Luena Archibald, from Penwortham, Preston, was the one in a million and has been awarded a Lifetime Visitor Pass after she was welcomed to The Lancashire Wildlife Trust nature reserve by staff and volunteers.
Ms Archibald is a regular visitor to the reserve with her children Chloe, nine and Luke, four and is delighted that she will be able to visit the reserve for free for the rest of her life.
She said: “The whole family love it here at Brockholes and are thrilled to win a lifetime pass. It’s been amazing to watch the reserve develop and I look forward to Chloe and Luke coming down here in 30 years time with their kids!”
Brockholes General Manager, Donalda Williams said: “It is incredible to think that there have been one million visits to our reserve since 2011. We are thrilled to hit such a significant milestone.
“I have spent weeks watching the numbers and wondering if this would be the day. I want to thank all of our visitors for their support, all of our brides and conference delegates, and everyone who has supported Brockholes.”
Today would not have been possible without the work of the Wildlife Trust and its volunteers, who turned a sandstone quarry into one of the leading tourist attractions in the North West.
Visitors have flocked from all over the UK and in some cases the world to see the UK’s first floating Visitor Village and enjoy a range of events from pond dipping to scarecrow trails, food festivals and everything in between.
And wildlife has responded too, many making their home in the perfectly formed wetland, woodland and meadow habitat. Birds of prey, like hobby, kestrel and buzzard, rub wings with wading oystercatcher, redshank and lapwing. Record numbers of dragonflies, rare butterflies and deer, otter and brown hare are now regularly seen.
Lancashire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Anne Selby said: “It’s been an incredible journey... with a huge hill still to climb.
“It’s wonderful to see nature move in and as the habitats mature we will see a change in the type of wildlife Brockholes attracts.
“We set out with an ambition to build a bridge between people and wildlife, and I think we have certainly done that with Brockholes. Many of our visitors have a passion for nature and the outdoors, and some don’t have the chance to explore green spaces. It’s wonderful to have such a mix of people coming together to enjoy nature and supporting our work.
“We don’t receive any direct funding for Brockholes and this means our visitors are key to keeping the reserve going, without them we would not be able to continue.”
Brockholes was launched on Easter Sunday in 2011, where over 3,000 people visited. Meanwhile a total of 41 couples have tied the knot at Brockholes since 2011 and there are 20 weddings booked for this year and future bookings up to 2018. Brockholes also serves our local business community with over 100 conferences held in 2015 by big businesses such as Booths, BAE and the NHS!
We’ve also become a Mecca for school trips, with over 7,500 school children visiting the site on educational days every year using the reserves four outdoor classrooms or “The Lookout” a new bird hide classroom added last year.
You can find out more about Brockholes by visiting the website here