Fishwick Bottoms - aiming for Local Nature Reserve status!
Fishwick Bottoms is one of our green spaces alongside the Ribble in Preston which offers local residents vital space to breathe, and The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and N. Merseyside are aiming for a significant part of this diverse countryside habitat to attain Local Nature Reserve status.
Fishwick Bottoms has been recognised as locally significant for wildlife in the 1992 Preston Wildlife Survey and consultation with the local community is currently underway regarding its future management when the site is designated as an LNR.
See The Wildlife Trust , who are working alongside Lancashire County Council , English Nature, and other organisations on this project.
Preston City Council are also involved - presumably not the department who have earmarked Fishwick Bottoms as ripe for building development as part of the Riverworks Project (Document 05: Riverside East) as here Fishwick Bottoms is envisaged as having 'commercial office uses' and 'residential development' alongside the more positive uses for this green space. Riverworks also aims to concretise the wildife-important riverbanks all along Fishwick Bottoms to Lower Brockholes, for boat moorings.
As Lancashire County Council recognise, 'the natural escarpment of the site is mainly woodland and shrubs, whilst the floodplain area is part scrub, swamp, grassland and wildflower meadow', and as such, offers diverse wildlife habitats and recreation for local people.
LCC claim the proposed Local Nature Reserve (LNR) area to the North of the Fishwick Bottoms site (parts of the Western area is already a designated LNR) will offer many benefits: 'As an LNR the site will be managed for use by both people and wildlife. The site will offer an opportunity for people to study and learn about nature as well as enjoy it. There are over 1,000 LNRs in England including former landfill sites like Fishwick. LNRs make an important contribution to biodiversity.
Wildlife management of the site will involve woodland management, protection of veteran trees, scrub removal and removal of invasive species like Japanese Knotweed. Where necessary new planting will be introduced to enhance habitats and encourage biodiversity. A wetland area is proposed for the Fishwick Terrace Swamp area. Other measures to enhance the wildlife habitat will include the introduction of bat boxes and improvements to drainage ditches to encourage water vole habitats.
The management of the site as an LNR will also involve the opening up of the site for public access. New pathways into the site are proposed which will allow access into the site from most directions. Existing access points include steps from Brockholes View and informal access from Fishwick Bottoms. Trodden paths have been created into the site from Walton View and Watery Lane. The exact route of the new pathways will be subject to public consultation and ecological advice'.
The Wildlife Trust are instigating the development of Fishwick Bottoms as an LNR (which will be considered for official designation by English Nature) and are currently consulting local residents about these plans. As the LNR designation is running alongside the development of an athletics track on the Western side, there are some concerns about noise from the tannoy system and traffic problems, but over 90% of local residents are strongly in favour of protecting wildlife and habitats at Fishwick Bottoms.
The final consultation sesssion is being held by The Wildlife Trust on Thursday 24th August at the YMCA on Samuel Street, Preston, 6-9pm. Come along and support Fishwick Bottoms as your newest Local Nature Reserve!
Let us know what you think - contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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