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Sykes Cottages has teamed up with Lancashire Wildlife Trust to bring you a guide to some of the best locations to observe, enjoy and conserve wildlife in Lancashire. There are some great days out for the whole family, from toddlers right the way through to adult volunteers, there is something for everyone to appreciate.

1. Join a local wildlife watching group

Lancashire has several LWS’s (Local Wildlife Sites); they are wildlife-rich areas of land chosen for their local nature conservation value. Also known as Biological Heritage Sites (BHS’s), there are more than 1100 in Lancashire alone. Lancashire County Council’s LERN (Lancashire Environment Record Network) website is a great place to find a local site that’s local to you and gain more detailed information and useful facts. You can also record any wildlife sightings you encounter using the Biological Recording Centre’s iRecord app. Recent recorded sightings in the Lancashire area have included Jackdaws, Wood Pigeon, Nettle Groundbugs and Common Pugs.



2. Mere Sands Wood, Ormskirk

Mere Sands wood is a wildlife haven in west Lancashire. The reserve consists of lakes, woodlands, heaths and wet meadows, covering an area of around 105 acres. The geological and historical importance of this site is fascinating to uncover and it’s a nationally significant place for dragonflies and wildfowl. The reserve’s main purpose is to encourage wildlife but it also provides excellent facilities for members of the public to have an enjoyable visit observing the abundant wildlife.

For almost 35 years, Trust volunteers and staff have spent thousands of hours developing the site; building and maintaining Hides, footpaths and more. You can expect to see: Birch, Oak and Scots Pine trees; Red squirrels, Water Voles and Hares; over 200 species of fungi; more than 170 bird species, including Great Crested & Little Grebes and much more. This reserve also allows well behaved dogs if kept on a lead, so a perfect walk for the family plus your four legged friends. All of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s pet friendly reserves can be found on the app Bauwow.



3. Brockholes, Preston

Brockholes is a relatively new reserve; the Lancashire Wildlife Trust has been working with the site since 2007. It was once an active quarry site, supplying materials to assist with the building of sections of the M6 motorway. The Trust took on the project, along with numerous volunteers, and has transformed the landscape into a fantastic reserve that is looked after and maintained and is now an important place for wildlife.

There are several habitats to be found at Brockholes, including wetlands and woodlands. This encourages a variety of wildlife, with more than 100 different bird species spotted at the reserve in 2016 alone. Recent sightings have included Otters, Kingfishers and Bitterns. Find out more about this special site.

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4. Winmarleigh & Cockerham Moss

Lancashire’s largest mossland covers an area of around 209 acres. This low lying area has been a moss for several thousand years with most of the land being reclaimed for farming and peat digging. Lancashire Wildlife Trust purchased the remains of Cockerham Moss in 2010 and Winmarleigh Moss 2012 to try and safeguard the plants and animals. The Moss is drying out, due to drainage that’s been occurring over the past few years, meaning a loss of plant communities and less valuable birch woodland developing. The Wildlife Trust has hosted several informative sessions and discussions to educate the local population about restoration plans and address any areas of concern. Find out more about this project.

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5. The Hive, Moss Bank Park, Bolton

The Hive is a food producing project based in Bolton and is a fantastic project for the whole family to be involved in, no matter you age or ability. The Hive provides an exciting learning experience for Nature Tots (children from ages 1-5), curriculum-approved sessions for school children, events for the whole family to get involved in, plus volunteer roles, so anyone can participate.

You can learn about miniature beasts, from bugs to slugs and all the other small creatures you can find in your own garden, plus study the life of plants with interactive games and dissection. This is a unique way to encourage young children to take an interest in some of the trickier topics of science, incorporating education and enjoyment in equal measure. Find out more information about how you can get involved.

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If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Lancashire, why not visit our dedicated Lancashire Cottages page?

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