West Field is 3.2 ha (approx. 8 acres), on the right of the Long Pads footpath, going towards the canal.
- Prior to the Fairfield Association buying this field, it was farmed by Adrian Gifford, the tenant farmer who lived at Abraham Heights Farm. It was part meadow, producing a hay crop and part pasture, grazed by dairy cattle.
- Before generations of farmers drained the field it would have been marshland, rich in birdlife.
- When the Fairfield Association bought the land in 2014 land drains were destroyed and a pond dug, to create a habitat for wading birds.
- Although the area flooded after heavy rain, the pond rapidly drained until in 2021 an old stone-lined drain was discovered running the length of the field to Lucy Brook. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust broke up the network of pipes leading to this drain and created a second pond. Both ponds now hold water.
- Hedges were planted along the southern border and along the brook, and the corners planted up with shrubs.
- A mixture of hedge and spinney was planted in 2024, on the inside of the existing, poor-quality hedge along the western border. They will, in time, merge to form a dense and wide hedgerow.
- Two ponds lie in the middle of the field, one fenced to protect it from cattle, and allow pond-life to develop, the other open for the cattle to drink.
- There is a good example of hedge laying along the southern border of the field.
- White Park Cattle graze
- The path hedge is trimmed in winter.
- Cattle graze on rotation.
- The hedgerow planting that we have done could be developed to create a wildlife corridor linked to an extended Pony Wood.
Look out for
Pink foot geese on the drumlin (the hill behind West Field). The sometimes fly over into West Field but they prefer grazing on short, sheep-nibbled grass.
We maintain a record of how the various areas of Nature Reserve are progressing. Photographs have been taken on roughly 5 occasions each year: March, mid-May, late June, early August and late September. Click on an image to launch the survey photograph album.
Photographs launch in an album in Google Photos and should appear in date order in the album. To find out the date particular photos were taken, first select the photo and then select the ‘i’ icon (top-right of screen) to bring up its properties.