Posted in Environment, Nature, Travel, places to visit, mini-adventures, Walks

A nature stroll through Grimsargh Wetlands – one of Lancashire’s newest nature reserves

Grimsargh Wetlands – The Island Lake

Grimsargh Wetlands is one of Lancashire’s newest nature reserves, having been created by transforming three decommissioned United Utilities reservoirs into a fairly small (it’s a 30-minute one-mile stroll around the reserve) but highly important nature reserve. Back in 2003, it was designated a Biological Heritage Site but it was in 2017 when it was formally handed over to the parish council. Grimsargh Wetlands Trust now runs the site.

The Island Lake

We hear much of a housing crisis for people, but there is also a ‘housing crisis’ for nature as humans take away more and more wildlife habitat so when I hear of new nature reserves being formed or current ones being protected, it gladdens my heart. I first heard of Grimsargh Wetlands through a newspaper article this year after the Grimsargh Wetlands Trust, which maintains the reserve, received a £10,000 grant. This inspired me to pay a visit.

It’s only a few miles away from Preston, in the village of Grimsargh but, after parking in a side street, off the main road, we were unable to find the reserve at first. There appeared to be no signs but, strangely, once we left, we kept coming across signage! (Isn’t it always the way?)

Annoyingly, we forgot binoculars but we still saw geese and swans with the naked eye. On the website it says there is a colony of ringlet butterflies and a possibility of hearing the distinctive curlew or glimpsing roe deer through the reeds. Bats have also been spotted here too.

The Mere

Directions on the internet stated it was at the back of a new housing estate. We found a path and followed, crossing a field. I think we took a wrong turning early on but our encounter with a group of children and their teaching assistants confirmed that we were heading in the right direction – especially when we came across a hide in front of The Island Lake. This is a shallow lake with mudflats. Following the path around, we came across The Fen. The Trust is hoping to create at least three ponds and increase the extent of reed beds in this marshland. There are also plans to grow more wildflowers at the reserve, especially by the viewing platforms.

Our walk took us back to the road and it was now when we noticed signs to the reserve!

We took another turning, away from the main road towards The Mere, another reservoir turned lake. Here we saw volunteers carry wooden boxes – tern nests – to an island on the lake. They were hoping terns would come to live and breed there. Interestingly, one of the volunteers said that Preston Docks – an urban location – has a colony of terns.

The reserve is next to the former Preston/Longridge railway embankment. I learnt that Longridge stone was taken from the quarries in Longridge, a small town near Grimsargh, to be transported to Preston and further afield.

It may not be the largest reserve but its habitat will be of great importance to wetland birds and other wildlife. And it is a very pleasant scenic walk for us humans too.

The Island Lake

For more details, visit: Grimsargh Wetlands | A Haven for Wildlife

Watch stunning drone footage of one of Lancashire’s newest nature reserves, which is being opened up to the public | Lancashire Evening Post (


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13 thoughts on “A nature stroll through Grimsargh Wetlands – one of Lancashire’s newest nature reserves

  1. Glad you found it, I know it is confusing first time around. There is the viewing bridge between two meres and the hide in a different place.
    This is a wonderful addition to the area, it’s almost on my doorstep, and worthy of repeat visits at different times of the year. Bring your binoculars next time!
    The volunteers have done a wonderful job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They certainly have done a marvellous job. I’m glad I visited it, definitely worth a visit, and at least next time I’ll know where to start from (and remember to take binoculars!) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice to hear that a preserve is being created. I’m sure it will thrive. I visited Slimbridge several times and it is one of my favourite places. Thanks for the post. Always nice to know when Nature gets a vote.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard of Slimbridge but haven’t visited yet. It sounds like it would be a great place to visit. I’ve been to the WWT reserve near Ormskirk which is a fantastic place. ☺️


  3. I would like walking around here very much Clare – it reminds me of the marsh at Lake Erie Metropark. I’ve not been too much this Summer as it floods badly and we’ve had some whopper rainstorms, plus it has been so hot and humid, but yours looks like a great place to see shorebirds, herons and egrets. It’s always great to make a new discovery isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it is and for me right now, they have so much construction and one project started on July 6th will be 24 miles of expressway and will last four years. I don’t care for driving on the expressway (and especially now – we have freeway shooters and this has been so for a good two years). But the suggested routes to use surface streets and not the expressway are where I go to big parks. Glad I did a lot of my walking in them before this big mess.

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  4. What a great find Clare. The reserve l walk in most days here is still being repaired and renovated after the flooding it suffered in 2018/19, but it is slowly coming good and every month new fauna arrives so the gamekeepers keep saying. I saw a weasle there only yesterday and l was thrilled as that is the first l have seen in a very long time indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s great that new fauna keeps arriving at the reserve and also fantastic to see a weasel! I remember seeing a baby stoat when I was a child. It was on the path. Dad and I left it alone as we thought its parent/s were probably nearby watching us so best not to interfere.

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      1. Hey Clare, stoats can be nasty as well especially if protecting their young. I remember years ago finding a baby weasle abandoned and nursing it back to health and then taking it to a wild rehabber station. But l also remember as lovely as it was, it bit me and despite its wee size , it had some fierce teeth on it! 🙂

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