project, and Sue McKendrick offered to assist.
  • 30th Anniversary. It was agreed that the Chair and the Secretary approach Officers of Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust to determine what plans, if any, were in place to mark the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Three Sisters site.
  • Notice Board. It was raised that the new notice board contained little material, and agreed that the Chair and the Secretary would arrange a suitable display including a map of the Three Sisters.
  • 2008 Annual Fun Day. It was agreed that the Friends needed to know what funding would be available for the 2008 Fun Day in order to allow plans to support the event to be made in good time.

Hallowe'en Trail - October 27th, 2007

Members again assisted the Rangers in providing a free Hallowe'en event for local children. Just over 100 children and their parents, many in fancy dress, took part in a series of ranger-led torchlight walks around the footpaths and woods. The Friends provided scary settings, dressed as ghosts, ghouls and witches. The children also played a game, met talking pumpkins, the old lady of the woods with her large basket of sweets, a giant spider with her web, before finishing the walk with a selection of sweets and crisps, donated by Sainsbury's at Marus Bridge.

September 25th, 2007
General Meeting.
  • Green Flag Status. John Woodward explained that Three Sisters was expected to be proposed for Green Flag status in 2008. This would mean substantial investment in the infrastructure. Currently this was being pursued for two other parks in Wigan and Leigh.
  • Wetlands Area. At present certain legal issues were being clarified. Funding for Phase I has been agreed and work should start shortly.
  • Promotional booklet. Ian Winstanley said that he had prepared a booklet on behalf of the group, outlining the history of Ashton and the Three Sisters to mark the 30th anniversary next year. The intention was for it to be published by the Leisure and Culture Trust, and John Woodward agreed to submit it for approval.
  • Fund-raising. £18 had been raised for group funds by the Chair and members by recycling aluminium.
  • Hallowe'en event. This year's event would be held on Saturday 27th October between 17.30 and 18.30.
  • Funding. Joy Winstanley reported that at Ashton and Bryn Township Forum £20,000 was being allocated from 106 monies to the playground project. Deb Freeman was arranging planning permission for the project. Also, an environmental grant of £1,800 would be offered this year to improvements at the Three Sisters. John Woodward agreed to draw up costings for the new woodland footpath to enable disabled access, and also for a disabled access gate at Kestrel Drive. This would permit David McKendrick to prepare a bid for the Township Forum money.
  • Rat infestation. Comments had been passed on the presence of rats at the bird feeding station, and a programme of control was currently being carried out.
  • Community Day at Jubilee Park. Joy Winstanley reported on the Community Fun Day.
  • Racetrack traffic. Problems were still evident with speeding traffic entering and leaving the racetrack.

Community Fun Day - July 29th, 2007. Members of FOTS supported a Fun Day in Jubilee Park organised by Wigan Children and Young People's Services by providing a stall promoting the work of the Friends group.

June 26th, 2007
General Meeting.
  • Family Fun Day. Ranger Matt attended for feedback on the Fun Day. No major problems had been experienced, but several suggestions were put forward for improvements next year.
  • Playground Project. A meeting of the sub-group had taken place and a business plan was being prepared.
  • Fund-raising. Ian Winstanley reported that the recycling of plastic was not a viable fund-raising method. The secretary asked for further suggestions at the next meeting.
  • Wetlands Project. The Chair said that the initial phase using the BTCV/FOTS funding was due to start shortly.
  • Information booklet. Ian Winstanley said that he was preparing a booklet on behalf of the Friends, outlining the history of the Three Sisters. He will approach the Leisure and Culture Trust to see if they would publish it.
  • FOTS/WLCT. The relationship between the Friends and the Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust was discussed and it was felt that this needed clarification. The group had found that efforts to represent the views of the users of the Three Sisters did not appear to be always welcomed.
  • Site maintenance and staffing. It was felt that the environment of the Three Sisters was showing signs of deterioration and that the staffing levels were insufficient to allow adequate maintenance. The Chair would make these views known to the Senior Ranger.

Family Fun Day - May 31st, 2007. Friends again assisted the Rangers in holding a successful event at the Three Sisters and Viridor Wood. Despite the weather forecast, the day was sunny and attracted crowds of visitors. Members of FOTS again managed the bookings for canoeing, staffed the car parks, and held badge-making sessions, allowing the rangers to support the many other activities taking place.

May 29th, 2007
Annual General Meeting

The minutes of the previous AGM were accepted. The present officers were re-elected. Annual subscription remained at one pound.

General Meeting.

  • Treasurer's Report. P Browne reported that the current bank balance was £357.50. Liz Smith had undertaken an audit, which was satisfactory, but she recommended that should grant monies be obtained that the annual audit be carried out by someone external to the group.
  • Family Fun Day. Final plans were discussed and volunteers identified. V Greenwood had prepared programmes for the day.
  • Ashton Children's Centre. Bernadette Fawn and Caroline Lister attended the meeting to explain their work in extending the local provision of services for children, young people and families. They would be joining in the forthcoming Family Fun Day to explain their work to the public.
  • New island in lake. The Chair was still seeking a response from North West Timber for sponsorship for materials.
  • Cultural Manifesto. Wigan Borough Partnership had presented a Cultural Partnership Convention which the Chair and the Secretary had attended. Material from the convention included a DVD promoting the social, recreational, artistic and voluntary activities within the Borough, which included filming of the FOTS group during a task morning.

