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GAZING at the shimmering lakes and rivers of Brun Valley Forest Park it’s difficult to comprehend that the wispy green meadow grass you are standing in is, in fact, reclaimed coal mine land.

The ambitious development stretches from the centre of Burnley to the rural outskirts of Worsthorne, and is made up of an ex- Lancashire County Council tip, coal mines, and old industrial land.

It has been transformed into a picturesque beauty spot, popular with cyclists, ramblers and picnickers.

The area includes a large lake and woodland extending to Gorpley Moor through a series of Greenways, accessible for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

Work started on Brun Valley greenway in 2007, and the plans to improve the space are going from strength to strength.

Simon Goff, head of green spaces and amenities at Burnley Council, said: “Some parts of it, like the old landfill site, are not accessible to the public, but by 2015 they will be a wonderful green space.

“Footpaths and cycleways are being connected and should be finished by this summer. By the time it’s completed, there will be 15km of paths and cycleways across the valley.

“The great thing about this project is it brings beautiful rural landscapes of lakes, rivers, woodland, meadows and streams right up to areas in Burnley with the most densely terraced houses. It will be a brilliant thing for townsfolk to enjoy.”

Simon also pointed out a spectacular amount of wildlife has been spotted in the park, including kingfishers, foxes, badgers, and reported sightings of otters.

“The work The Ribble River Trust has done is remarkable and has already improved wildlife in the valley.

“Volunteers have worked hard to remove weirs, and put down fishways so trout and salmon are now making their way up the rivers Calder and Brun.”

Visitors can also trek Brun Valley Forest’s four-mile trail, which begins at Bank Hall car park, along the Brun Valley greenway to Rowley Lake and Millennium Woods.

The area around Bank Hall was a working colliery until the 1970s, and Rowley Lake was created in the late 70s when the River Brun was diverted round the open cast coal workings and landfill tips.

The park pinpoints an exact location – where the region’s natural beauty meets with its vast industrial past.