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Fishwick Local Nature Reserve is situated in Fishwick Bottoms. It is the most recently designated local nature reserve in Preston and was officially opened in October 2007.
The site is crescent shaped and covers an area of approximately 26ha. It is also adjacent to Common Bank, which is a natural escarpment overlooking the flood plain of the River Ribble.
Following much landscaping and restoration work of previously derelict land, the recreation ground and nature reserve now offer several miles of footpaths with seating areas and interpretation signage.
There are three main habitat types found in Fishwick Bottoms;
There is also a remnant orchard, which contains approximately 40 apple trees (the apple variety found there is known as 'Golden Spire').
The woodlands at the reserve are the result of planting in the 1960’s and 1970’s, which came about from landfill practices.
Much of the woodland includes tree species which are non native British trees or species which would not live naturally in this part of North West England. The management of the site looks to replace these trees with more appropriate species, which will benefit other plant and animal species over a long period of time.
Selective thinning of some areas, by felling and coppicing, will increase the diversity of species and the age range of trees. Ultimately the woodland should fit into the same natural corridor as Boilton Wood, extending wildlife into the heart of the city.
Throslock Wood, at the east end of the reserve, is a county Biological Heritage Site. Throslock Wood has had woodland cover for several centuries and has a more natural feel to it. Here the trees are mainly Oak and the ground flora includes Bluebells, Wild Garlic, Campion and Celandines.
There are seven grassland areas which have been developed on old landfill areas or through the abandonment of other activities such as industry or farming. These areas have been improved by the introduction of appropriate wildflower plants and seeds.
The management of the grasslands seeks to copy traditional local farming practices in order to develop wildflower flower meadows typical of those found in hay meadows and wetter areas.
Grasslands on lowland farms would have been grazed by farm animals and cut for hay. Due to the location of Fishwick, and the site being open to the public, grazing by animals is not possible. However, planned cutting and removal of the grass crop will make the site suitable for a diverse range of colourful wildflowers. This is in turn will result in a habitat for insects, mammals, amphibians and other animals.
The freshwater wetland features in Fishwick Bottoms comprise three ponds, created in 2007, and improvements to a ditch system which runs through the site. There are also smaller ponds, dug and managed by volunteers, which hold water for most of the year and are connected to the ditch system during periods of flooding.
The newly dug ponds were planted with appropriate aquatic plants and have been colonised by sticklebacks (fish), newts and a wide variety of invertebrates (such as dragonflies, damselflies, snails and beetles).
The ditch, which joins the River Ribble, is home to larger fish species and consequently attracts heron and kingfisher.
Over the coming the years the ponds will change,in terms of the plants and animals found there. This will be partly influenced by the other freshwater features nearby, the river and a reed-filled swamp area.
Fishwick Terrace Swamp (another county Biological Heritage Site) is a large area of wetland below Fishwick View. There is little open water, as the swamp is dominated by Bulrush (Typha).Work carried by the Park Ranger and volunteers in 2012 has attempted to raise the water level in a small area of the swamp so as to create a swimming pool size open water area.
Known by many as the ‘old athletics track’, the recreation ground has had a varied history.
Sand and clay were dug close to London Road, before the area was used as a municipal tip for many years. A travellers camp and the athletics track came more recently but then the site became abandoned when the Preston Harriers moved on to better facilities.
Following refurbishment in 2006, there is now a BMX track and football pitch on the site.
Preston Pirates are a highly successful BMX club who have a lease to use the track for coaching and club racing. Outside the Club’s operating time the track is open for use to locals and visitors.
Unicorn FC and two youth teams use the football pitch at weekends.
One of our Park Rangers regularly works on the site carrying out inspections, maintenance and management duties. He can be contacted via the Parks Services on 01772 906471 or email email@example.com
There are volunteer work parties, lead by the Park Ranger and Lancashire Wildlife Trust . These mainly take place on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
A range of events, open to the public, take place throughout the year and can be found on the Preston Guild City website.
The Friends of Fishwick and St Matthew's (FoFS) are a community group concerned with the wards of Fishwick and St.Matthew’s, FoFS work closely with the Parks Service.
FoFS have secured a number of grants to carry out improvements in the nature reserve, including the installation of a mosaic celebrating the 2012 Guild and various woodland improvements.
Fishwick Local Nature Reserve can be accessed via the Recreation Ground, on London Road (A6) or from the river side car park, to the rear of the Shawes Arms. There are further access points off Brockholes View, Ashleigh Street and the top of Watery Lane (the Loney).
There is a car park at the London Road entrance and on the riverside to the rear of the Shawes Arms
The post code for the site PR2 5AN and the Grid Reference for the main entrance is SD554293.
The area is included on two ordnance survey maps; Explorer 286 and Pathfinder 679.
A number of Preston bus services stop approximately100 meters from the site;
The north bound buses stop at London Rd/Frenchwood stop and the south bound at London Rd/Ashleigh St.
The Walton le Dale Park and Ride (No2.) service operates from a short distance away.
The south east section of the Guild Wheel cycle route is adjacent to the nature reserve. The nature reserve is between mile marker post 1/20 and 2/19. There are cycle racks in the recreation ground car park.
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