Meeting - April 24th, 2007

  • Family Fun Day. Each local ward councillor had now pledged £50 towards the event, making a total of £300. This would allow several activities to be funded, together with an information leaflet on the day.
  • New island in lake. Plans for the island were discussed, and the approximate cost would be £1,000. It was hoped to receive sponsorship from local firms for the timber and other materials.
  • Fund-raising. I Winstanley proposed that members collect plastic for recycling which would offer a means of regular funding for the group. It was agreed that he pursue this further.
  • Dipping pond. P Browne said that rats were beginning to infest the pond and had drawn this to the rangers' attention.

Meeting - March 27th, 2007

  • Play Facility. The meeting was attended by Deb Freeman, Play Officer, and Ken Barston, Stubshaw Cross Residents' Association. A detailed presentation was given on the steps to secure a community facility, based on the experiences of the Stubshaw Cross group. After discussion it was agreed that Joy Winstanley would lead a small project group to achieve a play facility at the Three Sisters, comprising Ian Winstanley, Phil Smith and David McKendrick, with the Chair as an ex officio member.
  • Rangers' Report.
    • Phase I of the Wetland Project would start in June, led by BTCV, who were examining the input which could be given by FOTS. The initial phase would extend 'Charlie's Pond' and create a path to it from the Kestrel Drive path.
    • An 'Easter Hunt' would again take place this year, on Wednesday, 4th April, and FOTS were invited to assist.
    • The RSPB had offered a stall at the May Family Fun Day.
    • The Fun Day itself had a number of activities already planned. It was agreed that flyers would be made available for the public this year, and incorporate a map of activities.
  • Brighter Boroughs' Funding. A local councillor had offered £100 from his Council's Brighter Boroughs' monies to replace the amount FOTS had offered for the Family Fun Day. It was agreed that as the group was non-political it would be better to seek funding from all councillors within the ward to avoid party political bias.
  • History of the Three Sisters. Ian Winstanley had prepared an amount of material and outlined this to the group with a view to it being storyboarded by the Rangers.
  • B&Q Bid. The bid for funds for the refurbishment of the islands was unlikely to meet the amount of the national B&Q Award, and the Chair agreed to tailor the bid to target it to local stores.

Meeting - February 27th, 2007

  • Play Area. Zenno Vattev, Funding Officer, spoke to the meeting on possible sources of funding. The principal source required innovative ideas on playing facilities, and it was agreed that Joy Winstanley, Phil Smith and others would form a sub-group to develop a bid.
  • Rangers' Report. John Woodward was in attendance and covered the following points:
    • The proposal for an alternative pathway to the visitor centre was in keeping with the Trust's plans, but depended on other schemes which were currently under consideration.
    • The boardwalk was being repaired following recent damage.
    • The Friends' request for a twelve-month programme of tasks would be considered.
    • The Trust would like a more detailed history of the Three Sisters with a view to a display in the Visitor Centre, and he asked if the Friends would consider researching this.
    • For the forthcoming Fun Day it would be helpful if the Friends could seek sponsorship for a specific event. It was agreed that funding would be provided from Friends' funds and sponsorship would also be sought.
  • Treasurer's Report. Peter Browne reported that the current funds stood at £219.40.
  • Secretary's Report. Joy Winstanley reported on a conference she had attended on behalf of the Friends. She was in the process of seeking assistance from B&Q for the refurbishment of the bird islands in the lake, but required detailed costs and specifications. The Chair agreed to provide these.

Meeting - January 30th, 2007

  • Play Area. The Secretary had had discussions regarding possible possible funding sources. She was also trying to obtain a list of firms on the industrial estate.
  • Hazel Planting. Following the last meeting, 100 hazel whips had been purchased from BTCV. At the last task morning 80 had been planted at the bottom of the bridle path, and the rangers would be planting the remaining 20.
  • Future Projects. Members discussed the need for a list of projects to provide an annual programme of suitable tasks. Suggestions were the construction of an access path through the woodland between the entrance and the lake; and renovation of the islands in the lake. Other suggestions were seasonal work, such as woodland and grassland management.
  • Plaque. A plaque noting the contribution of Sherman and Young had been purchased and installed on the notice board.
  • Rangers' Report. In the absence of the rangers, the Chair gave a report. Main items were the repair of the boardwalk at the education pond, and the progress with the Wetlands Area. David Bellamy had visited to promote the wetland project and publicity had been gained for the project and the Friends group.
  • Township Forum. The Secretary reported on her attendance. It was suggested that Brighter Boroughs monies should be allocated by the Township Forum, rather than by ward councillors.
  • Road signage. P Browne said that some visitors were having difficulty locating the entrance to the park and it was agreed that the rangers be asked to review the signage.

