BOLTON'S beauty spots have been gaining a national buzz as government visitors use them to learn how to make use of green spaces.

Bolton's Moss Bank Park and Smithills Estate became centre of attention on Tuesday as they were hailed as examples of what a "green future" could look like.

The two parks were in the spotlight as Permanent Secretary of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Tamara Finkelstein, insisted on visiting the projects to take a look at the innovative approaches to the environment.

The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Greater Manchester manager James Hall said: “The Permanent Secretary was interested in how we have built the Hive for a wide range of people.

"By getting people interested in gardening and wild cooking and persuading families to get outdoors, it is encouraging them to appreciate wild areas and the creatures that live there."

The Hive at Moss Bank Park was created by the Wildlife Trust to introduce people to wild places in a safe environment.

The interactive garden space offers Nature Tots, wild adventures and growing schemes.

The Hive is also the first Greater Manchester hub for the Myplace project — offering natural therapies to young people with mental health issues and steps back into work for the long-term unemployed.

Mr Hall said: “It operates without funding so we took over the café last year, with all profits going back into the park and the Hive.”

After a look around Moss Bank Park, Ms Finkelstein went down to Smithills Estate to learn about the Northern Forest and its progress.

Elsewhere in Greater Manchester, the secretary's trip saw her meet with representatives of the Urban Pioneer programme, a scheme which looks at new ways to manage the natural environment.