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Pleasington Old Hall Wood and Wildlife Garden

A narrow strip of woodland through which a stream runs from north to south.

Pleasington Old Hall Wood is a narrow strip of mixed woodland through which a stream runs from north to south.


To the north there is a Victorian walled garden which has been converted into a wildlife garden. The woodland has a healthy structure of tree, scrub and herb layers. Dense rhododendron and invasive Japanese knotweed have been removed and a variety of native trees have been planted including rowan, hazel, ash, wild cherry and alder. These will grow to support the present mixed deciduous canopy and supplement natural regeneration. Lemon-scented, broad buckler and lady fern are all found in the woodland.


Snowdrop, bluebell, wood-sorrel and pink purslane (introduced from North America) can be seen flowering in spring and the locally rare touch-me-not balsam occurs here in one of its two localities in Lancashire south of the Ribble.


The variety and varied structure of trees and shrubs provide nesting cover, and the large pond provides open water, for many species of bird. Look out for nuthatches, garden and willow warblers, thrushes, mallards and moorhens.


The walled garden, which had previously fallen into ruin, was restored and redesigned in the late 1980s to demonstrate wildlife gardening techniques. Its sheltered aspect and high temperature ensures that the garden is attractive to insects, especially butterflies and dragonflies. Successful management encouraged up to twelve species of butterfly and seven species of dragonfly.


The four central meadow beds are managed as hay meadows.


Further habitat diversity was provided by a creating a pond, and establishing tall herb (nettles, rosebay willowherb, etc.) and hedgebank communities alongside the more traditional ornamental garden areas. Flowering plants were introduced into the walled garden specifically to encourage wildlife. Greater spearwort, water soldier and fringed water-lily, have been planted in the pond to create a desirable habitat for aquatic insects and amphibians to breed in.


Buddleia and nettles are ideal plants for peacocks, small tortoiseshell and red admiral butterflies, while creeping thistle was retained for painted lady butterflies. Jack-by-the-hedge and cuckooflower have been planted in the eastern part of the garden to attract breeding orange tip butterflies, whose caterpillars feed on these plants.


Pleasington is one of our reserves that allows well-behaved dogs on leads. Our dog-friendly reserves are featured on Bauwow, a brilliant app where pooch lovers can find great places for their pets. Click on the Bauwow logo for more details.

Species and habitats

Meadow, Woodland

Nearby nature reserves

Willow Farm Wood Nature Reserve
4 miles - The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside
Brockholes Nature Reserve
5 miles - The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside
Boilton, Nab, Redscar and Tunbrook Woods
5 miles - The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Old Hall Lane Pleasington (2 miles west southwest of Blackburn city centre, off the A674 Chorley Road)
Map reference
SD 646270
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Opening Times
Open at all times
4.00 hectares
Reserve manager
John Haddon
Tel: 01772 324129