To mark the opening several new viewing screens and a new access point funded by the Lancashire Environmental Fund (LEF), Grimsargh Wetlands is holding a community open day this month.
The open day will take place at Grimsargh Wetlands on Saturday 21 August between 2.00-5.00pm, immediately after the village Farmers’ Market which takes place at Grim-sargh Village Hall.
The afternoon’s events will include the unveiling of new viewing screens by a representa-tive of the Lancashire Environmental Fund, which has provided a total of £60,000 in grant funding for development work at the Wetlands over the last three years.
The Trust’s Patron, Lord Horam of Grimsargh, has been invited to speak and the winners of Grimsargh Wetlands’ recent “Photography Competition” will also be announced.
Geoff Carefoot, the Trustee at Grimsargh Wetlands Trust who project managed the in-stallation of the new viewing screens and access points funded by the LEF, commented:
“We are delighted to finally be able to host an open day to mark the formal unveiling of recent development work at Grimsargh Wetlands. Our initial plans were delayed due to the pandemic, so we are looking forward to welcoming visitors, to hear more about our plans for the future.”
Grimsargh Wetlands was originally awarded a £30,000 grant for phase one of develop-ment work which involved the creation of a footpath, steps and a ramp onsite. This was shortly followed by a £20,000 grant in 2018, award as part of the LEF’s 20th Anniversary celebration, which was invested in creating viewing screens which look onto two of the site’s wetland habitats – the Island Lake and the Mere. Ramped access up to these was also created to improve access to the site and the overall visitor experience.
Geoff continued: “We then received a further £10,000 in grant funding from the LEF in 2020 to open up a new access point opposite the Story Homes development on Preston Road, which provides ramped access up to another new viewing screen which looks into the Fen. Now people can enjoy views into a variety of habitats across the site, and easily view the different species that call Grimsargh Wetlands, home.”
At the open day, a new pebble art installation, spearheaded by local resident Catherine McQuade, will be also unveiled in recognition and celebration of the strength and resili-ence of local children throughout the pandemic.
Over the past 18 months, Catherine has accumulated over 300 pebbles painted by the children of Grimsargh village, which initially formed part of a caterpillar art installation. It was Catherine’s idea to take the caterpillar and metamorphose it into a butterfly art instal-lation at Grimsargh Wetlands, to represent “hope” following the dark days of three lock-downs.
Situated between Preston and Longridge, Grimsargh Wetlands is one of Lancashire’s newest nature reserves. Made up of three former United Utilities reservoirs, the site once provided water for the local community and industry from the mid-1840s until 1959 when the reservoirs were no longer needed for domestic water supply.
In 2017, the wetlands were taken over by the Grimsargh Wetlands Trust, which is now responsible for maintaining the site which is now home to a stunning range of wildlife.
Since securing a 25-year lease of the wetlands from Grimsargh Parish Council, the Trust has been working hard to promote the conservation, protection and improvement of the nature reserve. Central to its success has been the Trust’s ability to attract funding to improve public access to the nature reserve, which was classified as a Biological Heritage Site in 2003.
Jayne Woollam, Secretary of Grimsargh Wetlands Trust, concluded:
“This event represents the culmination of three years’ hard work by our volunteers and trustees. The transformation is incredible, thanks to the grants we have gained. The new viewing screens and access points have improved accessibility for people of all ages and mobility. We hope that everyone will come along to the open day, to find out more about this hidden gem in the heart of the Grimsargh.”
At the event, there will be a free minibeast hunt for children to take part in, where they will be able to wander around the wetlands’ paths in search of creepy crawlies to log.
The trustees will also be leading guided walks throughout the afternoon, enabling the public to enjoy exclusive access to areas normally closed to the public – an opportunity to see some Wetlands’ secrets, including a wildflower meadow integral to the biodiversity of the site.
Grimsargh Village Hall car park will be available for parking from 1.30pm onwards. To book, visit grimsarghwetlands.org