Woolston Eyes Nature Reserve

An S.S.S.I. Managed by Woolston Eyes Conservation Group

About Us Officers and Trustees of the W.E.C.G. Committee Members

About Us

The Woolston Eyes Conservation Group (WECG) is a registered charity and our charity registration number is 700362.

The Group, a voluntary organisation formed in 1979, manages the rich and varied wildlife of the historical canal dredging deposit grounds with the agreement of the Manchester Ship Canal Company, owners of the land. The Group’s aim is to promote the study and conservation of the wildlife and habitat of the area with particular regard to the ornithology. In 1986 the Reserve (which is over 400 hectares) was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in order to protect its wintering wildfowl especially Teal, Shoveler and Pochard. In 2004 the SSSI was revised to include the nationally important breeding population of Black-necked Grebe, Pochard and Gadwall. In 2006 a redevelopment plan for No.1 bed necessitated a program to trap amphibians at the end of the breeding season and relocate them to a prepared site on the same bed . That work identified nationally important numbers of Frog, Toad, Common Newt and Great Crested Newt inhabited the Reserve. The 3,000 Great Crested Newts trapped and relocated, to our knowledge, promoted Woolston Eyes as the second most important site in the UK for the species.

The group undertakes management work to preserve and maximise the wildlife value of the Reserve, provides and maintains hides for the use of permit holders, keeps the paths open and discourages disturbance. The Group produces an Annual Report which summarises the work undertaken each year and the results obtained, including the scientific study of the Reserve’s flora and fauna. To carry out this work the group raises funds by the sale of Permits, Annual Reports and by applying for grants from various organisations. Permit Holders are encouraged to become involved in the Group’s activities. If you would like to take part, please contact the Chairman or any committee member below. