When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Everywhere is a wildlife haven
10:17am Monday 20th August 2012 in Opinion
I AM often asked, especially by young naturalists, where would be the best place to view wildlife.
I always tell them to start looking where they are — close to home.
Even in the towns, there is plenty to see. I was in Clitheroe recently and swifts were screaming overhead.
I then went to Waddington to meet some friends who were exploring East Lancashire for the first time.
Despite the dull weather, the place looked a joy, with the little stream bubbling on its way on to meet the River Ribble.
There were birds and flowers everywhere. Grey wagtails and dippers were feeding their young. Blackbirds and greenfin-ches were singing and the Coronation Gardens looked at their best. They were planted in 1953 to celebrate the start of the present Queen’s reign.
Several years ago I wrote a book called Wildlife in Towns and to complete this I had to visit the heart of many cities and towns of England. There was wildlife everywhere, especially in the parks and alongside the rivers and canals.
Perhaps I should have written a second book called Wildlife in Villages. If so, one of the best places to start would be Waddington.
There are lots of other fine examples in our patch, including Pendleton and West Bradford in the Ribble Valley, Pleasington and Withnell Fold, near Blackburn, and places like Edenfield, Wycoller and Trawden.
Nothing better than boats
THERE is nothing like enjoying nature from the mobile hide better known as a boat.
I paid one of my usual visits to Hollingworth Lake between Littleborough and Rochdale. This is now of 120 acre (48 hectares) Country Park.
It was built in 1805 to provide water for the locks feeding the Rochdale Canal.
At its deepest point the lake — or should it be reservoir — is eighty feet and in the summer a pleasure boat takes trippers around the lake.
In Victorian times the first man to swim the English Channel trained at Hollingworth. Almost from the day it opened Hollingworth became a popular place to visit and it bacame known as the Weavers Seaport. I did three tours during the day and my bird list included cormorant heron, swallows, swift, and a very bedraggled looking goosander.
The male bird was in moult and fast losing his feathers. On the bank there were lots of mallards which were also in full moult.
A fascinating ancient river crossing
THE wildlife of our rivers has always fascinated me and it is always of interest to find out about the history of river crossings.
In the case of Mitton it was once the borderline between old Lancashire and old Yorkshire. The same River Ribble was also the border of many other places.
Close to the bridge over the Ribble there is the Aspinall Arms.
This was the site of the old row-boat ferryman who lived there and waited for travellers to call him.
Once the bridge was built the Ferry House was replaced by a hostelry.
The view from Mitton Bridge and the footpaths around are a joy and between now and the end of September bird watchers can have a wonderful day.
Here are swallows, martins, common sandpipers and many other species including kingfishers, herons and dippers can be seen and the variety of flowers are a botanist’s delight.