Places to see birds

The Coach Road & Siding Lane Nature Reserve

The Coach Road & Siding Lane Nature Reserve
farmland- laura bimson

The Coach Road runs between Barrow Nook/ Bickerstaffe and the East Lancashire Road near to Kirkby, it is a private estate road with a public footpath and permissive access along its route. The landscape is one of mixture of mossland farming and plantations of woodland comprising of a mixture of birch, conifer, sycamore with others. Now well drained there are still wetter areas in the area the dampest being in the north west area lying below the railway (Kirkby/ Wigan ).

Many birds which are decreasing in other areas are still doing well here, including skylark, yellowhammer, corn bunting and grey partridge are regularly seen and lapwing still display in the spring. Good numbers of several species of finches and tits roam the area, with large flocks collecting in winter. An under recorded area the possibility of something more exotic being seen is well within bounds. Raptors are regular passage migrants across the mosses and various harriers and falcons are recorded throughout the year along with the ever increasing common buzzard. Yellow wagtails breed amongst the crops near to Mossborough Hall an area were little owls were seen regularly in the past. Long eared owls have also roosted during the winter near the plantation now used for paintball games. During the winter several thousands of pink-foot geese can be watched moving around and feeding in the area. 

Red squirrels have been recorded several times over the last few years and seem to be widely if thinly spread over the whole area. A good area for invertebrates, with the orange underwing moth likely to be found in the birch plantations.

Siding Lane local Nature Reserve   
Siding Lane is the former site of the Rainford Colliery - opened 1860 closed 1928. The site is managed by the St Helens Ranger service and volunteer conservation groups. Guided walks and events are held throughout the year, departing from the Ranger centre on site. 
The site is mixed woodland and rough grassland managed to provide the best habitat for its many Birds, Butterflies and Small Mammals.  
Surrounding the Reserve is farmland, many of the fields have uncut set aside strip margins where wildlife flourish. Berry bearing shrubs and trees have been planted on the farm borders, (Coach Rd) and steep ditches run along side. In autumn typical birds you might see feeding on this bounty include Goldfinch, Long tailed Tit and their cousins, Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Robin, Linnets, Blackbird and the ever vigilant Sparrowhawk, sweeping through the ditches & woodland. Overhead Buzzard and Harriers can now be seen soaring, calling and being mobbed by crows! 

The reserve is a haven for wildlife, and a lovely place for an afternoon walk. Many wildflowers have been planted on the reserve such as Bluebell, Primrose, Forget- me-not and Foxglove, enhancing the scenery through spring and summer and providing nectar for Meadow Brown, Orange - Tip, Common Blue and Speckled Wood Butterflies.
In Autumn you may find various types of Fungi including the unmistakeable Fly Agaric - please don't touch though, as it's potentially harmful.
Small mammals found in this area include Bank and Field Vole, Shrew and Pygmy Shrew.

There is a pond on the reserve, a fine breeding ground for frogs and toads, and on the margins dragonflies such as Ruddy darter and Southern Hawker as well various damselflies. Anglers can fish for Carp, Perch, Bream, Roach, Tench and other breeds, by seasonal permit only.

Rainford Village lies to the north east with a number of footpaths heading in that direction, Siding Lane local Nature Reserve / St. Helens M.B.C. lies just off the A570 Rainford by-pass and is easily reached from the Coach Road.

Coach Rd Access - From Kirkby starting from the roundabout at SJ 437974 near to Acorn Field Plantation LNR. Access at the northern end is via the gates near to Barrow Nook. From Barrow Nook to Kirkby is a distance of approximately 7 km but a number of shorter circular routes can devised from the various access points.
Car parking is on road either at Barrow Nook or Kirkby.

St Helens Ranger Service:
01744 815586 / 01744 677772