The long-term future of a Blackpool nature reserve has been secured thanks to a £330,000 Lottery grant to make improvements to its visitor centre and bird hides.
The cash will be ploughed into Marton Mere Nature Reserve which is the town’s largest open green space and only Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and is nationally recognised for its bird population.
Otters, dragonflies, butterflies and orchids are among the other important species found at the wetlands.
Coun Graham Cain, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for leisure and tourism, said: “Securing this funding will help to safeguard, protect and improve Marton Mere for decades to come.
“As well as providing an important habitat for wildlife including rare species, it is also an extremely positive educational and ecological resource for Blackpool.”
The three-year project will focus on the biological heritage of the site, improving educational opportunities and linking the reserve in with adjacent sites at Stanley Park and Heron’s Reach.
Blackpool Council has worked alongside Blackpool Environmental Action Team (BEAT) Nature Watch group, Bourne Leisure which owns Marton Mere Caravan Park, and national organisation The Conservation Volunteers to secure the Lottery funding.
Kath Godfrey, of The Conservation Volunteers, said: “People often don’t realise there is an incredible eco-system and wildlife habitat right here on the doorstep in Blackpool. I hope lots of people will want to get involved.”
Work will help frog and bird habitats
Entrances will be upgraded and made more welcoming and the footpath network will be refurbished to enable wheelchair access.
A significant amount of specialist reed, scrub and grassland habitat management work will take place as well as the creation of special feeding and nesting habitats for waders and skylarks.
Vegetation clearance and pond works will create better conditions for amphibians to flourish.