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40 initial task was to find a ‘Pulham’ expert. However, this proved futile so I ultimately assembled a small team to research the work of the Pulhams. volunteers. The good thing for us was that once we’d done the basic work, nature took over very quickly. Within 12 months, wildlife had been attracted to the area and there were even nests filled with egs. It was a remarkable transformation.” These days, John, of Parkside Crescent, runs his own consultancy business; using his considerable expertise on projects right across the UK. Thanks to his work in Wigan’s Mesnes Park, John is a respected authority on Pulham, who are best remembered for the picturesque rock gardens, ferneries, follies and grottoes they constructed during the Victorian era. “Some years earlier I had investigated a ‘lost garden’ of rock scenery and cascades at the edge of the lake in Mesnes Park. This area had been enveloped by ivy for many years, but the initial clearance work by volunteers revealed not only a recognisable ‘Pulham’ rockwork but one of real significance with noteworthy trademarks. I then worked with a small team to decide on the best practice for returning this rock scenery to its former splendour and the “It was strange to suddenly be in the position of having to make crucial decisions, but it forced me to step out of my comfort zone. Before long I had gathered enough evidence to confidently inform the restoration of the rock scenery at Mesnes Park - and true to the style and methods of the Pulhams.” “It’s a legacy for the people of Wigan” It’s clear that, even after six years since he retired from the council, John still gets a massive sense of pride for helping the area become well-known for more than positive things than grime and misery: “There’s a whole generation of people now who don’t realise what Wigan was like at one time. We’ve got parks and public open spaces which are the envy of many. “I travel all around Britain with my work and people often remind me of how great our Borough is – particularly the wildlife around the Wigan Flashes, Pennington Flash and Orrell Water Park. It’s a legacy for the people of Wigan. Nowadays, nobody on a train to Wigan talks about slagheaps and dereliction. It’s all about the sport or going shopping.
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