UK’s first floating Visitor Village unveiled

Thursday 12th May 2011

The UK’s first award-winning floating Visitor Village will help put nature back on the map as it looks set to receive more the 250,000 visitors each year, has been launched by Simon King OBE.

Set in a former quarry, Brockholes is being dubbed an ‘unreserved reserve’ – a place for people to feel free to explore nature. Easily accessible for people up and down the UK - just off junction 31 of the M6 motorway - it is the perfect alternative to a standard service station. The site is now owned and managed by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust.

Within the unique and award-winning Visitor Village, facilities include an education and interpretation area, shop, children’s play area and conference facilities. A restaurant provides stunning views across the reserve and serves a selection of Lancashire’s finest produce.

Wildlife and habitats
Family-friendly and specialist hides offer places to watch wildlife from lapwing, whimbrel and redshank to damselfly and roe deer. Short and longer walks plus an adventure play area keep everyone exploring Brockholes’ 106 hectares.

The nature reserve contains one of the largest strips of ancient woodland in the UK, species-rich hay meadow, large wetland areas and the beautiful River Ribble. It is part of The Wildlife Trusts’ national vision of A Living Landscape, which aims to connect landscapes together, creating an environment in which people and wildlife can thrive side by side.

Brockholes has created several dozen new local jobs and will provide a valuable resource for local communities, encouraging healthy, active lifestyles and increasing interaction with the natural environment.

Anne Selby, Chief Executive of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said:

“We are calling Brockholes the ‘unreserved reserve’ because we want to bring nature to the forefront of people’s minds in a way that they can both enjoy and feel free to explore. We hope this iconic reserve will help emphasise the importance of our natural resources.”

Simon King OBE, The Wildlife Trusts’ President, said:

“The Wildlife Trusts appreciate that, for its vision of A Living Landscape and Living Seas to work, they need the support of the community as a whole and of the business community in particular. The very foundations of some of the developing schemes, such as Brockholes, will rely on mutual aspirations for a better, more resilient resource for the natural world.”

Robert Hough, Chairman of the North-West Development Agency (NWDA), said:

“Brockholes is the culmination of five years hard work and typifies the kind of project the NWDA has promoted and strived for over the past 12 years, working closely with regional partners and stakeholders to create a better and more sustainable future for our people and businesses. This ambitious project has given the region a place of great value, not only as a visitor attraction, but for the local people and communities and will continue to inspire and be enjoyed for many years to come.”

Brockholes has created several dozen new local jobs and will provide a valuable resource for local communities

Pam Warhurst, Chair of the Forestry Commission, said:

“I’m absolutely delighted to celebrate the opening of Brockholes. The location, visitor centre and concept combine to create something very special, which exemplifies the very best of partnership working and public engagement, and which demonstrates environmental and economic sustainability being put into practice. The Forestry Commission will remain a close partner in Brockholes, sharing our environmental expertise and knowledge to help make Brockholes a long term, truly sustainable asset for our future."

The project has received £9.4 million investment from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) under the Forestry Commission-led regeneration programme ‘Newlands’. Other partners, including Natural England, The Forestry Commission's EWGS programme, Tubney Charitable Trust and the Lancashire Environmental Fund.

Story by RSWT/LWT
More Information
Images are available for use with this news release. They are granted on a one-time use basis, in association with this release and the photographer must be credited.

For more information contact:

Lindsey Poole, Marketing and Communications Manager
The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside on
Office: 01772 318373
Mob: 07515 999292