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Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings goes green

Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings is being carefully designed and adapted to create green spaces for new and existing species of wildlife to thrive.

Newly planted trees have come alive along both the northern boundary of the site and within the triangle of land between the railway and the mill. A nature conservation area is also thriving and was full of brightly coloured poppies this summer.

Over 30 new trees were planted by site owners, Historic England, as part of the landscaping for the Railway Triangle, as well as green shrubs along the boundary between the houses and the path that borders the Flaxmill Maltings and connects it to Greenfields and Herongate.

Nick Hill, National Conservation Projects Manager, Historic England said:

“We were delighted to receive funding from Shropshire Wildlife Trust via its EU funded Freshwater First Programme to create wildlife habitats around the Flaxmill Maltings site. Now more than ever we need to create spaces where wildlife can thrive. The trees will form a green backdrop to an improved pedestrian and cycle path and provide a habitat for birds and insects, including bees and butterflies.”

Pete Lambert, Programme Manager, Shropshire Wildlife Trust said:

“Shropshire Wildlife Trust is excited to be part of the important and exciting regeneration of the Flaxmill Maltings and to support the creation of wildlife habitats where a diverse number of species can thrive.”

In addition to the trees being planted as part of the landscaping of the car park, a woodland belt of over 20 native trees has been planted along the whole of the boundary in the area north of the historic Apprentice House. This will create extra green around the site, as well as giving the neighbouring properties more privacy as the site develops.

Historic England has also created a nature conservation area at the back of the site near the railway bridge. This area is for wildflowers to grow, and to encourage butterflies, moths and other wildlife.

The Bat House
A timber-clad building has been created for the Flaxmill Maltings bats to move into and roost in. The bat house has two habitats; one simulates an attic and the other has cellar-like conditions to make the bats feel at home. There are four roosting bat species on site: the rare Lesser Horseshoe, the Common Pipistrelle, the Soprano Pipistrelle and the Brown Long-eared bat.

Dr Nick Steggall, Associate Director, Middlemarch Environmental Ltd. said:
“Historic England is committed to sustainably restoring the unique historic buildings at the Flaxmill Maltings. It is great to see their passion for protecting the existing ecology and creating nature habitats, which ensures that the wildlife that has made the Flaxmill Maltings home over the years is able to remain in areas where they can thrive.”

The bat house was part-funded by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership via its Growth Deal with Government.

There will also be a landscaped green corridor for tenants and visitors to enjoy once the site is open, this will be approximately 10 metres wide and around 220 metres long. It will run along the line of the former Shrewsbury and Newport Canal to preserve this area in perpetuity.

The Main Mill and Kiln at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings are currently being responsibly restored for a third century of use.

Built in 1797, the Flaxmill Maltings had two centuries of use, first as a flax mill, then a maltings and also as a training centre and barracks during World War II. The saw-tooth roofed Main Mill was the first iron-framed building in the world and its pioneering iron frame was the template on which today’s skyscrapers were based.

The restoration of the Grade I listed Main Mill and the Grade II Kiln at the Flaxmill Maltings is taking place thanks to a £20.7m grant from National Lottery players through The National Lottery Heritage Fund, combined with the additional funding from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership via its Growth Deal with Government, and from project partners Historic England, Shropshire Council and the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings.

The Future
The revitalised site will become a new learning and enterprise quarter for Shrewsbury, with high quality offices for the region’s growing creative industries that will help drive the town’s renaissance as a regional economic hub, as it was when Shropshire led the way in the Industrial Revolution.

The Main Mill and Kiln at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings will open in spring 2022, with the new visitor experience and café opening on the ground floor and the top four floors available for commercial tenants.

For more information about the restoration please visit:

Header image: brown long-eared bat. Credit: © Hugh Clark