skip to content | Accessibility Information

Environment Team homepage

You are reading…

Sustainable and Edible Campus!

The Birley Sustainability Trail is now open for everyone to visit, relax and enjoy!

Birley Campus Sustainability Trail_Page_1

MMU aims to be a University with a positive environmental impact. Birley campus is playing a major part in achieving MMU’s ambition of Zero Carbon, Zero Water, Zero Waste and Maximum Biodiversity by integrating environmental sustainability into every aspect of design.

Birley Fields Sustainability Trail, Sensory Garden and Wetland Area.

Sensory Garden Area- Lavender and thyme in bloom

Sustainable Campus

Recently the Brooks Building and the Energy Centre has achieved BREEAM Excellent certification at the post construction stages- underpinning our commitment to develop quality and sustainable buildings.

BREEAM is one of the most widely recognised environmental assessment methods and rating systems for building across the UK.

As part of this certification, MMU considered how the Birley development could be used as an educational resource for the local community, staff and students. The idea was to ensure that the campus is accessible and that visitors could learn from the environmental features of the building, systems and public realm areas– and so Birley Sustainability Trail was developed.

Birley Wetland Area- creating habitat for a range of aquatic invetebrates

Birley Wetland Area- creating habitat for a range of aquatic invertebrates

About the Sustainability Trail

Public realm works were completed at Birley last month- which means that all the areas that form part of the Sustainability Trail are now accessible. Everyone is welcome to visit the Sustainability Trail to find out more about the designs, technologies and landscaping aspects- such as an on-site Energy Centre, Wetland area, Zero Water Systems and Herb Garden.


Robert Angus Smith Energy Centre- Creates heat and power through Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems and treats borehole water

 Pick your Own

An abundance of culinary herbs grown in the Sensory Garden area are now flourishing! The area is intended for use by staff, students and local community- there will soon be ‘How to Harvest’ guidelines available by each of the herb planters to ensure the herb plants remain healthy in future years.

The Environment Team hope to create community partnerships so that the produce is utilised for learning about growing herbs and for culinary purposes.

If you are a community group and would like to harvest some of the herbs at Birley, contact the Environment Team at

The University are also working with Hulme Community Garden Centre (HCGC) to harvest much of the lavender at Birley in August, which will be used for community projects such as making lavender bags and soaps.

Herb Garden resize

Sensory Garden Area- a wealth of culinary herbs are grown here!

Birley Fields Sustainability Trail, Sensory Garden and Wetland Area.

Sensory Garden- a range of culinary herbs are grown on-site

 Apples and Pears!

Over the last 3 years, Hulme Community Garden Centre has nurtured 22 varieties of apple, pear, plum, and cheery trees for a new Community Orchard at Birley. They’ll (HCGC) be working with the University to deliver a Community Planting Day on the 21st October this year.

Volunteers from MMU and across the local community are welcome to help plant-out the fruit trees. If you would like to get involved, please email to register your interest.

Fruit TRees resize

Hulme Community Garden Centre- nurturing the fruit trees that will be planted at Birley

 Horticultural knowledge and skills

MMU and HCGC will hold seasonal workshops – spring, summer, autumn harvest and celebration and winter in the Birley Community Orchard Area. The workshops are open to staff, students and community to participate in and will allow those involved to learn about fruit tree maintenance and biodiversity at the same time as contributing towards the success of the Orchard area and making new friends.

All welcome to visit Birley Sustainability Trail!

1:00pm Monday, 29th June 2015