As we are now beginning to see the easing of some of the restrictions on travel and spending time in green space, the staff here on the Ribble Estuary have been exploring ways in which we can re-open our sites. Crucially we need to make sure that it is safe for our staff, volunteers and visitors, and the wildlife that calls them home.

Firstly, we are asking people to please stick to visiting reserves within your local area. We know the temptation may be to travel out to your favourite reserve, but please try to keep local, it hopefully won't be long before we will be out enjoying more of our amazing countryside. 

The situation at each of our Ribble reserves is different, depending on the circumstances:

  • The Ribble Discovery Centre remains closed for now. We will only be able to open it when visitor centres and non-essential shops are allowed to be re-opened, but also when we can be confident that we can do so safely for our visitors, staff and volunteers. In the meantime, check out the RSPB online shop for all your bird food needs.

  • At Marshside, we have re-opened the trails and car park. Please be mindful that it has limited capacity and can quickly become full in fine weather. Please do not park on the road.
    We have taken the decision to keep the hides and toilet closed here for now. We will only re-open these facilities when we can be confident it is safe for our staff, volunteers and visitors. 

  • We have re-opened the car park at Hesketh Out Marsh. As with Marshside, please be mindful that it has limited capacity and can quickly become full in fine weather. Please do not park along Dib Road, as it causes an obstruction.

     When visiting the reserves, please be respectful of other people's personal space and follow the government advice around social distancing and hygiene. We want our reserves to continue to be a place where people feel safe and welcome to enjoy the special wildlife of the Ribble Estuary.

It is a crucial time of year for our wildlife. Marshside and Hesketh Out Marsh are incredibly important sites for a huge variety of species to raise their young. Many birds nest on the ground -  they might not be obvious and the parents can easily become disturbed, causing their eggs or chicks in the nest to go cold. If you choose to visit our sites, you can really help them by following these important five points: 

1. Keep a look out – with fewer visitors during lockdown, wildlife may be closer than usual. Tread cautiously on verges and paths.

2. Stick to the designated paths – you can easily disturb wildlife by veering off-route. Download a trail map for Marshside here and Hesketh Out Marsh here to see where the designated trails are.

3. Keep dogs on leads - loose dogs can easily disturb ground-nesting birds and other wildlife. 

4. Back away – sharp alarm calls, birds with full beaks or coming unusually near to you could mean you’re too close to chicks. Back up the way you came, being careful where you step.

5.Report anti-social behaviour – if you see anything suspicious, such as evidence of wildlife crime, fly-tipping or uncontrolled fires, report this to the relevant emergency service. 

Thank you for your continued support and patience. It really means a great deal to us. In the meantime, stay safe, keep following all government guidelines wherever you live, and we look forward to welcoming you back. 

Image: Marshside by David Morris

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