Gorse Hill Nature Reserve in Aughton, Ormskirk is situated on the northern and western slopes of Gaw Hill, a sandstone ridge offering spectacular views across the West Lancashire Plain.
Public footpaths run through the Reserve and are open all year providing vantage points to view across the Liverpool Basin to the Welsh Hills beyond, along the coastline to Southport and Blackpool and the Cumbrian hills beyond.
Public footpaths also provide views into some of our meadows and woodlands and, in autumn, trees provide a colourful backdrop to a leisurely stroll.
The Visitor Information Cabin, small car park and access to the woodland walk in Cabin Wood is currently only available on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The Reserve, founded in 1996, is the flagship project of the Northwest Ecological Trust. It has been developed from a prairie landscape and now provides a rich and diverse habitat for wildlife.
Several native mixed woodlands have been planted with approximately 20,000 native trees including species such as Oak, Ash, Beech, Rowan, Downy and Silver Birch, Alder, Willow, Hazel, Holly and Scots Pine.
Over five miles of native hedgerow have been planted comprising mainly of Hawthorn and Blackthorn, restoring ancient field boundaries.
An important part of the early development of the Reserve was the restoration of the original field ponds and currently there are eight ponds with associated reed beds and wetland areas, adding to the rich diversity of wildlife. We can now boast of smooth, palmate and the rare great-crested newts that have made the Reserve home.
An organic orchard was established in December 2005 to grow and preserve old
traditional varieties such as Ellison Orange, Ribston Pippin and Howgate Wonder. There are currently 100 trees, mainly culinary and dessert apples.
Wildflower hay meadows continue to be developed and planted with wildflowers grown in our polytunnel and the hay provides a valuable source of income for the Trust. Wildflowers abound throughout the Reserve, both planted and self-seeded and add a rich tapestry of colour in Spring and Summer.
Why not come and see for yourself?
Public footpaths unrestricted access
Information Cabin, small car park and Cabin Wood woodland walk open on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the year, 9.30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
On the first Sunday of each month starting Sunday 1st March 2015 the Information Cabin, small car park and Cabin Wood woodland walk will be open from 10.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Refreshments will be on sale during these hours.
On each of these Sundays there will be a guided walk from 1.30 p.m. to 3 p.m. to parts of the Reserve not normally open.
Admission and Sunday walks are free