Wildlife needs Friends on Wigan beauty spot

One of the North West’s most interesting nature reserves is looking for new Friends.

Kirkless, in Wigan, is a huge reserve where nature has reclaimed an area of land which was once Europe’s biggest iron and steelworks.

The influence of this makes Kirkless and its wildlife varied and fascinating – wildflower communities are more representative of the Welsh sand dunes than of inland Wigan.

The site is home to the impressive, cylindrical 'rabbit rocks' and is one of the areas which Britain’s most endangered small bird, the willow tit, calls home.

Work on the site is supported by Lancashire Wildlife Trust and Wigan Council, but the reserve is managed by Kirkless Friends Group.

A pool at Kirkless nature reserve, which is owned by Lancashire Wildlife Trust

The Friends are looking for new committee members to carry on the good work that has been done in recent years.

Reserve Officer Sue Lonsdale said: “This is a really exciting and fun opportunity for anyone who wants an input into how the reserve develops over the next few years, both in terms of helping manage the unique habitats, and in steering public engagement and events.

“The roles and the time commitments can vary depending on your availability and what you want from the experience. This is an active and sociable group who welcome new members and who really want your opinions, ideas and input.

“There will be plenty of opportunities for training, and the group is fully supported by the Wildlife Trust and the council.”

Kirkless is a fascinating nature reserve, split in half by the Leeds/Liverpool Canal and surrounded by a thriving local community.

For a snapshot of what the group has been up to, along with some great photos of the reserve check out their Facebook page.

The group meets on the first Monday of every month at 7pm in the community room of Tesco Extra in Wigan. There is a monthly work party on the first Friday of each month, run by staff and volunteers from Lancashire Wildlife Trust.

Joining a friends group is a great way to meet new people with similar interests and passions. They are involved in many nature reserves across the UK and their work ensures these wild places are accessible to both wildlife and humans. It is an interesting way to keep healthy in the outdoors.

Training in previous years has been funded by Wigan Council's 'The Deal' and sessions have included brushcutter, first aid, leading a group and key volunteering. Training is currently available through the Carbon Landscape and can be tailored to your needs.

Interested? Get in touch with Helen Bird at hbird@lancswt.org.uk