ON the site of what was once one of the largest light tanneries in Europe now stands Ball Grove Park and nature reserve.

Bordering Trawden, Colne and Laneshaw Bridge, the area features a children's play area, millpond, lake, picnic area and nature reserve. Seven hectares of community woodland and the Bronte Way run through the park, offering scenic walks from Ball Grove right through to Wycoller Country Park.

The lake and nature reserve have provided continued interest and wildlife potential.

Sagar’s Tannery was built in 1860 by John and William Sagar. the main buildings of the tannery were located in the area which is now Ball Grove Park.

The business was declared bankrupt in 1970 and the tannery demolished in 1974 but the two lodges were retained.

The upper lodge, 500m upstream, is now the upper end of the nature reserve.

A footpath was added along the edge of the upper lodge in the late 1990s and forms part of the Ferndean Way, a three-mile route from Waterside in Colne to Wycoller.

Colne Water flows through Ball Grove Park and the nature reserve and is an important freshwater habitat for a number of fish species including brown trout.

The park has an active friends group which runs an annual fun day with a guided nature walk and pond dipping.

They also hold regular meetings and volunteer days to make improve to the footpaths and cut back overgrown vegetation.

Friends chairmAn, John Belbin, said: “Ball Grove picnic site and nature reserve is a popular attraction for families and visitors.

“The site includes a children’s play ground that was renovated two years ago, a duck pond and picnic site, nature reserve and woodland.

“The nature reserve has benefited from new walkways in the past few years, these are used by walkers and attracted schools who bring classes to take part in pond dipping.

“The nature reserve is home to a range of wildfife including deer, heron, kingfishers, moorhen and smaller water birds.

“During the summer, in particular, the park and nature reserve is very well used.

“Last year a wildflower meadow was planted near the play area, which was superb.

“This year we are hoping to quadruple the size of the meadow, extending to the picnic area.

“Our next aim is to get a Green Flag Award for the park.”

The friends group is seeking new member.

Anyone interested in joining can contact Pendle Council’s parks and recreation services on 01282 661600.