Mere Sands Wood gets a lift with new building

Molly Toal

A new era has landed at one of our most popular nature reserves – on the back of three lorries.

The Fields Studies Centre arrived at Mere Sands Wood in Rufford and was hoisted into place by a crane.

Once joined together it created a lot of space in the first step of our plan to dramatically improve facilities for visitors to the reserve.

Reserve Manager Lindsay Beaton said: “This is a recycled, refurbished building, with a very long lifespan. The refurbishment process means it is double-insulated, so very energy efficient.

“Our volunteers will clad it in wood cut from pines felled on the reserve. The area beside it will be sown with wildflowers. The work will take place in the spring once we have completed our busy winter work plan of conservation tasks.”

The new Field Studies Centre will provide education opportunities not just for children but for adults as well to learn more about and engage with the natural world on the reserve.

It was funded by Wildlife Trust members, Friends of Mere Sands Wood and the thousands of nature lovers who regularly visit the reserve. Funders also included the Greenbank Trust, Lancashire Environmental Fund and West Lancashire Borough Council Community Infrastructure Levy.

Lindsay said: “It has been a great effort to prepare the site, volunteers doing the site clearance, acting as banksmen and taking photos recording the works. Tony Boocock, a local builder and birder did all the groundworks, going above and beyond, working until 9pm when needed. Visitor Centre Officer John Darlington brought his years of experience in the building trade to manage the project.”

Portakabin provided the refurbished buildings and skills at a price the Wildlife Trust could afford.

Lindsay said: “Now we are looking forward to Phase 2 which will bring a cafe and a community space for meeting and relaxation.”

Watch this space....