November Ramble – Martin Mere
The Martin Mere Wetland Centre, situated between Preston and Southport, is a well-known and splendid place for bird watching and a good location to start our walk.
Before stating, we had a look around. The centre attracts many species of bird, particularly vast numbers of Pink Footed Geese and Whooper Swans, together with Bewick Swans, Harriers, Bullfinches, Common Crane and many others.
The first part of the walk took us over a number of well drained fields with easy walking. This part of Lancashire is very flat! The fields eventually gave way to quiet country lanes. We passed a charming country pub and restored farmhouses and finally came to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, following the tow path for a couple of miles.
Our lunch stop was by a swing bridge, sat facing the warm sun and watching the various Narrow Boats pass by. After lunch, on our way again, we came to a terrace of cottages with their pretty front gardens forming the canal bank.
Eventually, we arrived at Burscough, a communications centre for road, rail and canal. In the centre of the town, we had a look at the new development, with a central square surrounded by shops, a café and, unlike Longridge, a place to spend a penny. As we headed out of Burscough, we could see the large industrial estate which was previously a wartime Fleet Air Arm training airfield. (HMS Ringtail). The old hangars and control tower are still there.
We now started our return by way of a marked footpath to Martin Mere and passed some enormous fields with the farm machinery equally gargantuan. Our route now took us along fields and farm tracks, a little muddy in places, then along a lane and back to the start. Our return coincided with the afternoon feeding at the centre and what an impressive sight with thousands of large birds noisily swooping down to grab their feed. Apparently, many birds have arrived early this year due to very cold conditions in Northern Europe.
Many thanks again to Bill, from our Bolton contingent, for organising this interesting walk and adding to the variety of the walks that we enjoy.
Linda & Eddie Grange