Wildlife Sites in Greater Manchester
Doffcocker Lodge Local Nature Reserve, Bolton
Development of the Reserve
The reserve is based around two lodges which originally served a nearby bleachworks. Once a nationally important site for wintering wildfowl, it was saved from development by local residents which necessitated the need for repair works to the dam and temporary drainage of the lodges. Whilst not attaining its previous status, recovery has provided a Grade B Site of Biological Importance with reedbeds, marsh/fen, Willow scrub, young native woodland and wildflower meadows.
What can be seen
A range of birds still breed on the site including snipe, coot, moorhen, Canada geese, mallard, great crested grebe, mute swan in some years and common tern on the purpose built rafts. A range of other bird species can be seen in and around the reedbeds, scrub woodland and marsh/fen areas. Dragonflies are common around the watery habitats whilst butterflies dance across the meadow areas, marginal wetlands and woodland. Foraging bats are conspicuous at dusk on the warmer summer evenings and occasional roe deer visit the reserve.
When to visit
Spring – a variety of birds can be seen staking territories, mating and nesting. Calls of the grasshopper warbler, similar to the ticking noise of a bicycle wheel can be heard in the reedbed habitats – along with willow warbler, reed bunting and reed warbler.
Summer – our long range visitors the common terns from West or South Africa, fishing and nesting on the rafts. A good range of wildflowers and wetland plants also on display.
Winter – mainly wildfowl and ducks seeking to survive the winter months. Overwintering snipe can often be seen flying over the reedbeds.
All Year – The site changes appearance and character across the seasons with always something interesting to see. Some lovely views towards Winter Hill and the Pennine Moors can also be enjoyed.
The site is generally flat with a good circular path and numerous entrance links. Disabled access is possible from the car park and some southern entrances. A variation of habitats and scenery exist also making it interesting for younger visitors. A gentle walk around the main circular path is around ¾ of a mile and takes 15-20 minutes.
How to get there
A small, free car park is accessed off Chorley Old Road (A6226) by the scout hut, opposite Delph Hill Methodist Church. It is found 2 miles from Bolton town centre on the left before the traffic lights. From further afield, turn off the A58 ring road at its junction with the A6226 towards Bolton town centre and it is on the right just after the traffic lights.
The 519 bus from Bolton provides public transport and the 125 and 126 buses from Bolton, Horwich, Chorley also pass the reserve, all bus passengers alighting at the Doffcocker Inn, a local landmark.