How we look after Brockholes

Brockholes was once an active quarry site, supplying much of the materials to build large sections of the M6 motorway.

Since 2007, The Lancashire Wildlife Trust have been working to create a mosaic of habitats at Brockholes, working with the Landscape left behind from the quarrying. Along with our army of dedicated volunteers, and thanks to the income generated from our visitors, we are able not only to look after the reserve, but to help it grow and become a key site for wildlife.

There is a mix of habitats at Brockholes, from wetlands to woodlands and this helps attract a wide range of wildlife.

Happy habitats at Brockholes

The Lancashire Wildlife Trust are using their expertise to create habitats that will encourage lots of different species to visit the site. Read all about the latest sightings on the reserve by clicking here.

Number 1 Pit

Uniform and steep, the edges around the original gravel pit used to look very different. The island looked different too – an egg-shaped piece of land sticking out of the water by three metres.

These land profiles weren’t great for the bird species and aquatic invertebrates we wanted to attract.  So, with bulldozer and digger we pushed earth into the lake to create shallow, underwater ledges and peninsulas where birds can roost and feed, safe from predators. Diving ducks now use the lakes to forage for aquatic vegetation and invertebrates, and Great Crested Grebe hunt for fish in the deeper water.

Nook Pool

The edge of this pool has been planted with reed to create places for small fish and aquatic invertebrates like dragonfly larvae to hide and grow, away from predator fish. The shelter provided by the vegetation provides an ideal hunting ground for lots of species of dragonfly including the impressive Brown Hawker and Emperor Dragonfly.

Meadow Lakeblog #2

This shallow lake is great for bird watching: when the water level is down, wading birds feed on small invertebrates in the exposed mud. This lake has some of the
richest water plant life in and around it, including White Water Lily and Cuckooflower. The reed fringes are becoming well established and hold some of the largest populations of birds on site. The islands provide safe roosting and breeding areas, we keep the vegetation short so the birds can watch out for predators.

Boilton Marsh

This area is part of our newly created wet grassland habitat. We remodelled 17,000 cubic metres of quarry spoil to create 10 hectares of wet grassland with nearly 2km of channels and five pools. This is the ideal habitat for breeding wading birds such as Lapwing, Redshank and Snipe. We now graze traditional breeds of cattle and sheep that thrive on the coarse grasses and rushes and provide the low grassland sward that encourages wading birds to nest.

The channels and pools are kept topped up by using a high-level reservoir, filled from Number One Pit by way of a solar pump.


Brockholes is fringed by the ancient woodland of Boilton, Red Scar and Tunbrook Woods. Woodland has grown here for thousands of years and developed a very rich variety of wildlife. Looking after our trees and paths will help the woodland to thrive and enable you to see the wildlife safely.

Reedbedslandscape - Geoff Kennedy

Reedbeds are home to Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings and Water Rail. We protect the new reed from grazing birds like Coot, Mute Swan and Canada Goose, by erecting chicken wire fences and baling string barriers. It will take several years before our lak fringes start to look like reedbeds. You might notice that the Visitor Village has been nestled in reedbed. This helps it to blend into the reserve and allows you to hear the song and chatter of the birds that nest there.