HISTORIC woodland on the Smithills Estate will be revitalised after a grant of more than £400,000 was awarded.

The Woodland Trust is leading the project to plant 130,000 new trees that will create connecting corridors for wildlife.

It will also include the revitalisation of the landscape including the moorland fringe to the lowland woodland in an attempt to provide a better quality home for thousands of animals, plants and fungi.

The grant has been provided by the Landfill Communities Fund set up by recycling and waste management firm Biffa

The Trust is also hoping to encourage social enterprises to set up on-site

Rob Jones, Biffa Group environment manager, said: "We’re delighted to support The Woodland Trust’s project, which promises to have significant benefits for wildlife across the region.

"It’s vital that we protect these beautiful natural areas for the generations to come and we’d like to encourage any groups who think they could benefit from funding to apply."

The Smithills Estate is the largest site belonging to The Woodland Trust in England with more than 1,700 acres of open countryside, streams and woodland.

The most recent restoration forms part of the Northern Forest project, which will plant trees across a 120-mile stretch of northern England over the next 25 years.

And as part of the scheme, the Woodland Trust is currently constructing a car park for visitors off Walker Fold Road.

The ecosystem at the estate has been badly affected by the Winter Hill fire.