Meeting - November 28th, 2006

  • Play Area. Deb Freeman, Play Officer, attended the meeting to explain her role and make proposals regarding improvement to the play area at Three Sisters. The estimated cost is £80,000 and it was agreed that the group would take this on as a project.
  • Wetlands area. John Woodward gave an update on the plans for the wetland area, which included an education centre. In response to a question he said that completion of the plans would stand the Three Sisters in good stead for part being designated as a Local Nature Reserve. It was already being proposed for Green Flag Status.
  • 'Friends' groups. Joy Winstanley reported on her attendance at a meeting in Manchester. It was agreed that at a future date it would be useful to have a meeting of Wigan Friends groups to share information.
  • Shooting. Concern was expressed that a notice on the new noticeboard might give the impression that shooting was allowed on the site. John Woodward said that the notice was intended to show that this was not the case, but said he would review it.
  • Signage. John Woodward expressed his appreciation of the work of the last task morning when three signposts were erected, and said that more posts could be erected on future task mornings.
  • Schedule of Events. Joy Winstanley asked if the group could have a list of family events planned for next year.
  • Ashton and Bryn Township Forum. The Secretary gave a report on her attendance at the Forum's Environmental Sub-group. She went on to say that FOTS had been accepted as a Core Member of the Forum. However, a letter had been received from the Township Manager questionning the FOTS' constitution, although this had already been accepted by the Forum. She was instructed to reply that the constitution had been drawn up and agreed by members and was not a matter for discussion by other individuals or groups. On the subject of alleged 'exclusion' of ward councillors, they were in fact welcome to attend FOTS meetings, but not to have voting rights as the group was non-political. It was agreed that Joy Winstanley would be the nominated representative to attend Forum meetings, and Vic Greenwood would be the nominated deputy.
  • Greenwood Project. David McKendrick suggested that a useful long-term project would be the sharing and development of woodland skills, eg. hurdle-making, willow-weaving. To support this, he suggested that the group consider buying and planting hazel and willow whips during this planting season. It was agreed that this was a useful FOTS project, and the Chair agreed to discuss with the Senior Ranger a suitable site for planting on the Three Sisters.
  • Notice Board. It was suggested that it would be appropriate to have an engraved plaque on the new notice board acknowledging the support of Sherman and Young. Ian Winstanley agreed to pursue this.

Hallowe'en Trail - October 30th, 2006

Nine members assisted the Rangers in providing a Hallowe'en event for local children.

Meeting - October 24th, 2006

  • Waste bins. Two extra dog waste bins are to be provided.
  • Wetlands area. BTCV had been successful in obtaining a grant on behalf of the group to commence work on the wetlands area. However, the Leisure and Culture Trust was considering a wider scheme to incorporate the planned improvement.
  • Play area. A presentation had been given at the Township Forum Environmental group on play equipment by Deborah Freeman, WLCT Play Manager, and it had been indicated that the Three Sisters play area might benefit. The Secretary agreed to contact her.
  • Fundraising. Thanks were given to Liz Cook for her substantial improvement to funds through her sponsored run.
  • Radios. The group had now purchased four walkie-talkie radios for use by rangers and volunteers.
  • Hallowe'en. Ranger Matt led a discussion in the group regarding the plans for the Hallowe'en Trail event on Monday next. Last year's event had proved very popular, and roles and tasks were assigned to group members to make this year a success too.
  • Representation. The Secretary was awaiting a decision from Ashton and Bryn Township Forum regarding the group's application to become a core member.

Sponsored run - July 30th, 2006

Member Liz Cook raised £300 to help fund Friends' projects by taking part in a 10km sponsored run.

Meeting - July 25th, 2006

  • Rangers. Senior Ranger John Woodward gave a report on progress with the wetlands area and other current matters at the Three Sisters.
  • Notice Board. At last Sunday's task day the notice board had been erected by the Visitors' Centre. This marked the completion of the first planned improvement by the Friends, and was sponsored by Sherman and Young.
  • Project. It was noted that the play equipment had had to be removed for safety reasons, and agreed that this was a suitable project for the Friends to sponsor. Further discussion would take place at the next meeting.
  • Pond work. Environmental work by Asda staff was again taking place at the Three Sisters, with replacing of treads on the boardwalk by the education pond.
  • Two-way radios. Feedback from the Friends following the recent fun day had highlighted the need for walkie-talkies to aid volunteers parking cars and for general communication. It was agreed that the Chair explore costing and liaise with the Senior Ranger with a view to purchasing a set.
  • Fundraising. Liz Cook, Friends member, had offered to carry out a 10km sponsored run next Sunday in aid of funds for the group. Sponsorship forms were circulated to members.
  • Representation. It was agreed that the Secretary would contact the Township Manager regarding FOTS being represented on the Ashton and Bryn Township Forum.

Family Fun Day - June 1st, 2006. Friends and volunteers assisted the Rangers in the most successful such event yet. This year involved the Forestry Commission, with events at Viridor Wood widening the range of activities available.

Meetings - May 30th, 2006

Annual General Meeting

Chair Vic Greenwood, Secretary Joy Winstanley and Treasurer P Browne were re-elected. The membership fee continued at £1.00.

General meeting

  • Relationship with the Leisure and Culture Trust. It was agreed that the group would continue to liaise with Trust staff and would remain an independent voice on matters affecting the Three Sisters.
  • BMX proposal. It was noted that approaches had been made to the Council regarding the proposed wetland area becoming a BMX track again. It was hoped that the FOTS' and Rangers' proposals would receive strong consideration.
  • Right of Way. The Chair would be having a meeting next Wednesday on site to discuss the waymarking of the Right of Way to the canal from Landgate Lane.
  • Access abuse. Discussion took place on the failure of the local farmer to replace the broken fence which was affording access to motor bikes. The Friends wondered whether measures could be taken on the Three Sisters site to prevent access rather than awaiting action from the farmer.
  • Notice Board. The Bryn timber merchant Sherman and Young had kindly agreed to offer materials for the proposed noticeboard. It was agreed that their support should be acknowledged. It was also proposed that when seeking funding it was better to have a specific project in mind rather than generally adding to funds.
  • Event. The Rangers present discussed the forthcoming Fun Day and thanked members of the group for offering to assist.

Easter Egg Hunt - April 12th, 2006.

Friends assisted the Rangers in organising activities for families touring the Three Sisters, based around an Easter theme.

