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3 accessible nature reserves you should visit

PUBLISHED: 15:59 21 October 2016 | UPDATED: 19:59 13 November 2017

Brockholes Nature Reserve by Sonia Bashir

Brockholes Nature Reserve by Sonia Bashir

Archant

Limited mobility needn’t mean missing out on nature. Here are some reserves in Lancashire and Cumbria with excellent wheelchair access.

Autumnal Path, Mere Sands Wood by Sheila Phillips Autumnal Path, Mere Sands Wood by Sheila Phillips

Mere Sands Wood

Mere Sands Wood is a wildlife-rich haven in the heart of agricultural west Lancashire. Covering 42 hectares (104 acres), the reserve’s lakes, mature broadleaved and conifer woodland, wet meadows and heaths are ideal for spotting dragonflies and wildfowl. Beginning at the car park, three of the reserve’s circular trails wind their way through the main area of the reserve, providing great access for wheelchair users. Six hides, a viewing platform and the reserve’s well-equipped visitor centre and picnic area are also fully accessible.

Brockholes Dawn by Stanley Pearson Brockholes Dawn by Stanley Pearson

Brockholes

An old quarry site, Brockholes is an amazing place to explore and see wildlife. One of the largest strips of ancient woodland in the UK can be found here, alongside large wetland areas and the beautiful River Ribble. Most of the footpaths here are level and surfaced, and the reserve’s kissing gates are accessible for smaller wheelchairs and pushchairs. If you are using a large mobility vehicle you can obtain a key to vehicle access gates by visiting the Welcome Centre.

Piel Island from South Walney by Rob Mcewen Piel Island from South Walney by Rob Mcewen

South Walney

This shingle island reserve offers stunning views across Morecambe Bay and is a fantastic place for bird watching with over 25 species known to breed on the reserve. In spring, gulls return to take up territory and male eider court females. In small areas of the dune grassland pyramidal orchid, portland spurge and heartsease pansy can be found. Take a ride on the off road ‘Tramper’ to see these fantastic sights and sounds by booking with the reserve’s warden Matthew Lipton on 01229 471600. The reserve also has disabled toilet facilities.

Before you go

Even the smoothest path or boardwalk can be rendered impassable by floods or a fallen tree, so it’s a good idea to check with the local Wildlife Trust.

Many of The Wildlife Trusts reserves are equipped with accessible paths, lifts, sensory gardens, disabled facilities and buggy hire, so nothing needs to hold you back from enjoying the great outdoors!

Wherever you live there is a Wildlife Trust that covers your area. You can support their work by joining your local Wildlife Trust today. Visit www.wildlifetrusts.org to choose the Trust you would like to join.

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