Martin Mere, near Ormskirk, in Lancashire is where wilderness and family-friendliness combine.
Its year-round attractions include a beaver lodge, otter enclosure, pond dipping zone, an inspirational eco-garden and the opportunity to enjoy close-up encounters with around 100 species of international water-birds as they swim, feed and wander in wetlands custom-designed to mimic their natural homes.
To this, nature adds many other treats. A survey in 2002 recorded well over 2,000 different species of birds, mammals, insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mini-beasts living in and around the mere which gives the site its name. In addition, the site is a haven for many traditional Lancashire plants, such as the endangered whorled caraway, golden dock, tubular water dropwort, early marsh orchids, the large-flowered hemp nettle and purple ramping fumitory.
But what makes Martin Mere truly world class are the many thousands of migrant wild ducks, geese, waders and swans which over-winter at this Ramsar-rated marshland and especially the spectacular displays of feather and flight provided by huge migrant flocks of pink-footed geese, wigeon and whooper swans.
- Brown hare
- Ducks (including large migration flocks of wigeon)
- Geese (especially, the many thousands of ‘pink-foots’ which come in each winter)
- Hawks (hen harriers, hobby, merlins and peregrine falcons all hunt the marshes)
- Swans (especially, thousands of wintering whooper swans)
- Wild flowers
- Dragonflies & Damselflies