Wildlife Hot Spots

Forest of Bowland wildlife hot spots


Visitor´ Centre with bird feeding station through one way glass, woodland and reservoir walks

Haslingden Grane

Three large Reservoirs rich in birdlife, also woodland and moorland walks, visitor centre

Cuerden Valley Park

Small broadleaved and mixed woodlands, bluebells spring.

Withnell Fold Nature Reserve

Main habitats are woodland/scrub, a pond and acidic grassland bird watching hide and a pond dipping platform.

Longton Brickcroft Nature Reserve

Wetland nature reserve Visitor centre with parking disabled facilities and tapes for partially sighted available. Check opening times before visiting.

Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve

Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve(NNR)is the most important site in the UK for wintering wildfowl. The Reserve occupies over half of the Ribble estuary, including extensive areas of mud and sand flats and is one of the largest saltmarsh habitats in England. Several access points see PDF leaflet for details

Pleasington Old Hall Wood and Wildlife Garden LNR

The LNR is a narrow strip of mixed woodland with streams running through northwest to southeast. In the northwest corner, a Victorian walled garden was redesigned as a wildlife garden in the late 1980s. County Wildlife Site (Biological Heritage Site)

Lytham St Annes

Sand dunes. Parking,footpaths. Isle of Man cabbage and the Dune Helleborine. Info centre.

RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre

An interpretive centre which explains why the Ribble Estuary and the Fylde peninsula are so important to birds and other wildlife. Situated at Fairhaven Lake a man made lake that has attracted some rarities in the past. Also easy access to dunes. Lots of parking

Hesketh Out Marsh

This new saltmarsh reserve is a great place to admire the gathered pink-footed geese, wigeons, teals and other wildfowl in winter, along with big flocks of wading birds like golden plovers, lapwings and black-tailed godwits. In spring displaying waders, including avocets and lapwings.

Howick hall wood

A semi-natural woodland and contains two ponds.

Foxhill Bank LNR

Hidden away in a shallow valley in the heart of Oswaldtwistle, Foxhill Bank LNR is historically linked to past industry involving a Calico Print Works, as well as providing an excellent urban site for wildlife and people. The LNR boasts young and mature woodland,scrub, two lodges, Tinker Brook and grassland. County Wildlife Site (Biological Heritage Site)

Fishwick local nature reserve

Natural escarpment overlooking the flood plain of the River Ribble, Adjacent to the Ribble Way and cycle routes the reserve covers an area of approximately 24 ha.

Blackpool South Beach and Lytham St Annes LNR

Artificial Rock Pools. Parking close by on Blackpool promnade. Lytham St Annes Local Nature Reserve parking at North Beach Car Park paths criss-cross the site bio-diverse wet dune slacks and dune grassland.


Brockholes is a new nature reserve, with the UKs first floating Visitor Village and is home to a diverse range of breeding and wintering species, and is already one of the finest sites for bird watching in the North West. The variety of birdlife includes Lapwing, Sand Martin and Kingfisher, together with more vulnerable species such as Whimbrel, Skylark and Reed Bunting. The site is also home to badgers, bats, dragonflies and damselflies.

Deer Pond LNR

A pond and surrounding habitat in the grounds of Towneley Park supporting frogs, toads and newts, dragonflies and damselflies. The pond is fringed by a good example of marginal vegetation which includes Bulrush, Water Horsetail & Reed Canary-grass together with forget-me-not, Brooklime, Yellow Flag & Water Mint. A variety of trees & shrubs are also present.

Lowerhouse Lodges LNR

A diverse site comprising two lodges one of which is used for angling, swamp and marsh vegetation, riverside habitats, plantations, wet willow woodland, scrub, tall herb and grassland areas and a hay meadow. County Wildlife Site (Biological Heritage Site)

Boilton wood

Sycamore and wych elm dominate the remaining woodland. Although it has suffered from Dutch Elm Disease, the elm is regenerating well. Ash, oak, gean (wild cherry), hazel and holly are also present. Spring is the best time to visit. Bluebells and lesser celandine, with ferns and wood avens emerging during the summer. Towards the bottom of the slope, in marshy areas crossed by boardwalks, are yellow iris, marsh marigold and meadowsweet.

Marton Mere

Open water, reed beds, grassland,woodland and scrub. Footpaths. Bird watching hides. Dragonflies, butterflies, bats and orchids.

Alston Wetland

A small wildlife reserve created by United Utilities and the RSPB?s Bowland Wader Project on the footprint of an old reservoir.

Spring Wood Whalley

Semi-natural ancient woodlland. Bluebells and wild garlic in spring.

Wycoller Country Park

Wooded valley. Moorland. Owls, bats, frogs in spring. Dippers and kingfishers.