Meeting - March 28th, 2006

  • Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust.The Secretary had written to the Director introducing the group, but had yet to receive a formal response.
  • Liaison. Senior Ranger John Woodward was in attendance, and discussed communication issues and the group's priorities. He agreed to advise the group on the specifications for signage on the site, particularly the noticeboard.
  • Event. A Fun Day was planned for Wednesday, 12th April, and the group would be welcome to assist as on previous occasions. John Woodward agreed to determine the Trust's policy for a proposal for the group to supply drinks to visitors on the day both as a service and to assist fund-raising.
  • Anti-social behaviour. The rangers were again having problems with motorcycles and quad bikes intruding on the site.
  • Wetland area. Discussion took place on long-term plans for the Wildlife and Wetland area.
  • Ranger involvement. John said that the Trust was in the process of drawing up management plans for the Three Sisters and other sites. He hoped to be able to attend future meetings about four times a year to keep the group informed. The Chair thanked him for his attendance and his assistance to the group.
  • Bank account. Officers had now opened the bank account.
  • Access. The waymark for access to the footpath from Landgate Lane to the canal had still not been installed. Chair to follow up.
  • Projects. The next task morning would be on Sunday 23rd April.
  • Noticeboard. As a way forward it was agreed that the Chair would determine which style of noticeboard the Trust favoured. An estimate could then be sought to determine the approximate price, allowing better direction for a funding bid.
  • Promotion. Wigan Council for Voluntary Service had been informed of the existence of the group.
  • Frequency of meetings. It was agreed that meetings only needed to be held bi-monthly at present. The next meeting would be the AGM on May 30th.

Meeting - February 28th, 2006

  • Bank account. Officers would be meeting next week to complete the opening of the bank account.
  • Access. Notices inhibiting access to the footpath from Landgate Lane to the canal had been removed following action by officers.
  • Projects. The last task morning had been well-attended and the Leisure and Culture Trust had shot video footage showing the work of the group.
  • Bids. Further discussion took place on funded projects. It was agreed that the priority was to obtain an information panel/noticeboard for the area round the visitor centre. It was further noted that the specifications for this would have to be established by the Leisure and Culture Trust in order that a detailed funding bid could be made by the group. The Secretary agreed to write to the Trust to make progress on this matter, and also to try to establish the Trust's strategy for the maintenance and development of the Three Sisters.
  • Promotion. It was noted that Wigan Council for Voluntary Service appeared unaware of the existence of the Friends group and the Secretary agreed to contact them to provide details, and to establish if start-up funding was available.

Meeting - January 31st, 2006.

  • Bank. The Chair reported that the opening of a bank account was in progress but had still to be completed.
  • Bids. Details of the requirements for signposts and an information panel and possible funding sources were discussed.
  • Access. Jason Smith and Andrea Marshall from Wigan MBC were in attendance and confirmed that the footpath leading from Landgate Lane to the canal immediately adjacent to the footpath from the Three Sisters is a right of way. In the past it was reported that this had been barred by a gate, and the Chair said he would check that it was still passable.
  • Promotion. Andrea Marshall showed a draft leaflet ("Transforming Your Space") which publicised the green areas around the east and north-east of Ashton, including Three Sisters, and incorporated a map of these areas. She went on to give some suggestions regarding funding for projects
  • Projects. The next task morning was scheduled for 19th February, and it might form part of a presentation showing voluntary work in the local countryside.
  • Racetrack. There had been further complaints regarding noise from the racetrack which were being followed up by Wigan MBC Environmental Department.
  • Damage. It was noted that once again travellers were camping on Three Sisters Road. Peter Barnes had offered to install barriers to prevent this recurring.
  • Dog bins. It was also noted that some dog owners were dropping bags of dog waste instead of taking them away with them. It was agreed that the possible installation of additional bins and advice of the dog warden service be discussed with the rangers.

Inaugural Meeting of the community association Friends of Three Sisters - November 29th, 2005.

At a meeting held at the Caledonian Hotel the constitution was accepted, officers appointed, authorisation given for a bank account to tbe opened, and a membership fee agreed.

Vic Greenwood was elected Chair, Joy Winstanley Secretary, and Peter Browne Treasurer. The membership fee was agreed as £1.00 per annum.

It was agreed that the next meeting, to be held on 31st January 2006, would examine possible funded projects. In the interim there was a proposed task morning to be held on either the 11th or 18th December. The Chair would notify members of the date agreed with the Rangers.

Hallowe'en Fun Day - October 29th 2005.

FOTS volunteers assisted the rangers in ensuring that over 100 children and their families enjoyed a Hallowe'en Hunt, touring the Three Sisters to complete a series of questions on items that could be found in the park. Many dressed up in the spirit of the occasion, including some of the rangers.

Meeting - October 25th 2005.

  • Projects. The task morning had taken place on the 16th with four volunteers.
  • Meetings. It was agreed that because the rangers had to stay back at the Visitors' Centre during the dark nights of winter it would be preferable if another venue was found for winter meetings. Alternative venues were a) the Caledonian and b) the Harrow. Peter and Sue agreed to check these out.
  • Schools. It was noted that Willow Grove and St Wilfrid's Schools had visited the site as planned.
  • Event. Plans for the Hallowe'en event on Saturday were discussed and several members volunteered to assist.
  • Constitution. The main business of the evening was agreement on the constitution in preparation for its ratification at an inaugural meeting of the formal Friends of Three Sisters group. With two minor amendments this was done, and it was agreed that the next meeting on November 29th would be the inaugural meeting of the association, with formal acceptance of the constitution, election of officers and establishment of a membership fee.

