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With 354 recorded bird species, native mammals such as red deer and otters, and millions of creepy crawlies that include tiger moths and common lizards, Lancashire’s wilder side offers up some great days out.
Watch the Birdie –
Forget dark and drafty bird hides, the brand new hide at Brockholes nature reserve near Preston gives a 21st Century spin to these often intimidating spaces. With floor to ceiling glass visitors of all ages can see the birdlife on No 1 Pit Lake and the new Sand Martin wall, which will be particularly active when the birds arrive to breed in the spring. The pit lake is home to different species of native and migrant birds. Look out for the little ringed plover, a species protected by law, which nests on the ground and can be very difficult to see.
Awesome Watch –
In the far north of the county, RSPB Leighton Moss and Morecambe Bay Nature Reserve, is now well known since it became a regular location for BBC Autumnwatch. Its permanent residents include deer, otters and bats, but it’s the migratory birdlife that’s a real treat, the most popular being the starling murmurations during the autumn as they swoop and dart over the bay.
Incredible Journeys -
WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre at Burscough has come a long way since it first opened back in 1975. Would you believe that when the site was originally bought in 1972 there wasn’t a single tree on the entire 363 acre site and it took just 3 years to become a site of International Importance for birdlife? Or what about the fact that the visitor centre took only three weeks to build and doesn’t contain a single nail!
Numbers of pink-footed geese have risen from 30,000 to 100,000 in 40 years and whooper swan numbers have risen from literally none to 2,000 today.
WWT Martin Mere introduced mammals to the reserve back in 2007 and so its also now home to a family of beavers and otters. Daily talks and feeding give you the chance to see the lively otters in action.
The Wild Walk at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre takes you on an exciting journey through muddy meadow, wet woods and reedy routes. Aimed at younger visitors, this new walk takes you to ‘wild’ areas of the reserve that have previously only been accessed by the wildlife itself. Don’t forget your wellies!
Wildside at Brockholes near Preston is an outdoor school holiday group for 8- 14 year olds offering wildlife talks and bird identification workshops as well as more muddy activities like den building and fire lighting. Suitable outdoor clothing is a must.
Keeper Kids at Blackpool Zoo lets animal fans aged 8-11 get hands on with animal grooming, elephant feeding and ‘poo’ picking – whilst learning the basics of animal care.
Go Ape at Rivington might not involved animal interaction but it gives your kids (and you) the chance to behave like little monkeys. For aged 10 and over.