Kincraig Lake Ecological Reserve

Mere with good duck population and Grey Herons nesting

Skippool Creek

Mudflats and banks are a feeding area and nocturnal roost for waders and wildfowl. Also saltmarshes. Large public car park.

Princes Promenade Little Bispham

General beachcoming and seabird observation. Free car parking nearby.

Wyre Estuary Country Park

Parking, toilets, visitor centre. Mudflats, reedbeds. Butterflies.

Barnabys Sands and Burrows Marsh

Ungrazed salt marsh. Overwintering waders.

Fleetwood Marsh Nature Park

Three lagoons freshwater, and brackish. The site supports a rich collection of wildflowers and UK BAP priority habitats.

Rossall Point

Provides year round interest access from the promenade or follow footpath along the edge of Fleetwood Golf Course. Note - golf course is private. Parking is available at car parks, opposite Rossall Hospital, north end of Fleetwood Golf Course and Marine Hall, Fleetwood.

Pilling Marsh

Lane Ends Picnic Area Car Park at the edge of the marsh overlooking Morecambe Bay and the Lune Estuary, supports one of the biggest trans-migrant and overwintering populations of wading birds in Britain. Has been designated a Ramsar wetlands site and also a (SSSI).

Winmarleigh Moss

Lowland Bog. No public access to the site but has a public footpath running along one side. Parking dificult.

Fluke Hall

Estuarine, salt marsh, farmland


Saltmarsh for waders, views across Morecambe Bay

Sunderland Point

Sunderland Point and the adjacent Middleton Sands (SSSI) are together one of the richest bird watching areas in the North of England. Given the right timing and state of the tides, a spectacle of up to 50000 birds can be almost guaranteed. Also close by Sunderland Marsh (SSSI). Parking available. NOTE at high tide the road in and out is flooded.

Web site: Sunderland Point

Glasson Dock and Conder Green

Estuary of the River Lune where many interesting and contrasting birds and plant species may be seen

Heysham Nature Reserve

Heysham Nature Reserve consists of a wide variety of habitats including open water, reedbed, marsh, Gorse and Hawthorn scrub, acid and neutral grasslands, heath and tree and shrub plantations. The variety of habitats has produced a great variety of flowering plants: 215 species recorded including Bee Orchid and Yellow-wort. These in turn produce the number and variety of butterflies and day-flying moths which are such a feature of the reserve in summer. The 21 species of butterflies include some local or uncommon ones such as Small Skipper, Grayling and Small Copper. Butterfly numbers - especially Common Blue - can be spectacular. Over 200 species of moths have been recorded. The reserve is also important for its dragonflies and damselflies.

Heysham Moss Nature Reserve

Consists of a variety of habitats including areas of woodland and scrub, wet grassland and most importantly the central area of raised bog. The Reserve is the second best example of a cut-over raised bog in the county after Winmarleigh Moss. While the core area is relatively unmodified, the periphery has been affected by past peat cutting and drainage. The reserve is of considerable botanical interest with the central part of the bog still supporting a number of characteristic bog species, including Round Leaved Sundew, Bog Myrtle, Bog Rosemary, Bog Asphodel and the locally rare White Beaked Sedge. The site also holds a number of important mosses and liverworts.

Aldcliffe and Freemans Pools

Mosaic of interconnected pools, ponds and other wetland habitats supporting breeding birds, wintering waders and wildfowl, otter and a range of wetland and grassland invertebrates. Created after the digging of borrow pits for the Lower Lune flood alleviation scheme.Supports breeding birds such as sedge warbler and reed bunting, oystercatcher and little ringed plover, wintering waders including snipe and Jack snipe, and wildfowl including teal and shoveler, goldeneye and gadwall. Wintering smew have also been recorded on the reserve, as well as passage migrants such as black-tailed godwit and green sandpiper.

Grass Wood

Extremely rich and varied ground flora. Grass Wood is a good place to see birds such as nuthatch, treecreeper, blue, coal and marsh tits, woodcock, a variety of warbler and great spotted woodpecker.

The River Lune (Lancaster to Kirby Lonsdale)

Riverside birds. Upland river, pasture and woodland.

Silverdale and Arnside AONB

Morecambe Bay (Hest Bank)

Birds, saltmarsh and sandflats, Nature trails, hides.

Over Kellett Pond

0.5ha. Wetland with boardwalk and interpretation board.

Silverdale and Arnside AONB

Warton Crag

Nationally important area of limestone habitat including grassland, woodland and limestone pavement, supporting some of Britains rarest butterflies, including Peal Bordered Fritillary and High Brown Fritillary, as well as an array of other rare invertebrates and plants.

Silverdale and Arnside AONB

Leighton Moss

Largest remaining reedbed in north-west England. Bitterns, Egrets, Marsh Harriers, overwintering wildfowl.

Silverdale and Arnside AONB


Limestone pavement and the limestone grassland ? may be seen, along with a remarkable variety of ferns and flowering plants.

Trowbarrow Quarry

Disused limestone quarry. Limestone grassland, scrub and woodland. Many interesting plants. Orchids. Parking.

Silverdale and Arnside AONB

Gaits Barrow

High Brown Fritillary and Duke of Burgundy butterflies. Orchids. Limestone pavement.

Silverdale and Arnside AONB

Grubbins Wood

Yew, Lancastrian whitebeam, hart?s tongue fern, red wood ant.

Silverdale and Arnside AONB

Hale Moss

Once a large freshwater lake this unusual wetland habitat. Between the tussocks of bog rush and purple moor-grass a number of rare species can be found. A speciality of the site is the delicate bird?s-eye primrose which flowers in May. Wild columbine, early and northern marsh orchid, grass of Parnassus and fragrant orchid also grow on the open mire area.

Meathop Moss

One of the best remaining examples of a raised mire in south Cumbria. The nature reserve is very rich in invertebrate life. Over 200 species of butterfly and moth have been recorded.

Hutton Roof Crags

Hutton Roof Crags contains some of the best areas of limestone pavement in Britain, which harbour a wealth of unusual plants and animals. Pavement occurs in a mosaic with woodland, scrub, grassland and heath.

Foulshaw Moss

Foulshaw Moss raised mire red deer frequent the moss and in summer common lizards can be seen. Adder and slow worm may occasionally be encountered. Breeding birds include tree pipit, reed bunting, snipe and barn owl.

Ingleborough NNR

Ingleborough NNR is renowned for the wildlife and geology of its limestone pavements and other limestone features.

Malham Tarn

The reserve consists of 147 hectares and is one of the best places to see a natural lime-rich lake (the tarn), blanket bog, fen, willow carr and purple moor-grass and rush pasture.


Malham Cove, Watlows and Gordale Scar. Classic examples of Limestone Karst geology and associated wildlife. The Cove is also noted for its peregrine falcons.


Coastal reserve, visitor centre, hides and a viewing platform. Avocets and other waterfowl.

Web site: Marshside

Preston Junction Local Nature Reserve

The Preston Junction Local Nature Reserve is a former railway line, rich in wild flowers and butterflies, attractive to birds and providing habitats for mammals. In addition it is an important link interconnecting the different wildlife habitats of the area.

Healey Dell LNR

Healey Dell is one of the most important clough woodlands in the area, situated along the steep-sided valley of the River Spodden. Other habitats include heathland, grassland and scrub along the river, former mill lodges and part of the disused Rochdale to Bacup railway line. There is a Friends of group. County Wildlife Site (Biological Heritage Site in Lancashire, Site of Biological Importance in Manchester)

Mere Sands Wood

Mere Sands Wood is a wildlife-rich haven in the heart of agricultural west Lancashire. The reserve covers 42 hectares (105 acres) and is made up of lakes, mature broadleaved and conifer woodland, sandy, wet meadows and heaths. The management of the reserve is designed not only to encourage wildlife, but also to provide facilities for people to visit and enjoy seeing the wildlife. The site is nationally important for wildfowl and dragonflies, as well as its geology.

Yarrow Valley Country Park

Mill lodges and water courses nature trails visitor centre.

Longworth Clough

An outstanding mosaic of woodland, wetland and grassland, rich in wildlife. The complex drainage of the site is not well understood but the resultant ground water seepages produce patches of flush-mire, supporting yellow iris, common spotted orchid, bog asphodel and sneezewort; and areas of alder and willow carr, supporting great horsetail, marsh marigold, and opposite-leaved golden saxifrage. Sessile oak woodland dominates the drier slopes. Acid grassland on the steeper slopes supports heath bedstraw and tormentil.

Martin Mere

Birds, wetland and visitor attractions. Entrance fee for non-members.

Web site: Martin Mere

Ainsdale Discovery Centre and Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve

Way-marked paths through dunes, beach and woodland habitats.

Rivington/Anglezarke Reservoirs

Reservoirs and woodland Parkland. Close by is Rivington Country Park and moorland.

Formby Point, Cabin Hill NNR and Ravenmeols Local Nature Reserve

Classic coastal succession, with intertidal sand flats and embryo dunes grading into mobile yellow dunes, then fixed vegetated dunes with wet dune slacks. As well as these habitats the reserve also includes areas of flower-rich grassland, dune pasture and mixed woodland.