Meeting - October 4th 2005.

  • Projects. It was agreed to reinstitute the project mornings on the third Sunday of each month. In addition, Cansfield School might be involving pupils during the week in projects under the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, and this could possibly extend to weekends if successful.
  • Incorporation. Examination of the need for signs on site revealed the need for the group to consider its position in relation to bidding for funds from grant-making bodies. On discussion it was agreed that the group should pursue becoming a formal body. D McKendrick agreed to draw up a draft constitution for consideration.
  • Wetland area. Certain ward councillors were still seeking to have the old BMX track restored as a motocross venue. It was agreed that it was important that a scheme to maintain this as a wildlife habitat was advanced. Kath Godfrey said she had made a bid for this to be developed as a wetland site via the Lottery Fund, but this had been unsuccessful. She would prepare another bid for Landfill funds to be utilised.
  • Halloween. A Halloween Funday was planned for Saturday, 29th October from 13.00 to 16.00. A range of activities for visitors had been planned, and several members offered to assist.
  • Meetings. Future meetings would be held on the last Tuesday of each month.

Meeting - August 2005.

  • Schools project. Andrea Marshall, Community Development Worker at Wigan Environmental Planning, attended the meeting to discuss a proposed schools project organised by Stubshaw Cross Residents' Group. The project incorporated autumn activities at Three Sisters for two local schools, and a guided walk leaflet together with information boards. FOTS were invited to provide support for the project. She went on to describe the Greenheart project to develop a regional park within the borough.
  • Projects. Vic Greenwood said that after Andrea's presentation, the main purpose of the meeting was to discuss expanding the membership and volunteers for conservation work. Ranger John Woodward said that a shortage of volunteers disrupted structured projects such as the improvement of the dipping pond, and suggested it might be better at present if regular project days were held focussing on varied tasks to assist the rangers in improving the site.
  • DoE Award. Joy Winstanley said that in past years school pupils undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh Award had contributed to the development of Three Sisters and agreed to contact local schools to see if a programme could be reinstated.
  • Promotion. A range of suggestions was made for increasing participation in the FOTS. Vic Greenwood agreed to explore the press presenting an article on the group, and David McKendrick agreed to notify the local paper of forthcoming FOTS meetings.
  • Funding. Discussion took place on how funding was needed to support further improvements. It was agreed that the provision of signage on the site was a much-needed enhancement. Ranger John Woodward agreed to prepare costings and specifications and David McKendrick agreed to explore sources of funding.

Family Fun Day - 02/06/05.

The group assisted at the Family Fun Day, which featured green woodworking, chainsaw sculpture, willow working, orienteering, birds of prey, dog obedience training, canoeing, mini-beast hunts and badgemaking.

Meeting - May 2005.

  • Open Day. The meeting reviewed the success of the day, and Andy Ford thanked those who had volunteered their services.
  • Family Fun Day - June 2nd. Discussion took place on the arrangements for the annual Fun Day, and the Friends again offered to assist.
  • Andy Ford. It was noted that Andy was leaving to take up a post in the Cairngorms. Thanks were offered to him and to Ulrica Fry for their work in establishing the Friends of Three Sisters group. Andy was also thanked for his support to the Ashton Heath Restoration Project. All joined in wishing them well for the future.
  • BMX track area. In response to a question regarding possible use of this area for a skatepark it was pointed out that the area was part of the Three Sisters and designated as a wildlife and conservation area. Any plans for other uses were unlikely to be viewed favourably by the Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust.
  • Friends Group. Andy Ford expressed his pleasure at the establishment and continued operation of the Friends group. He emphasised the need for the group to continue to work in conjunction with the Rangers to ensure that the objectives of the Three Sisters Recreation Area were met, and hoped that the relationship with his successor was as fruitful.

Schools Open Day - 20th May 2005. Ten volunteers assisted the rangers in involving schoolchildren from Abram Bryn Gates, St Thomas's and Nicol Mere Primary Schools in activities on the site. These included a mini-beast hunt, pond-dipping and willow weaving in Viridor Wood.

Meeting - April 2005.

Three Sisters Racing Circuit. Peter Barnes, Managing Director of the company responsible for the circuit, attended the meeting to address issues raised by the Group.

  • Proposed Motocross Track. He gave the background to approaches made to his company to promote this, but said that it was opposed to the plans.
  • Noise. He was aware of the concerns of users of the Three Sisters and local residents regarding excessive noise from the track, and steps were being taken to reduce this. The circuit had been redesigned to avoid an area where noise was not shielded. Also, the number of days when noisy events were taking place was being reduced from 110 per year to 70. It was however a matter of striking a balance between the needs of residents, users of Three Sisters, and racing enthusiasts, and the lease with Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust did require that the track catered for racing competitions.
  • Parking. He recognised that past management of the parking during race events was less than satisfactory and said that he would be making personal arrangements to improve this.
  • Fence. He had inspected the fence and noted that while the main part was satisfactory, damaged sections required a better standard of repair and he would be arranging this.
  • Litter. He would be monitoring the amount of litter on the site and would arrange for this to be cleared regularly.
Vic Greenwood thanked Peter Barnes for his contribution, and Andy Ford added that he had found the relationship with the new managers of the track cordial and positive.

