Blog Post: Visiting Ribble Reserves – Update

It's a strange time for us all at the moment, but it’s lovely to hear how much nature helps lift your spirits through lockdown. We know for many of you, our Ribble Estuary reserves are a big part of providing enjoyment and solace in the natural world. Before setting off, please read through the following update on the opening situation of the facilities at each of our Ribble Estuary sites, changes that may be in place to keep everyone safe, and how you can help protect vulnerable wildlife during your visit: Traveling to Marshside / Hesketh Out Marsh Current government local restrictions effect both Marshside and Hesketh Out Marsh reserves. Please check restrictions in your area before traveling to any of our reserves. Marshside - Is in Sefton - Tier 3 Heasketh Out Marsh - Is in West Lancashire - Tier 2 Current government advice is for no nonessential ravel between tiers Marshside , We're delighted that the car park and both hides are open daily, 8.30am-5pm, along with all the trails. You’ll notice we’ve made some changes to help keep you and our team safe: When visiting us, please observe current guidance on social distancing and hygiene and follow all signage on-site. We've put hand sanitiser at the entrance to each hide, so please use it before going in. We also recommend you bring your own. Unless exempt, all those who can are required to wear a face covering in our hides. You'll see that we have spaced out the seating to allow for social distancing and so some windows are not in use - we have clearly marked these. Some are locked open and some are locked shut to avoid touching, so please leave them as you find them. You'll spot that we've got maximum numbers signposted at the entrance to the hides too, so please consider the amount of time you dwell in them on busy days, to allow everyone the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful wildlife in safety here. Due to limited staffing at the moment, our toilet remains closed for now. Please be mindful of our limited car parking capacity, particularly on sunny days, and don't park on the road. D o consider visiting at less busy times or have an alternative destination in mind if we are full when you get here. Normal car parking charges apply for non-members. RSPB members park for free - please place your membership card face down in your windscreen. (Images of the newly refurbished inside of Sandgrounders' hide, showing the socially distanced seating and window set up. Images by Wes Davies Hesketh Out Marsh We're pleased to say the car park is open, along with the trails. As with Marshside, please be mindful that it has limited capacity and can quickly become full in fine weather. D o consider visiting at less busy times or have an alternative destination in mind if we are full when you get here. Please do not park along Dib Road, as it causes an obstruction for our neighbours and other visitors. On-site, please observe current guidance on social distancing and hygiene and follow all signage. Ribble Discovery Centre We remain closed to the public here because w e’re having a makeover! Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund , we’re delighted that the Ribble Discovery Centre is being completely refurbished, along with other facilities and activities at Fairhaven Lake, as part of an exciting Fylde Council project. This means we are closed until March 2021. School and youth group bookings are being taken for April 2021 onwards. In the meantime, all our great products can be purchased from our other Lancashire store at the fabulous Leighton Moss or from our online shop . We will provide updates on this blog and social media (see links below) when we have more information. Thank you for your support and we’ll see you when our transformation is complete. Important to remember: It is a crucial time of year for our wildlife, as we move into migration season. As part of the Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve - both Marshside and Hesketh Out Marsh are incredibly important sites for a huge variety of species to raise their young and to rest on migration. Many birds rest and nest on the ground - they might not be obvious and can easily become disturbed by human activity, causing them to unnecessarily use up energy and so reduces their survival chances. With nests, parents being scared off can make the eggs or chicks go cold and not survive. When visiting our sites and elsewhere in the countryside, you can really help the wildlife by following these five important points: 1. Keep a look out – with fewer visitors during lockdown, wildlife may be closer than usual. Tread cautiously on verges and paths. 2. Stick to the designated paths – you can easily disturb wildlife by veering off-route. Download a trail map for Marshside here and Hesketh Out Marsh here to see where the designated trails are. 3. Keep dogs on leads - loose dogs can easily disturb ground-nesting birds, birds that are resting and other wildlife. 4. Back away – sharp alarm calls, birds with full beaks or coming unusually near to you could mean you’re too close and they may have chicks. Back up the way you came, being careful where you step. 5.Report anti-social behaviour – if you see anything suspicious, such as evidence of wildlife crime, fly-tipping or uncontrolled fires, report this to the relevant emergency service. Thank you for your continued support and patience. It really means a great deal to us. Keep up to date with changes to our Ribble sites by subscribing to this blog and if you're on social media, by following us on Facebook and Twitter . Stay safe. These colourful black-tailed godwits continue to grow in numbers at Marshside as more birds return from their breeding grounds - image by Wes Davies