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Martin Mere WWT

Burscough, Lancashire

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Martin Mere  - WWT

Martin Mere is one of the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust centres, based in Lancashire. It covers 150 hectares and as well as being home to many wild wetland birds throughout the year it is also a permanent home for over 100 species of rare and endangered wetland birds from around the world and many of these can be found in its waterfowl garden, which has planned pathways to take you around the area so you get to see many of them.

See Larger Image African Grey Crowned Crane

See Larger Image Harrier Hide

There are 10 hides spread around the site overlooking the many areas of water and these allow you to see all the diversity of the annual visitors in a natural environment. Some of these hides are close to the waters edge so some birds do come close enough to photograph, one hide overlooks a pond like area which is surrounded by trees so smaller British birds can be seen both in the trees and when they come to the water for a drink.


The impressive Harrier Hide looks out across the reed beds, and open span of waterways with large green vegetation areas for the birds, to rest, give cover for their young and feed from. It has large window areas as well as the normal hide look out points, and a pair of binoculars, telescope or digiscope is preferential at this hide to be able to see the birds up close. But it is an impressive view.

Within the waterfowl garden you will find an array of wetland birds, colourful and being able to carry on their normal daily tasks, and close enough to photograph. The time of year you visit will have an impact on what behaviours you see, from those sunning themselves in the hot summer months, to those displaying to each other during their breeding cycles and the many offspring some have. Within this area you will find such species as ducks, geese, swans, flamingos, cranes, etc. watch the Hawaiian geese they will come up close as they like to nibble grain from your hand.

The paths within this area take you on a journey and you get to see the many different species some behind barriers to protect both them and you, but others are free to roam their enclosure amongst you, so sometimes you can get quite close up to photograph close head shots. This area of the park is colourful not only with the wildlife, but also some of the structures like this Japanese gateway, and the flora and fauna, but again what plants are on offer will depend on the time of year you visit.

See Larger Image A Bit of Flora

See Larger Image A view across the Mere

See Larger Image Japanese Gateway


When we visited last, at the end of 2006, they were in the process of building the beaver enclosures, but as you probably saw on BBC Autumnwatch 2007 the beavers are now there. They are European Beavers and are the worlds second largest rodent, and spend their time excavating canals and building dams and lodges. They are vegetarian and are fed everyday on root vegetables, leaves and fruit and this allows the visitor to get a glimpse of them, as being nocturnal you would not normally see them during daytime hours.

It is a good year-round wetland wildlife attraction. Each time you visit there will be something different to see. There are feeding times for both the permanent wildlife, and wild visitors so at times you can see close up some of the wildfowl that are there permanently and those that visit them. Information boards are provided so you can find out the names of what you are looking at and brief details of their natural habitat etc. Within the visitor centre there is a cafe, gift shop and a gallery. Also on site is an In Focus optics shop selling binoculars, telescopes and tripods.


Just a flavour of what can be seen, one list for the summer months, the other for a winter month. Winter sees spectacular flocks of pink-footed geese, can be up to 18,000 in number, gathering to feed.

1st June 2006
1st to 13th Dec 2007
See Larger Image

2 Black-winged stilts still sitting on eggs.

Hobby, (2 seen 31/5)

Garganey (male 31/5)

Shelduck and Pochard with young

15+ Tufted duck pairs

14 Gadwall

Kestrel, 3 Buzzard


Common sandpiper (31/5)

14 Avocet + 7 chicks

12 Dunlin (75+ 31/5)

Black-tailed Godwit

25+ Oystercatchers

Ruff (male in full breeding plumage 31/5)

Redshank + chicks

Snipe (drumming)

50+ Ringed Plover + 4-5 chicks

100+ Tree Sparrows with first broods


Sedge and Reed Warblers

Cuckoo, 40+ Swifts

Swallows, House Martins

1500 Whooper Swans
2000 Pink-footed Geese in to roost, with 800 on the reserve form mid-afternoon.

Birds of Prey; Merlin, Marsh Harrier, 2 Peregrines, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Common Buzzard, Barn Owl

2000 Lapwing
500 Shelduck
2000 Teal
2400 Mallard
400+ Pintail


10 Cormarant
Grey Heron
Jack Daw
20+ flocks of Long tailed Tit

Thrushes including Mistle, Song, Fieldfare, Redwing and Blackbirds

See Larger Image

See Larger Image Fungi


Further information Grid



WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre, Burscough, Lancs

Ceremonial County: Lancashire

Grid Reference:


Map Link:


Aerial photo:  



Best Times to Visit:

Winter months have a significantly higher number of birds, like whooper swans and geese due to our visitors from the colder north.





Other useful websites:


Nearby Locations:  
Other Relevant pages:  

Planning Grid


WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre, Burscough, Lancs

Grid Reference:


Getting there:

6 miles from Ormskirk and 10 miles from Southport, situated off the A59, it is signposted from the M61, M58 and M6. There is a No.302 bus from Ormskirk (except Sundays). Burscough railway station (on the Southport - Manchester line) is approximately two miles from the centre. Cyclists are always welcome, it is on two cycle routes.


Level access and hard-surfaced paths on main routs. Hides accessible to wheelchairs, with low level viewing windows and level access to ground floor of hides. Guide dogs only.


Plenty of FREE parking on site, with reserved bays for disabled visitors


Hides and easy paths for pushchairs, wheelchairs. Cafe, picnic tables, art/craft gallery, optical shop, gift and book shop,  baby changing unit, children's play area and children's activities. Accessible toilets in car-park and throughout the visitor centre.

Things To Do, See and Photograph:

Birds both wetland wildfowl, and British wild birds, 100 permanent species residents, Beavers, flora and fauna, landscape vistas, fungi, wood areas, insects.

What to take:

Binoculars, tripod, long lenses or even a digiscope. If visiting in winter make sure you wrap up warm, fingerless gloves would be useful as they keep you warm but allow ends of fingers to still be able to use camera.

Nature highlights:

Over 100 species of permanent wetland birds, on site like Hawaiian Geese, African Grey Crowned Crane, Flamingos as well as all the visiting wild wetland birds that visit at different times of the year. Other wild birds you might see include Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Merlin etc. Winter months visitors, Whooper Swans, Starling displays. And since 2007 Beavers.


WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre
Fish Lane




L40 0TA


01704 895181

Opening times:

Open daily 9.30am-5.30pm (5pm November - February) Closed Christmas Day.


Free to WWT Members. Adult 7.95, Concession (Students, Senior Citizens) 5.91, Child (4-16) 3.910, Family Ticket 21.36 Essential helpers assisting disabled visitors: Free

Photo Restrictions:

Photos can be taken for personal use only. All commercial/stock library photography must be agreed in advance and is subject to a fee.

Other Restrictions:  
Special Needs Access: The centre has level access and hard-surfaced paths on main routes. All hides accessible to wheelchairs.
Special Needs Facilities: Free wheelchair loan, toilets in car park and visitor centre
Children Facilities:  
Dogs Allowed: trained assistance dogs only

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Tracey Park Section: Wildlife Key:
Page Ref: martin_mere Topic: Wildfowl & Wetland Spaces  Last Updated: 11/2009

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