Volunteers start work on wetlands to improve Grimsargh’s nature reserve

Volunteers working on the fen coppicing willow during the volunteers' day.
Volunteers working on the fen coppicing willow during the volunteers' day.

Work on the transformation of three former reservoirs into a safe haven for flora, fauna and wildlife has started in earnest.

Residents turned out in force for the first Grimsargh Wetlands Volunteer Day and organisers have hailed it a huge success.

The volunteers who turned out on Sunday were said to have made excellent progress on reservoir number three, coppicing willow and building scrub bundles to encourage insects and small mammals.

They were headed by Steve Whittam, Andy Small and Ken Maylor and Wetlands Trust chairman David Hindle was also on hand to give volunteers guided tours of the three former reservoirs, now owned by the village after being handed over to the parish council by United Utilities.

A spokesperson said: “The enthusiasm of the volunteers was clearly evident. There was a tremendous team spirit as they made real progress under the supervision of team leaders.

“The trustees hope to reclaim the reservoirs as a first class habitat for wildlife and, although there is a long way to go, with such enthusiasm and commitment, and a few more volunteers, it is clear that much progress can be made over the coming months.

The next volunteering day will be Saturday, October 28 and the plan is to hold regular volunteering days every three weeks throughout the winter months.”

One volunteer is quoted as having proclaimed: “Really enjoyed working with you all today. Very well organised and directed – we will join you again!”

If you would like to become a volunteer, please contact Andy Small on 07870 294158, Ken Maylor on 07398 279841 and the spokesperson added: “Please come along, learn new skills and make new friends, while making a real contribution to wildlife and the community.”

The handover of the reservoirs to the parish, together with a dowry of £191,384 followed years of negotiations and while the three wetland areas off Preston Road already provide nature lovers with much to enjoy, the site has been neglected for years and there is much work to be done to make it both more accessible for the public and wildlife friendly, with David determined the wetlands will become one of Lancashire’s finest nature reserves.