Mere Sands Wood

Mere Sands Wood (Lancashire Wildlife Trust)


Reserve Name     Mere Sands Wood

Managing Authority     Lancashire Wildlife Trust

Holmeswood Road

Phone Number     01704 821809
Website   Visit Website
Google Map Link     See Location on Google Map

Access (Transport)
SD 447157, Landranger 108, Explorer 285

Leave the A59 in Rufford onto Holmeswood Road (B5246), after 1-mile turn left at the Nature Reserve and Meresands Kennels signs. The car park is at the end of the lane.

Parking & Toilet Provision
Car Park by Visitor Centre with disabled toilets (opening hours only)

Hot Drinks Machine

Opening Hours
The Visitor Centre is open 9.30am until 4.30pm every day except Fridays (closed Christmas Day), and has a sightings board with daily updates on bird species, numbers and unusual sightings of all kinds, as well as attractive and informative displays. There is also a shop selling bird food, books, gifts, etc. as well as snacks and hot & cold drinks.

The staff or volunteer wardens are always on hand to answer your questions about the Reserve. The reserve is open 9.00am until 8.00pm during British Summer Time and 9.00am until 5.00pm the rest of the year.

Admission Charges
The facilities are free but there is a £2.00 voluntary charge for the car park.

Description of Habitat & Facilities

Description of Reserve

The reserve is owned and managed by the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside.  The reserve covers 42 hectares (105 acres) and is made up of lakes, mature broadleaved and conifer woodland, sandy, wet meadows and heaths.  Sand on the site proved to be of value for glass making and extraction companies quarried the site between 1974 and 1982. During this period, the Trust members and the local community worked with the County Council to require the extraction company to landscape the site into a nature reserve once the extraction was completed. On completion of the sand winning in 1982, the Trust acquired the site.

There are three waymarked trails available to guide you to some of the Reserves’ features, all of which are suitable for most wheelchair users.  The Blue Trail is a 1.25m (45 mins) circular route passed 4 hides, a viewing platform and a bird feeding station through birch woodland adjacent to a series of connected lakes.  The Meadow Walk (Red Trail) is a 1/4m (10 mins) circular route past meadow edge, returning via a short strip of Birchwood.  The White Trail is a 1.5m (60mins) circular route, which takes you through birch, oak, beech, and pine woodlands past one hide and a viewing platform.  This trail is also suitable for most motorised wheelchairs.  Those parts of the way-marked paths that are not public rights of way are closed on Christmas day only.

All the hides and viewing platform are wheelchair accessible.  The paths around the reserve are mainly level apart from one area that has a few slopes.  However this area is accessible with the new electric buggies.  These are available from the Visitor Centre as is the wheelchair.  There is no charge for the buggies but donations are welcome.  If you are coming to the Reserve you can phone beforehand and reserve one of the buggies.  The Centre is manned at all times during opening hours i.e., 9am until 5pm.


Winter wildfowl populations include nationally important numbers of Gadwall and Teal, as well as Widgeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye and Goosander.  Locally important species include Mandarin Duck and Kingfisher and there are annual sightings of Willow Tit and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.  Breeding species include Great Crested and Little Grebes, Shelduck, Gadwall, Pochard and Tufted Duck, alongside Little Ringed Plover and Lapwing.  Birds that breed in the woodland include Sparrowhawk, Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Redpoll alongside the common Tit and warbler species.  Turtle Dove and Quail breed occasionally. Other raptors seen include Osprey, Kestrel, Buzzard, Little and Tawny Owls. In all, over 170 bird species have been seen on the Reserve, of these 60 are known to have bred.

Fifteen species of dragonfly are seen regularly from May to October including ten breeding species such as Emperor, Black-tailed Skimmer and Migrant Hawker.

Wet grasslands and dry heaths occur on areas refilled after sand extraction and now support many wildflowers including Marsh Helleborine, Common Spotted, Early and Southern Marsh and Bee Orchids and notable populations of Golden Dock, Yellow Bastsia, Yellow Wort, Lesser Centaury and Royal Fern.

Over 200 species of Fungi have been recorded on the reserve.  As the reserve has developed, the diversity of butterflies, dragonflies, moths and other invertebrates has increased.

Some of the 17 species of mammal include Water Vole, Fox and Roe Deer, Pipistrelle, Noctule and Daubenton’s bat.

The geological interest warranted the Reserve being designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1985.

Description of Trails

Trail Surfaces
Wheelchair and 2 Electric Buggies

Number of Hides      6 fully accessible hides

Description of Hides [By name or number]

Target Species
Nearby Sites

Contributor     Raymond Meredith

Contributors Email

Date Last Updated

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