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Manchester is now a thriving and vibrant city having undergone significant regeneration in recent years. Although the majority of the city is built up, there are agricultural areas to the north and south of the borough.

However, its past industrial heritage provide important post-industrial sites such as the canal network which now harbour much of Manchester's wildlife interest. Large areas of open space in the form of parks and recreation grounds are also important, as these are often the only accessible areas where the Manchester population can gain contact with wildlife. With a large proportion of the City of Manchester being built-up, urban greenspace, recreation grounds, cemeteries, disused railway lines, gardens and allotments are all important for a wide range of biodiversity. Sympathetic management of these areas provides the opportunity for some of the biggest gains for biodiversity conservation.

Semi-natural habitats still remain throughout the borough including semi-natural broadleaved woodland which can be found in small pockets across the district - some of which are ancient woodland sites as Boggart Hole Clough in the north and at Cotteril Clough, a nationally important site in the south. Rivers and canals provide important wetland habitats running through Manchester including the Rochdale Canal, which has an internationally important population of floating water plantain.