A former mill site that has become an excellent place for wildlife.
Hidden away in a shallow valley in the heart of Oswaldtwistle, Foxhill Bank Nature Reserve is historically linked to local industry as well as providing an excellent urban site for wildlife.
The value of this reserve is its mixture of habitats in such a small area. The lodges were originally constructed for storing water for the dyeing and printing of fabrics at the works owned by the Brewer family next to Tinker Brook.
Major work was needed to convert the lodges from concrete-sided reservoirs into their present-day form. Vegetation has since colonised the lodges producing a mosaic of open water, Reedmace, Soft, Hard and Jointed Rush and Common Reed. This, along with the undisturbed scrub and bramble, provides seclusion for Coots, Moorhens, Mallard and many warblers.
Tinker Brook flows through the reserve, its banks providing an ideal habitat for mosses, lichens and liverworts where they thrive on the shaded, moist conditions. Broad Buckler and Male Ferns can be seen emerging from the cracks in the stone. Kingfishers are a regular sight along the brook and can also be seen fishing in the two lodges. Dippers also breed in the more secluded section of the brook.
The woodland, dense scrub and wetland communities provide good cover, food and breeding facilities for a variety of birds including Great Spotted Woodpecker, Siskin, Reed Bunting and Blackcap.
A highlight of the woodland is the avenue of Lime trees that would have lead up to the former mill owner’s house. The buildings and stonework have been completely removed, but a section of the avenue and some specimen trees from the garden, still remain. Other woodland areas were planted when the reserve was being established in the early 1990’s – these are being managed to develop into more natural habitats.
The marginal vegetation in the lodges provides cover for various warblers, waterfowl and dragonflies. Damselflies, once called 'devil's darning needles'; can often be seen hovering in the lodge vegetation and there is an abundance of Pond Skaters. The lodges create a good habitat for Common Frogs, Common Toads and Smooth Newts. Herons are also regular visitors.
Species and habitats
- Grassland, Woodland
- Colt's-foot, Bistort, Brooklime, Bugle, Comfrey, Cow Parsley, Garlic Mustard, Cuckooflower, Germander Speedwell, Herb-Robert, Knapweed or Black Knapweed, Marsh-marigold, Meadow Vetchling, Meadowsweet, Pignut, Pineappleweed, Primrose, Purple-loosestrife, Ragged-Robin, Ragwort, Red Bartsia, Red Campion, Ribwort Plantain, Selfheal, Shepherd's Purse, Tormentil, Tufted Vetch, Welsh Poppy, Wood Avens, Yellow-rattle
Nearby nature reserves
- Pleasington Old Hall Wood and Wildlife Garden
- 6 miles - The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside
- Longworth Clough Nature Reserve
- 8 miles - The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside
- Summerseat Nature Reserve
- 9 miles - The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside