This Easter Sunday, Lancashire Wildlife Trust will unveil Brockholes – a unique natural visitor attraction, an unreserved reserve that will capture the imagination of visitors from far and wide.
Conveniently located adjacent to junction 31 of the M6 near Preston, Brockholes features rich habitats attracting a vast array of birds, mammals and insects, many of which have not been seen in the area for years. It will also be home to the UK’s first floating visitor centre.
The site isn’t just for experts – with lakes, trails and woodlands to explore and wildlife to enjoy it will appeal to a wide range of visitors. There are information boards throughout the site and even separate family and specialist hides (so visitors can shout with excitement or watch intently).
The visitor centre, which has been awarded a BREEAM Outstanding (a measure of the building’s environmental performance), will include an education and interpretation area, a shop, children’s play area and conference facilities. There will also be a café providing stunning views across the reserve and serving a selection of Lancashire’s finest produce.
Brockholes has already started to make waves, featuring in a January edition of the BBC’s Countryfile which saw Julia Bradbury, among other things, feeding the resident herd of long horn cattle.
Alongside other partners, including Natural England, Tubney Charitable Trust and the Lancashire Environmental Fund, the project has received £8.6 million investment from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) under the Forestry Commission-led regeneration programme ‘Newlands’. It is intended that once the wetland opens to the public it will become a self-funding attraction.
It is hoped that the reserve will attract over 250,000 people annually from across the UK. It will also provide a valuable resource for local communities to use, encouraging healthy, active lifestyles and increasing interaction with the natural environment.
Anne Selby, Chief Executive of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said “Brockholes showcases how boosting the tourism economy in the region and protecting the environment can go hand in hand. We aim to take natural tourism to the next level, giving our visitors their very own natural adventure”
Nick Brook-Sykes, Director of Tourism at the NWDA, commented: “Brockholes has seen major redevelopments since the project began, and it is great to see this magnificent attraction come to its completion as the visitor centre prepares to open. I look forward to seeing visitors come from far and wide to enjoy the reserve and wish Brockholes every success in the future.”