Places to see birds

Lancashire Wildlife Trust's, Mere Sands Wood, Rufford, Lancashire

Lancashire Wildlife Trust's, Mere Sands Wood, Rufford, Lancashire
The Mere - Laura Bimson

Meresands Wood, Rufford, Lancashire

This wonderful reserve managed by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust's covers 105 acres and is made up of lakes, mature broadleaved and conifer woodland (home to a small population of Red Squirrels), sandy, wet meadows and heaths. The name 'Mere Sands' dates back to medieval times when the area was on the shore of a large lake called 'Martin Mere'. Their are 2 trails, six hides and a viewing platform around the reserve.

The visitors' centre has a small shop selling bird food, books etc and a helpful staff of volunteers who are always happy to give advice on what to see and where to look for it. A "what's about" notice board is maintained. Hot drinks and toilets on site.

Alongside the visitor centre is feeding station frequented by finches, tits, woodpeckers and on the ground Mallards and even the occasional Water Rail, the latter more frequently seen from the Lancaster hide!

The main wildlife interest at Mere Sands Wood is the over-wintering birds. Winter wildfowl populations include Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye and Goosander.
Breeding species on the reserve include Great Crested and Little Grebes, Shelduck, Little Ringed Plover Kingfisher, Reed Warbler, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper and Redpoll.

The star birds of the reserve have to be the Kingfishers regularly seen darting over the lake and the shy Bittern, hiding in the reeds or marshy areas, observable from the Rufford and Redwing hides, 3 Bitterns were present in 2012.
In all, over 170 bird species have been seen on the Reserve.

Fifteen species of dragonfly are seen regularly from May to October including ten breeding species such as Emperor, Black-tailed Skimmer and Migrant Hawker.

There are 6 fully accessible hides and three waymarked trails available to guide you to some of the Reserves' features, all of which are suitable for most wheelchair users. The White Trail is a 1.5m (60mins) circular route, which takes you through birch, oak, beech, and pine woodlands past one hide and a viewing platform. This trail is also suitable for most motorised wheelchairs. All the hides and viewing platform are wheelchair accessible. The paths around the reserve are mainly level apart from one area that has a few slopes. However this area is accessible with the new electric buggies. These are available from the Visitor Centre as is the wheelchair. There is no charge for the buggies but donations are welcome. If you are coming to the Reserve you can phone beforehand and reserve one of the buggies.

Reserve is half a mile west of Rufford on the B5246, which runs between the A59 at Rufford and A565 at Mere Brow. Look out for the Meresands cattery and kennels sign!

Admission is free but there is a car parking charge.

Further details and a plan of the site can be found at