Wigan’s wonderful wildlife

Lightshaw Meadows
Lightshaw Meadows

WIGAN’S heritage and modern wildlife is the focus of a nature event taking place in the borough this weekend.

An 18-mile mega-walk will highlight how Wigan has gone from “dark, satanic mills” and coal mines to an outstanding area for wildlife.

The Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT) and Lancashire Wildlife Trust (LWT) has organised the walk from Haigh Plantation to Pennington Flash, on Saturday.

The walk will pass through some of Wigan’s most spectacular countryside including Kirkless, Wigan Flashes, Lightshaw and Pennington Flash.

LWT Wigan Projects Manager Mark Champion said: “This will be an opportunity to look at the wildlife as we walk along the canal and we could see some of the borough’s often elusive wildlife like kingfisher, brown hare, common tern and redshank.”

Reflecting the recently announced Woodland and Wetland Custodians volunteering project for Wigan’s Countryside this walk looks at some of the best woodland and wetland sites in Wigan and Leigh.

The walk will begin in the woodlands at Haigh, where there is currently a lot of work being done to improve the condition of the woodland habitat, via Wigan Flashes, famed for its large fens and reedbeds and home to the rare and elusive bittern.

The route will then take in the wet grassland meadows at Lightshaw, grazed by the English long-horned cattle to provide the right conditions for breeding lapwings and redshank. The walk will end at Pennington Flash, probably the borough’s best-known conservation area, and the home to many wildfowl and breeding birds.

The walk begins at 8am and is expected to finish at 4pm. Booking is essential - please phone Lancashire Wildlife Trust on 01942 233976.

There are also chances to get hands on at Wigan flashes every week with WLT.

The Wigan Flashes Work Party meet every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 9am-4pm at the Wildlife Trust office at Grange Community Centre, Highfield Grange Avenue, Wigan.

Volunteers need a reasonable level of physical fitness and a current Tetanus vaccination. Everyone welcome and full training and supervision given by LWT staff. Call 01772 318374 for more details.