There is so much wildlife to see at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre at this time of year, but it is often forgotten that it is also an amazing time to come and see an array of wildflowers both on the reserve and as you walk through the grounds.
With more than 97% of wildflower meadows being destroyed since the 1930’s it has never been so important to conserve and appreciate these areas. Here at Martin Mere we have nearly 150ha of wet grassland meadows which hold some very interesting and occasionally rare plant species. Although some of these plants may seem a little dull like the Golden Dock (Rumex maritimus) they all play a crucial role in ecosystem at Martin Mere.
Due to the way we manage the site many of the plant species thrive here where in other places they are in decline. We also have some site specialities such as Whorled Caraway (Carum verticillatum) Tubular Water-dropwort (Oenanthe fistulosa) and Fine-leaved Water-dropwort (Oenanthe aquatic). We also have some stunning Orchids which add a flash of colour to our grasslands species such as early marsh orchid is common place across the reserve.
But the plants aren’t just there for their beauty. They act as a barometer to health of the reserve; the more plant species present (in general) the healthier the reserve. The plants also provide a feeding ground for the wintering wildfowl and nesting sites for our breeding birds.
As you walk around the grounds the two best places to sit and relax amongst wildflowers are the WOW exhibit and Wild Walk where you can sit in peace and quiet amongst ragged robin, buttercups, oxeye daisies, fox gloves, marsh thistles and various grasses and sedges watching the wildlife these plants attract.
WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 9.30am to 6pm and parking is free of charge. Situated off the A59, it is signposted from the M61, M58 and M6. The Centre is also accessible via the Southport to Manchester and the Liverpool to Preston line by train from Burscough Rail Stations. Visit the web site http://www.wwt.org.uk/martinmere/ to find out what’s on all year round at Martin Mere and the other eight WWT Wetland Centres.
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