RSPB Leighton Moss, Lancashire, UK Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

RSPB Leighton Moss, Lancashire, UK

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The RSPB1 reserve at Leighton Moss is one of the most important breeding sites in the British Isles, for one of that country's most endangered species of bird, the bittern.

The reserve is situated at Silverdale, which is close to Morecambe Bay, in the north west of England. It can be reached either by rail to Silverdale, then walking about 200 metres to the reserve, or by road. From the M6, junction 35A north of Carnforth, take the A6 road. The reserve is signposted from there and it is about 3 miles away.

Leighton Moss reserve is open all year round, from 9am to 9pm (or dusk if earlier) except Christmas Day. The visitor centre is open from 10am until 5pm and entrance is free to RSPB members. Non-member adults pay £4, children £1, OAP and concessions entrance is £2.50. Family tickets are available at £82.

There are a total of seven hides on the site, three on the main reserve, and two a short distance from the main reserve. These two are reached by leaving the visitor centre, and turning to the right. Follow the main road and take the next turning on the right. Two extra hides overlook Morecambe Bay, about two miles from the visitor centre. These hides are reached by leaving the main site, and turning left. Follow the road past the golf course, and then take the next turn on the left. Go down this road and cross the railway. Carry on down the road until the dirt track turning on the right is reached. Go under the railway bridge and turn left. The hides are reached by going through the gates and walking down the track.

All three hides on the main site have wheelchair access, as has the larger of the two nearer ones that are reached by taking the first option of turning right after leaving the main site.

In summer, the reserve is mostly visited for the earlier mentioned bittern, but it is also visited by marsh harriers and hen harriers. Bearded tits can also be seen, as can reed warblers. Occasionally, osprey and peregrine falcons visit. Small mammals such as shrew and water vole are abundant and the patient observer can also see red deer and otters. In winter, the reserve plays host to a variety of over-wintering wildfowl, including pintail and garganey.

1The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.2All prices quoted are correct at time of writing and are subject to change.

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