Many of our guests have little or no knowledge of the countryside whereas others have a depth of knowledge that is humbling so it essential to maintain that balance keeps both groups engaged during the walk round the reserve.
I have found a successful formula that seems to work; I include in my commentary some of the history of the reserve from the time of the last ice age where the gravel beds were laid down; stories of the times the Roman 20th Legion marched by on route from Coccium (Wigan) to Bremetennacum (Ribchester); the building of Lower Hall at Samlesbury across the river and its subsequent sacking by Robert the Bruce in 1322 and the grant of the land to Sir Robert de Lathom in the 13th century.
Pointing out the birds visiting the reserve and stories of their migration always interest visitors as well as pointing out our success in the numbers of breeding birds here at Brockholes.
Similarly identifying some of the 297 species of wildflowers, grasses, sedges and trees that grow within our 106 hectares present an ever changing opportunity for comments as they experience the changing seasons. Most visitors are fascinated by tales of poisonous plants, of plants used by herbalists and some of the old country names for plants that are all but forgotten.
|Many of these facts can be found within postings on Brockholes Volunteer but recent research has revealed a wealth of material in Malcolm Greenhalgh's book, "Ribble river and valley - a local and natural history.
As a member of the Wildlife Trust speaker team I have done a considerable amount of research in an attempt to keep my talks fresh and alive which spills over into my commentaries when leading reserve walks.
The four members of the speaker team, Rick Hall, Brian Ashworth, Malcolm Alderton and myself can provide talks for community groups around the county. For more information see: www.lancswt.org.uk/book-a-talk