18) Mere Sands Nature Reserve, Lancashire Wildlife Trust (LWT), Holmeswood Road, Ormskirk, Lancashire, L40 1TG.
The reserve covers 42 hectares of wet and woodland. You can cover just under 4 miles of accessible trails, indeed 95% of the reserve is suitable for Batec’s, Klaxon, Triride, Firefly, Freewheel, manual wheelchairs (self-propelled) and indeed any mobility scooter. In fact this is one of the most accessible nature reserves I have ever visited.
The paths are quite wide with a few wide bridges. A few small, tree root sections but these will not be an issue for any user. No stiles or steps except to the Redwing Bird Hide. No gates if you visit when the reserve is open.
If you park at the visitor centre, you can access the trails and viewing platforms – however these are currently closed due to the pandemic. Do check Mere Sands LWT web site for further information –
Facilities on site:
Car parking – quite a large car park with a few disabled parking bays. All car park users must pay £2. This includes Blue Badge holders. People can hire a mobility scooter when the visitor centre is open normally.
All dogs are allowed so long as they are kept on a lead - and you clean up any mess they leave.
There is a visitor centre that is accessible but no café. Also, I was unable to check if there are any disabled / std toilets during my visit. The web site does state toilets are provided. A new visitor centre is planned for the future.
Most of the bird hides are accessible – with lower viewing points in each hide. The Redwing Bird hide has a 4-inch step.
Although most (6 hides have a viewing area for the disabled visitor – there are wooden benches secured to the floor, these might hamper your use of the viewing point – though I managed, and I use a Batec powered front wheel attachment
The windows above the disabled viewing areas open bottom to top – fairly easy to open but impossible to close when you leave unless you have assistance from another person.
There are many signposts around the reserve, I followed the accessible “White Route” signs. There are 3 routes you can follow, Blue (most wheelchair users), 1.25 miles, White (suitable for most motorised wheelchair users, 1.5 miles) and the Meadow walk (all wheelchair users, 300m).
What might you see?
A beautiful woodland and wetland / Lakeland nature reserve. Lots of wild forest and meadow flowers.
Tree Sparrow, Water Rail, Gt. C Grebe, Little Grebe, Roe Deer, Kingfisher, all the usual small songbirds, many fowl. Badger, Tawny Owl, Woodpecker, many species of Moth and Butterfly, Dragonfly and Damselfly.
The reserve is also the home to Red Squirrels, but sadly these were not about during my visit.
Note the Redwing Bird hide - with a step, pictured below.
Lovely to meet Alan & Barbera Meadows, who visit this reserve several times a week, and they love it.