The Changing Face of Nature Reserves
For years, parents of young children have walked into bird watching hides hoping to show them amazing views of wild life up close, only to be confronted by silent rows of green or camouflage clad bird watchers. These serious bird watchers are loaded down with thousands of pounds worth of telescopes, binoculars and cameras, with lenses like medieval canons. At the slightest, sound these dedicated "birders" would 'tut tut', shake heads, or glare at the children, frightening them away from bird watching, perhaps for years.
No more! The Wild Life Trust for Lancashire is opening its new reserve at Brockholes, alongside Junction 31 of the M6 motorway, to welcome families to a close up view of nature. There are special family hides where laughter and excitement will be the order of the day, with reserve guides available to help identify the birds for those who want to know. The site has been designed with a cafe to satisfy the hungry man with affordable meals, picnic and play areas, restrooms and shops which are all within easy reach of the parking lot. Opening day on Easter Sunday will offer a brass band, face painting and mini beast hunts to keep everyone entertained.
As a volunteer reserve guide and walk leader, I have just walked one of the many nature trails around the flooded gravel pits, which have been transformed into a haven for resident and migrating water birds. Bordered by ancient woodland dating back to the sixteenth century and the River Ribble, tidal at this point, the site is considered a coastal reserve and attracts over 100 species of birds and will become a magnet for keen birdwatchers