The rest of the meeting then proceeded as follows:

  • Motorcycles on site. Motor bikes were gaining access from the farm on Landgate Lane. The rangers had approached the local farmer who intended to replace the fence which had been taken down. Once this was restored a stile would be constructed.
  • Management plan for Friends' project. Andy Ford had prepared a plan outlining the tasks to be carried out at the education pond throughout the year. Amongst the tasks was the proposed fencing off of the wetland area to the west of the pond. One member objected to having any restricted access on the site, but the majority agreed that it was essential to protect certain wildlife areas, particularly as the area in question was open to view from the boardwalk.
  • May Task Day. It was agreed this would be held on Sunday 15th May.
  • Spring Events. Andy Ford asked for assistance from the Group for two forthcoming events - an Open Day for schools on Friday, 20th May; and a Family Fun Day on Thursday 2nd June. A briefing meeting would be held prior to these.

Meeting - March 2005.

Following reports that a Hindley councillor was seeking to turn part of the Three Sisters site into a moto-cross track, members of the group and local residents met to discuss the issues involved. The proposal was overwhelmingly rejected by the meeting on the grounds of noise, environmental pollution and public safety.

Meeting - January 2005.

  • Motorbikes. Motorcycles had been entering the site from Landgate Lane and the railway and the police were taking action.
  • Shooting. Police had also been called to apprehend someone shooting birds, including magpies and a sparrowhawk.
  • Travellers. A number of cars and caravans had arrived on Three Sisters Road on Sunday. Court action was being taken to move them on..
  • New Staff. Five new rangers had joined the team.
  • Racetrack. The site had been overcrowded last Sunday due to poor parking arrangements by the racetrack management. This had been raised with them.
  • Work Programme. Andy Ford said the rangers were still cutting back on the Kestrel path. The next project would be the fencing off of the play area by the Green Spaces Volunteers during February.
  • Friends' projects. It was agreed that these would take place on the first Sunday of each month, and would involve clearing and cutting back trees round the education pond, and improving the footpaths and boardwalks.
  • Litter. It was noted that a considerable amount of litter was gathering round the racetrack fencing again.
  • Local Access Forum. Andy Ford explained the purpose and structure of this statutory body and said that the group would be entitled to apply for a seat there.
  • Access to Wigan Flashes. It was queried whether a footpath offering access to the canal via Landgate Lane was a right of way and Andy Ford agreed to check this.
  • Events programme. Planned for this year were bat walks, and a number of children's events in the summer holidays.
  • Dropped kerbs. These were now completed.
  • Old island. It was agreed that members would astroturf the old island some time in February.

Meeting - November 2004.

Attendance was limited but the following items were discussed:

  • Notice Board. It had not been possible to provide the material for display but hoped that this could be achieved shortly.
  • November Project. With the help of the Rangers and BTCV the wildfowl island had been constructed and installed successfully. The Rangers were considering modifying the old island to upgrade it as an additional facility for the wildfowl.
  • Rangers' Report. Andy Ford reported that the recruitment process was successful and additional staff would be joining the team. Work on improving this phase of the path network had been completed and users had expressed their appreciation. A plan had been submitted for an extensive information programme incorporating waymarking, orientation maps, information panels and other features to enhance user enjoyment of the site and it was hoped that this could be implemented.
  • Picture of Change Competition. David McKendrick agreed to submit an entry to this competition based on the projects undertaken by the group.

Meeting - October 2004.

  • Friends' noticeboard. V Greenwood would be completing the text for this over the next week, to include a description of the group, its aims and news of projects and activities being undertaken.
  • Path improvements. A Ford said that the programme was now under way, and would include the main path, the path by the bird-feeding station, and the top of Kestrel path. If any material remained then this would be used to further improve the Arena path. All pathways would have margins cleared to 1m each side to aid maintenance, and this would be 'scalloped' to avoid continuous straight lines. Drainage on the site was a problem, with desire lines becoming muddy and flooded in heavy rain.
  • Friends' projects. A Ford proposed that larger scale projects be undertaken by the group over a period of time and agreed to draw up work plans. The two priorities were a) replacement of the island, and b) the management of the area of the education pond. It was agreed that the next project day would be Sunday 21st November.
  • Recruitment. Interviews for full-time rangers would be taking place early next month.
  • Voluntary work. V Greenwood had offered to assist the rangers on Xmas Day by opening and closing the gates to the park. Discussion took place on voluntary support to the work of the rangers.
  • Education Service. It was hoped to provide an educational service to local schools and the group discussed ways in which this could best be achieved.

Meeting - September 2004.

Members celebrated the first anniversary of the group, and went on to discuss the following:

  • Winter Work Programme. A Ford said the focus of work was the improvement of the main, arena and Kestrel footpaths.
  • Racetrack. Continued dialogue was taking place with the racetrack managers, particularly with regard to parking and fencing issues. Consideration was being given to the installation of speed bumps at the entrance to Three Sisters.
  • Information Panel. The group had been offered an information panel in the Visitor Centre to promote its work. It was agreed that Vic Greenwood would compile the information from the content of the website.
  • Badges. Discussion took place on whether it would be helpful if the Friends carried name badges. A Ford said there would be other issues involved, such as a code of conduct and induction. The group felt that badges were unnecessary. However, this led to discussion of the usefulness of a 'country code' for visitors to the site.
  • Projects 1. The rangers would be wood-burning in November and members would be welcome to assist. It was raised that if task days were cancelled at the last minute, it would be useful if there was a secondary general project that members could carry out unsupervised. A Ford said that he was giving consideration to having a designated area of the Three Sisters where the Friends could carry out improvements over a period of time.
  • Projects 2. It was agreed that the task day for removal of the barbed wire would be rescheduled for October 17th.

