Places to see birds


Great crester grebe on Doffcocker Lodge - Holly Page

This former mill lodge turned local nature reserve is a hidden gem, tucked away between Chorley Old Road, Moss Bank Way & Markland Hill Lane.

It is a relatively small area, surrounded on 3 sides by houses and a dual carriageway on the 4th, but packs a real punch in terms of the variety of species which can be seen. The lodge is surrounded by a good quality path which is suitable for both wheelchairs & pushchairs. There are several access points with the main one being from Chorley Old Road, just north of the Hope and Anchor pub, where a lane leads to a small car park. Parking is also available on Heaton Avenue with other access points to be found on Moss Bank Way and at the traffic lights at the bottom of Old Kiln Lane (although there is no parking at the last two).

The lodge in best known in bird watching circles for its breeding common terns. Special floating rafts have been installed to allow them to nest without fear of predation and, personally, I find it amazing that they come back to this small patch of water every year.

The area also plays host to a wide variety of warblers in the spring & summer. Reed & sedge warblers breed in the reedbed at the south-western end of the lodge and grasshopper warblers can also been heard if not often seen! Willow warblers, chiffchaffs, blackcaps and whitethroats are also regular summer visitors.

The water itself supports a couple of pairs of great crested grebes as well as mallards, coots and moorhens. In the winter the number of ducks increases with tufted ducks being joined by the occasional teal, wigeon & pochard. A flock of geese are resident, these are mostly Canada & greylag but there are some others with more dubious parentage!

This is definitely a site I would recommend although I would suggest a visit early in the day as the lodge is popular with joggers and families who come to feed the geese.