Mere Sands Wood

A new chapter for Mere Sands Wood

Mere Sands Wood by Dave McAleavey

42 hectares of magical wild space
NEW Visitor Centre coming soon!
Peaceful waterside bird hides
Walking trails for all abilities

Over the coming months your Mere Sands Wood will undergo some exciting changes and it really will be worth the wait.

Nestled amongst the peaceful agricultural landscape of Rufford, Mere Sands Wood is a true wildlife haven. We're thrilled to finally have the opportunity to offer new visitor facilities; just what such a wonderful and well-loved nature reserve deserves.

We've had a bold vision for Mere Sands Wood for many years now, and it has been quite a journey to get to this point. We've worked tirelessly to secure the funding needed for the new Visitor Centre, with much heartbreak and disappointment along the way in an extremely competitive funding environment. Thanks to the kind donations to our Mere Sands Wood appeal back in 2014, we've been able to secure a further £460,000 of funding and are pleased to finally start work on the new Visitor Centre.

From 16 September, the Visitor Centre will be closed for six weeks whilst we carry out the necessary works.
Please note the car park will be closed:

  • 4pm on 4 December until 10am on 5 December
  • 4pm on 9 December until 4pm on 10 December
  • 7am - 4pm on 10 December for pedestrians

It’s a time of change but there is still much to enjoy at Mere Sands Wood and lots to look forward to in 2020.

Explore the reserve

Songbirds, raptors and waders galore!

From grebes to water rails; reed warblers to kingfishers; sparrowhawks to woodpeckers; Mere Sands Wood is absolutely brimming with beautiful birds.

Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

A secret garden

Mere Sands Wood is a wildflower and fungi haven. Spring and summer bring orchids, yellow-wort and yellow bartsia, while autumn and winter usher in fly agaric, earthballs and common stinkhorn.

Fly agaric by Dawn Monrose

Accessible nature trails

95% of paths are suitable for wheelchairs and prams, while six of our hides are fully accessible. There are also two motorised buggies available for hire from the Visitor Centre.

Ade Clarke @ClarkePictures

A mosaic of wild spaces

Dry heath, woodland, wetland and sandy, wet meadows combine to create a true wildlife refuge. You may even spot rare species like red squirrels in the conifers!

Mere Sands Wood by Phil Smith

Where is Mere Sands Wood?

A static map of Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve
Wildfowl, waders and abundant wildflowers thrive in this tranquil oasis of lakes and woodland.

The build so far

It’s been all go at Mere Sands Wood over the past couple of months, and not just where the wildlife is concerned! The foundations have now gone in for the new café and we’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of the café buildings. The shop is complete and ready for fittings, and we have a gorgeous new front desk crafted from reclaimed wood by our very own John Darlington.

Most excitingly, during this stage of the build we’ve uncovered things we didn’t even know we had on-site, including the original management plan from when we first acquired Mere Sands Wood in 1982, and old aerial photographs dating back to before the reserve’s lakes were even created. There’s still more work to come, but we’re hoping to open the updated shop in the next week and have the new café fully operational by Easter.

We're hoping to secure a really, really special guest for the official opening of the new Visitor Centre, so stay tuned!

What about the wildlife?

While all this vital work is continuing our wild visitors have continued to delight us all. The Visitor Centre bird table is still busy though all around it has changed. We still have regular sightings of kingfishers from our hides, and we're waiting for bitterns and water rails to make an appearance as the days get colder.

Excitingly, our annual cormorant roost has now begun, so expect hundreds of them to swoop into Mere Sands Wood in the early evenings; a true spectacle.

Stay up to date with all things Mere Sands Wood

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