This wonderful secret can be discovered on the Ribble Estuary which stretches along the coast between the resorts of Southport and Lytham St Annes facing each other across the glistening water. It takes in natural attractions to the south of the estuary and continues up river to the east of Preston where gateway attractions are being developed.
This special area is one of the most important places for birdlife in Europe and home to internationally significant numbers of ducks, geese, swans and wading birds. It is a place of landscape contrasts; vast sun-baked sands, flocks of wading birds scurrying along the tidal edge, windswept dunes full of colourful butterflies and wildflowers, and marshes with gently grazing cattle. Low tide uncovers vast salt marshes and mudflats an apparent desolate wasteland, but the mud supports multitudes of small burrowing creatures, which feed the birds for which the Ribble Estuary is so important.
Steeped in history, the south side of the estuary was once home to the largest lake in England. Drainage in 17th century claimed most of the land for agriculture but smaller lakes, reedbeds, and wet meadows exist, attracting internationally important numbers of wildfowl. Pockets of sheltered woodland, sandy heaths and a network of freshwater ditches add to the variety and host nationally significant populations of dragonflies and water voles.
We invite you to discover this wildlife wonderland for yourselves and we are sure that you'll find it a place you will enjoy and want to return to.