Meeting - August 2004.
  • Racetrack. A Ford reported that positive discussions had taken place with the manager, who was keen to co-operate with the Friends in resolving issues that impinged on the considerate use of the Three Sistes.
  • Formation of a formal group. Discussion took place on the advantages of this in securing funding for projects to improve the Three Sisters. However, no members expressed interest in taking on the roles of Chair or Treasurer. However, U Fry and I Crossen agreed to contact Friends of Mesnes Park to ascertain how much work would be involved.
  • Events. A Ford reported that the Treasure Hunt and Orienteering events had been very well attended.
  • Projects. Members had completed the first part of the removal of barbed wire. A further task day was agreed for Sunday 12th September at 10.30.
  • Naming of areas. The Friends had suggested it would be useful if areas of the Three Sisters were named to aid users. A Ford said that naming would probably be restricted to the paths, and the rangers would be discussing this.
  • Pollution of the lake. The rangers gave an account of the recent incursion of oil into the lake caused by the heavy rains, with some ill effects to the wildfowl. Measures to combat this in the future were being instituted.
  • Off-road motorcycling. Red Rose Forest team were conducting a survey to estimate the degree of this within Manchester. It would take place on Saturday, 4th September between 12.00 and 16.00 and incidents should be reported to

Meeting - July 2004.
  • New members. Theresa White and Viv Lee were welcomed to the meeting.
  • Racetrack. The group agreed to write to ARDS regarding inconsiderate parking blocking the main gate, litter within the arena fence, and motorcycling round the site by overnight visitors.
  • Children's events. Recent events had been fully booked and members of the group had given support to the rangers, which was appreciated. Future events were a Treasure Hunt, and Orienteering, and members were asked to again provide support while staffing at the site was limited.
  • Fundraising by Friends. A Ford would investigate the legalities of this.
  • Projects. The removal of the barbed wire fence had been deferred due to inclement weather and was re-scheduled for August 8th at 10.30. Other projects to be carried out were improvements to the dipping pond and extension of the island on the lake.
  • Antisocial activities. Friends members were asked to report times, dates and deteails of instances of motorcycling, shooting, and horseriding off the bridle path.
  • Notices. New display boards were being attached to the Visitor Centre and the Friends were offered space on one to publicise the group.
  • Site improvements. Current work by the rangers and Green Spaces included restoning the arena path and cutting back vegetation on other paths; fencing off the children's play area to exclude dogs; painting hellow hatching on the main car park at lake access barriers;and the footpath access point.
  • Formation of a formal group. A proposal that the Friends become a formally constituted group would be discussed at the next meeting.

Meeting - June 2004.
  • Fun Day. Members reviewed the event which was generally held to be a success and discussed points for next year.
  • Ranger service. It was noted that staffing was short at present, and members discussed how best they could assist the Rangers.
  • Practical project. It was agreed that volunteers would remove the barbed wire fencing on the east path on Sunday 25th July. Other projects to be considered for the future were refitting a litter bin, improvement of adjacent footpath, and installing revetments at picnic tables.
  • Site work. Several fishing pegs near the nature reserve and island are to be removed; lakeside boulders are to be concreted in to prevent erosion; the arena path is to be cut back and restoned under the Green Spaces programme; funds had been secured for improving the main path and installing signage in November; the 'minibeast' area is to fenced off; an educational programme for local children had been prepared and should be implemented in the next school year; police and community support officers had been asked to assist with the problems of youth nuisance, shooting and motorcycling/quad biking.
  • Volunteer help. To assist volunteers in helping on site it was proposed that 'Friends of Three Sisters Volunteers' badges be prepared.

  • 03/06/04
    Members of the Friends assisted at the Family Fun Day held at the Three Sisters. The event, which was well-attended, featured a range of activities, including canoeing, archery, orienteering, pond-dipping and games; and displays of chainsaw sculpture, wood-turning and birds of prey.

Meeting - May 2004.
  • Members of the group would attend the Visitors' Centre on Thursday 3rd June to assist in the Family Fun Day being held to promote the park. In particular, a display board would highlight the work of the Friends of Three Sisters.
  • A drive was being held to educate dog owners on the necessity of showing consideration to other users by not allowing their dogs to foul footpaths and play areas prior to more rigid enforcement of the law regarding dog fouling.
  • Andy Ford discussed the current priorities of the Rangers for the park.
  • Wigan Green Spaces volunteers were currently constructing a new woodland walk from the east path.
  • There had been no progress with representation on Ashton & Bryn Township Forum and it was understood that conditions of membership were under review.

Meeting - April 2004.
  • Ashton & Bryn Township Forum. Malcolm Coe, Township Manager, attended and explained the Township programme. His initial reaction was that the Friends of Three Sisters was a 'single-issue' group, but it was pointed out that the group drew together other contributors besides the users of the Three Sisters, particularly the Rangers and volunteers who undertook environmental projects around Ashton under the Green Spaces programme. As improvement of the local environment was a particular interest of both groups it was felt that both a Ranger and the representative of the group should be involved.
  • Project. The work on the lake island had had to be deferred due to birds nesting, and would be carried out later in the year.
  • Environmental Day. Andy Ford said that as part of Environmental Week the Three Sistes would have a working woodlands and family fun day on Thursday June 3rd. He asked for volunteers to assist and several came forward. The next meeting of the group would finalise plans for the day.
  • Misuse of site. Recent instances of abuse of the site by motorcyclists and horse riders were discussed. Users were asked to report incidents to the police and also notify the Rangers.
  • Ongoing projects. D McKendrick asked if a project could be identified which allowed specified volunteers to carry out environmental work unsupervised and A Ford agreed to examine this. One possible project was the improvement of the heathland area near the arena path..

