Places to go – Martin Mere

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I’ve been away for awhile but I have been working hard believe me!  Well, my Dad has!  He has been helping me to “do up” my backyard.  We’ve nearly finished so I will do a full post about it soon and share photos and advice.  Today I decided to suggest another place to visit – one of my favourites: WWT Martin Mere.

Martin Mere is a wetland nature reserve near Burscough in Lancashire, managed by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.  I have had a soft spot for this place for a number of years now, because I volunteered with the wardens for a long time through my degree course, so it holds a lot of happy memories for me, regardless of being a great site with a lot to see!  So I was happy when my SO suggested we visited again and thought it was a great reason to get back working on my blog too.

It isn’t free to enter Martin Mere, and if I am honest it’s expensive at nearly £25 for the two of us.  However, if you become a member of the WWT in 30 days they will reimburse your entrance fee which is quite a saving on the overall cost for a year’s membership.

Martin Mere consists of both a “normal” nature reserve with hides and an enclosed area which they call the grounds and is home to nearly 100 species of exotic, rare or endangered birds and mammals, which is where we began our visit.

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As soon as we entered the grounds we were greeted by a gaggle of flamingos, ducks and opportunistic pigeons!  It was really nice walking through the grounds, seeing the huge variety of species and I imagine it would be a great place to take children, particularly if you buy some bird seed.  You’ll be surrounded!  Here are some of my favourite shots…

One of my favourites - Mr. Tufty!

One of my favourites – Mr. Tufty!

Mr. Pink Legs

Mr. Pink Legs

This poor little guy always seemed to miss out on the seed we threw...

This poor little guy always seemed to miss out on the seed we threw…

Shelduck and ducklings

Shelduck and ducklings

Our tribe of cupboard lovers after some food

Our tribe of cupboard lovers after some food

Martin Mere has some impressive wetland mammals on site too.  There’s a joyful family of Short Toe Asian Otters and more reclusive Beavers and they’re both pretty impressive I must say.  Here are some cute pics of the otters just to make you say aww!

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I had heard rumours that Martin Mere is currently home to a Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera) which is a rather rare species I have wanted to see for a long time and we set off hunting for it.  Happily it is fenced off by a rope and a sign saying “Bee Orchid” near the impressive Harrier Hide so it didn’t take us long (I’m lying actually we didn’t see it for looking and it took about 15 minutes!).  I can happily tick it off in my Flora guide (is this normal?), it’s a beauty isn’t it!?

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Near the Beaver enclosure, Martin Mere has planted up an “Eco Garden” with herbs, vegetables and flowers, it’s a quieter part of the site but it was great spending some time photographing the bees enjoy the flowers, this blog is called Bee Kinder after all!

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Thanks for reading, Martin Mere is a great place with loads of things to do and see, they frequently hold classes, workshops and talks too.  Visit their website or facebook group to find out more, and pay them a visit if you’re able – it’s a great place!

P.S Have you seen this app? It allows you to submit your bee counts to Friends of the Earth and will provide vital info to those monitoring populations.  It’s a very practical way to contribute and I daresay it will help improve your ID skills to boot!  Download it here, or from Google Play or the AppStore. See you soon

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Places to go – Inglenook Farm, Rainford

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This sunny weekend saw us make a visit to the beautiful Inglenook Farm in Rainford. I’ve been here a few times now and really enjoy it, and as you’re here reading, I thought it reasonable that you might enjoy it too, and so thought I would recommend it through a post!

Inglenook Farm is a working lavender / chamomile farm, which smells heavenly in summer! At the farm they create essential oils from their produce and sell a range of gorgeous lotions and potions on site in a very nicely presented little shop, where I was surprised but very pleased to find seedballs for sale! So of course I purchased a tin of the bee mix, I’ve got a “distribution location” in mind already, wink wink! I thought they were relatively inexpensive at £3.10 a tin, and they make great gifts.

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On site there’s also an art gallery, food market, girly craft shop and even an African themed gift shop.  There’s also a quaint cafe where you will find delicious home made cakes amongst other home made fayre! There’s some seating at the front of the building and if you’re lucky hens run around the lawn as you enjoy your food! They have farmers and craft markets at the weekend as well as the occasional special exhibitions so it’s worth checking out their website if you’re thinking of visiting.

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Swallows fly around the farm and fields at what seems to be 100 mph – we tried so many times to get a great shot and this was the best I’m afraid but when you see how fast they fly I’ve a feeling you might be impressed with this shot! As well as the lavender and hens there’s also a family of goats on the farm, with two twins born in March – just look at them!

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Even the car park was pretty, with loads of wild flowers, so I thought I’d leave you with a trio of gorgeous flowers to brighten your day! Left to right I have ID’d them as Ramping Fumitory (Fumaria muralis), Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) and Red Campion (Silene dioica).

Anyway how did you use that beautiful sunny weekend? Any new places to recommend? If so let us all know in the comments, many thanks!

flowers at inglenook

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