Freshfield dune heath

35ha mixture of lowland dune heath, acidic grassland, woodland and scrub. The single largest lowland heath site in Lancashire. 17ha of dune heath comprise 9% of the national total of this very rare habitat. Heather, Sand Sedge, Wavy Hair-grass and Sheeps Fescue are the dominant vegetation but a number of other specialist plants occur, including Heath Grass, Heath Rush, Birds-foot, Heath Bedstraw and Narrow Buckler-fern. 250 plant species recorded. Gorse forms an integral part of the heathland landscape; willow scrub is scattered throughout. Woodland predominantly birch and pine. The ancient Wham Dyke drains the site, flowing inland into Downholland Brook.

Gorse Hill Nature Reserve

Ponds, wetlands, meadows and woodlands. Limited opening hours.

Alkincoates Woodland LNR

Alkincoates Woodland is largely a relatively recent broadleaved plantation but there is a mature stand of Beech trees alongside Red Lane on the northern boundary. A variety of trees and shrubs have been planted and small ponds, wetland areas and wildflower-rich rides provide a variety of habitats for insects, mammals and birds.

Lomeshaye Marsh LNR

A mosaic of habitats including ponds & swamp, trees & scrub, species-rich grassland & riverside banking, on the site of a former sewage works. A timber building with a turf roof & a bird hide has been constructed but is only open by prior arrangement c/o Pendle ommunity High School, Oxford Road, Nelson. Surprisingly for such a small site, a Bittern roosted in the swamp in winter 1997. County Wildlife Site (Biological Heritage Site)

The Arran Trail LNR

A wildlife corridor associated with Knuzden Brook and supports a range of habitats including hedges, broadleaved plantations, tall and short grassland areas, patches of heather and three ponds, which have developed into a significant wildlife area. The Wildlife Trust has worked with the local community to improve the area and encourage use by local schools.

Darwen Parkway LNR

The River Darwen Parkway is a large open space within an urban setting, rich in industrial history and now a haven for wildlife with a mosaic of habitats including woodland, scrub, heath, and grassland with ponds and marshes. County Wildlife Site (Biological Heritage Site in Lancashire)

Greenfield Road LNR

Situated on the slopes and floodplain of Colne Water. A mill leat and pond are surviving features from its past industrial use in supplying water to a large cotton mill downstream. Today the site supports woodland & scrub, grassland, wetland and tall ruderal vegetation. A sewage treatment works on the other side of the river attracts a variety of birds, which also visit the LNR or can be seen from the site.

Quarry Hill LNR

Quarry Hill was landscaped in 1989 following its use as a quarry up to the 1950s and then a landfill site from 1962-82. Over 6,000 trees and shrubs were planted. The nature reserve now supports a range of habitats including woodland and scrub, wildflower meadows, mown grassland, the top of a quarry face, ditches and marshy areas.

Sunnyhurst Woods LNR

Sunnyhurst Woods support mature broadleaved woodland and patches of coniferous woodland together with specimen trees, wet woodland, acidic grassland and streamside habitats in a steep clough on both sides of Sunnyhurst Brook. Much of the woodland is ancient semi-natural and it is one of the most accessible ancient woodlands in Lancashire. County Wildlife Site (Biological Heritage Site in Lancashire)

Dean Wood

A deep narrow wooded clough typical of those found on the West Pennine Moors. Dean Wood is an impressive site; this deep, narrow, wooded clough is typical of those found on the West Pennine Moors. has an unusually rich variety of flora for the West Pennines area perhaps because it has experienced relatively little disturbance for many decades. 69 species of bird have been recorded on site many of which are known to breed in the wood.

Haskayne Cutting Nature Reserve

Seasonal open water, marsh, acid and calcareous grassland (a rare combination in this part of Lancashire) scrub and Keuper sandstone outcrops are all found on this reserve. More than 172 vascular plants have been recorded in the cutting with four different species of marsh orchid in the northern-most section and numerous mosses, liverworts and ferns contribute to the attraction for visiting humans and wildlife. All year round damp conditions are ideal for alder, with grey and goat willow dominating the rest of the site. Silver and downy birch, hawthorn and elder grow in the drier sections.

Middleton Nature Reserve

This brownfield nature reserve occupies a former industrial site that fell into disuse around 40 years ago. Since then, the footprints of old industrial structures and the surrounding land have developed a valuable mosaic of ponds and associated wetland habitats, scrub, fen and grassland. The ponds support a regionally important assemblage of dragonfly species, including red veined darter, black-tailed skimmer and emperor, as well as a large population of great crested newt.

Willow Farm Wood Nature Reserve

Formerly an area of semi-improved pasture replanted with a mix of tree and shrub species.

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