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250 acre Nature Reserve
Hundreds of species
Lots of sighting spots
Dog free zone

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 has 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.

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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. 

Meadow Lake

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 Cuckoo flower.

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.

Kirsten Platt

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.

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.


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.

Geoff Kennedy