Gorse Hill Nature Reserve

New Reserve Sign on Public Footpath Photo by Su Haselton

New Reserve Sign on Public Footpath
Photo by Su Haselton

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.

One of the views from Sandstone Outcrop public footpath
Photo by Su Haselton

Autumn Glory
Photo by Su Haselton

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.

Woodland Walk Cabin Wood
Photo by Su Haselton










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.



Blackthorn Blossom
Photo by Su Haselton

Over five miles of native hedgerow have been planted comprising mainly of Hawthorn and Blackthorn, restoring ancient field boundaries.


Seldom Pond in Cabin Wood
Photo by Su Haselton






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

Apples Galore
Photo by Jonathan Atkins

traditional varieties such as Ellison Orange, Ribston Pippin and Howgate Wonder.  There are currently 100 trees, mainly culinary and dessert apples.


Ox-eye daisies Photo by Paul Melling

Ox-eye daisies
Photo by Paul Melling



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?

Opening times:

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.

For our Sunday opening dates and times and other events please see our Home Page.  

Admission and Sunday walks are free


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