In 2007 we transformed 825 square metres of our flat roofing into the first living roof of its kind in the UK.
Initially the roof was laid with a mixture of sedum (small low moisture plants), wetland (a pond with water plants) and brownfield (rubble left to self-colonise). During the first few years over 20 species colonised the brown roof, wildflowers were sown and the pond had attracted a variety of birds and insects. The sedum flourished and was alive with bees in the summer time.
The roof has created a variety of habitats, increased local biodiversity and made our building part of Chorlton's network of green spaces, as well as insulating us in the winter.
Here’s a short video showing the roof's creation and its first few months here….
In 2014 our building underwent a large scale renovation. Once work was complete, parts of the roof were rejuvenated with top soil where the sedum had died back and an array of native plant species were replanted. Elsewhere on the roof the sedum and brown roof continues to thrive.
The roof was part of a Manchester-wide project, Make Room for Black Redstarts, aiming to create ‘stepping stones’ of suitable habitat for the black redstart, a small robin-like bird which breeds only in cities and, due to loss of habitat because of widespread inner city regeneration, is now rarer than the Golden Eagle. The brownfield element of the roof has been designed to provide ideal habitat for the redstart, so keep your eyes open!
These are some photos of the roof today…
(Please click to view larger photo)
Black Redstart habitat requirements -
Proximity to open water e.g. canals (or our pond!) that provides midge, gnat and other insect food.
Areas of sparse 'wasteland' vegetation and stony ground necessary for
Vertical features that correlate to the cliff faces and open gorges of
A variety of holes and ledges, preferably within structures, to build