Sunday, May 29, 2011

Brockholes, Lancashire's newest nature reserve

Brockholes Nature Reserve

Brockholes is a brand new nature reserve owned and operated by the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside. Brockholes is easy to get to, lying just beside Junction 31 of the M6 near Preston. The reserve offers a range of habitats for wildlife including lakes and pools formed by flooding former gravel pits, an area of marshland, and is flanked by a section of the River Ribble and ancient woodland.

In the visitors centre

Canada Geese with goslings

Help! Chris on the climbing wall.

Great for wildlife and visitors alike, the Wildlife Trust has made efforts to ensure the resort has something for everyone, and families with children are well catered for. The impressive floating visitors village offers an information centre featuring interactive exhibits, a large and reasonably priced cafe/restaurant, farm and gift shops, decent toilets, and conference facilities. The modern buildings have been created using sustainable materials, and I think they look great in the environment, whilst bringing in funds to support the ongoing development and maintenance of the reserve.

Common Orchid

Meg enjoys making a crafty bee.

Damselfly

Unusual exhibit

There are walking trails of various lengths around the reserve - we just walked a short way today, up one side of Meadow Lake and back along the Ribble. The kids gave the nice playground a resounding "thumbs up", and also joined in with the indoor craft activities running this weekend. They also enjoyed an outdoor climbing wall which was visiting.

Heron Sculpture in Brockholes Visitors Centre

Holly Climbing

Kids are welcome at Brockholes

Divers from North West Model Shipwrights exhibition

Small(?) Red Damselfly

Rob and Chris enjoy the tyre swing

Rob, Chris and Holly on the giant swing

Another climber in trouble (Rob)

Rob on the tyre swing

Gravel Chute

Young Ornithologist (Rosie)

Wooden Tractor

Small White Butterfly

Boarding the floating visitors village

Although it is early days for Brockholes, and development is still underway around parts of the reserve, I'm really impressed with what has been achieved so far, and was encouraged by the unsolicited positive responses from the kids, who were genuinely enthusiastic about the wildlife we saw. We'll definitely be back regularly over the coming years, especially as the free entry and reasonable sliding-scale car park charges make it feasible to drop in for a couple of hours without breaking the bank (by contrast the Wildfowl Trust reserve at Martin Mere charges our family of seven enough admission that we only go every couple of years). I look forward to seeing Brockholes develop, and will post periodic updates here on Lost in Bowland.

Find out more at the Brockholes website.