If you go down to the woods today...

If you go down to the woods today...

Conny Brandt

One of the most interesting parts of my job, working for Lancashire Wildlife Trust, is introducing our members to the various projects we have across our region.
Rachel Cripps and Molly

There are so many different things going on, from restoring mosslands and marine life, to butterflies conservation and generally keeping all things wild and happy. Every time I think I have an idea of the extent of the Trusts work, I scratch another surface and a whole new world opens up.

This week I got to the seaside, but instead of heading for all the queues for National Trust land by the beach, my destination was a hidden treasure slightly inland at our reserve at Freshfield Dune Heath. I was there to meet Molly, a super keen young lady who is about to start our Kestrel Award. We run awards to harness the energy and enthusiasm of future David Attenboroughs and they really are a lot of fun.

Rachel Cripps, Molly, and Clare Sweeney

Anyway, Molly’s nuts about squirrels so we were there to meet our Red Squirrel officer, Rachel, to learn all about our endangered native reds. The coast near Formby is a little hot spot for reds but this is definitely down to all the hard work that Rachel and her volunteers put into looking after them. It’s thought that if the project wasn’t there, then we’ lose our reds in this area in less than a year. It’s a real challenge especially as funding for many projects are under pressure in this tough economic climate.

On a brighter note, Molly got to see the red squirrel run that’s used before orphaned young reds learn to climb, feed and fend for themselves before being released back into the wild. We also stood under a tree and were actually pelted with munched cones that a hungry squirrel was feasting on high up in the trees.

Molly and Sheep at Freshfield

It was another hot morning and Rachel told us that squirrels have been feeling the heat and so they  are most active at sunrise then spend the hottest part of the day napping up in the trees. With that in mind, we decided to take Molly on a tour of the rest of the reserve. 

We bumped into Mike, our Merseyside Reserve Officer, and met up with our natural grazers, a team of Bagot and Golden Guernsey goats who keep our heathland from becoming overgrown. We also saw some of our volunteers managing patches of ragwort, home to cinnabar moth caterpillars but a bit of a menace if it’s allowed to take over the reserve. Basically there was a lot going on around Freshfield Dune Heath.

Molly at Freshfield

If you’d like more information about volunteering, making a donation to support our projects or how to participate in our awards, do let our team know, email Lancashire Wildlife Trust at membership@lancswt.org.uk, we’re always happy to hear from you.