Meeting - March 2004.
  • Stubshaw Cross Residents' Group. The group had secured funding to improve local footpaths linking the Harrow Inn and Golborne, and Lily Lane Farm and the Three Sisters. In addition, the funding would allow upgrading of the main path at Three sisters.
  • Project. It was agreed that volunteers would attend on Sunday to work on enlarging the island.
  • Lake improvements. Andy Ford said that further work was ongoing to improve nesting sites and reedbeds on the lake.
  • Access within Three Sisters. Discussion took place on the degree to which users could walk around the site off the footpaths. There were mixed views, but the majority recognised that if users did not keep to the paths then work to improve the woodland and meadows would not be successful due to wildflowers and saplings being damaged.
  • Visitor Centre. Improvements were in progress to enhance the facility.
  • Wigan Unitary Development Plan. D McKendrick stated that following representations, the Three Sisters Recreation Area had been included in the Tourism section of the revised draft of the Plan.
  • Ashton and Bryn Township Forum. Malcolm Coe, Township Manager, had contacted Ulrica Fry to suggest that the group selects a representative to attend the Township Forum meetings. Sue McKendrick was nominated and agreed to attend.

Meeting - February 2004.
  • Forming a formal group. A proposal was made that the group become a formal organisation in order to raise funds for larger projects. After discussion it was agreed that the present informal arrangement should continue, with the opportunity to formalise the group later if needed.
  • Group logo. John Ellis put forward his idea for a logo, which was accepted. He agreed to complete the design which would be used on promotional material.
  • Information board. Discussion took place on how to obtain an information board to publicise the site. John Ellis offered to make a suitable notice board incorporating a map of the site.
  • Practical projects. It was agreed that further work would be done by the group to enlarge and improve the island in the lake on Sunday March 14th. It was also agreed that the group would meet on Wednesday, March 3rd to construct nesting boxes.
  • Contacting the rangers. It was asked whether arrangements should be made to ensure that rangers were always available to members of the public in case of emergency. On discussion this was felt to be impractical, but suggested that the new notice board should have the contact number for the rangers' office displayed.
  • Update. Andy Ford reported on recent projects undertaken on the site, including woodland management on the outskirts of the arena area and upgrading of the footpath around the lake.

Meeting - November 2003.
  • Practical Project. The Rangers had discussed several projects which the group might find suitable: hurdle-making for the bird feeding station; stock netting at the nature reserve; installing picnic benches; improving the woodland glades where wildflowers had been planted; and creating a nesting site for the newly-arrived kingfishers. On discussion it was agreed that the group would initially work at creating the nesting site, and would meet at 10.00 am on Sunday 11th January 2004.
  • Website. David McKendrick had purchased the domain name He asked members to consider the content of the site. Ian Crossen offered to provide content on the bird population of the area and John Ellis agreed to design a logo for the group.
  • Visitor Centre. Andy Ford said that a long term aim was to have the Visitor Centre open to the public again. This might entail a combination of support from the Ranger Service and volunteers from the Friends group, but further discussion would be necessary.

Meeting - October 2003.
  • Access to Viridor Wood. Agreement had been reached to create a path along the side of the field running from the gate near the drinking trough to the Forestry Enterprise entrance barrier. It is anticipated that the work will start before Christmas. There is currently a permissive right of way across the field.
  • Litter around Racetrack area. The owners, ARDS, are open to receiving reports of problems on the site, and will litter pick on a Monday following a race meeting and occasionally Three Sisters Road.
  • Litter Bins. There are no plans to increase the number of bins on the site, which will primarily be located round the Visitor Centre.
  • Signage. Existing signage is acknowledged to be inadequate, and proposals are in hand to have a large orientation map at the Visitor Centre and waymarked trails.
  • Development Plans. In response to an enquiry it was stated that there were no current planning applications affecting the Three Sisters.
  • Bird Feeding Stations. There are no plans to extend the bird feeding sites for a number of reasons.
  • Country Park Status. The area was initially funded and designated as a Recreation Area. Country Park Status is a designated category that no longer applies to country areas.
  • Youth Issues. Concern was expressed on the cost of fishing permits for young people but a recent survey had shown that most users found prices reasonable.
  • Raising Public Awareness. It was agreed that the group would have a web page and David McKendrick agreed to provide this and to put up notices in Ashton promoting the area. There is a guided walks programme which also serves to raise awareness of the benefits of the Three Sisters to the local community.
  • Practical Projects. Sue McKendrick proposed that the group consider undertaking practical conservation tasks to help manage and improve the Three Sisters, and most of those present agreed to become involved.
  • Presssure Group. At the inaugural meeting it had been suggested that this could be one of the aims of the group, but on discussion it was agreed that this would work against the spirit of co-operation which made the group effective, and it was therefore dropped.

Meeting - September 2003. The inaugural meeting of the group took place, arranged by Ulrica Fry and Senior Ranger Andy Ford. Attending were members of the public who used the Three Sisters, staff and volunteers from the Ranger Service and the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. It was agreed that those present form a support group for Three Sisters, open to interested people, and functioning at present as an informal group. The aims of the group were agreed as fostering interest in the use of the Recreation Area, suggesting improvements to the area, liaising with the Ranger service to spread information on the area, and undertaking practical projects to effect improvements. Meetings would continue on the last Wednesday of each month.

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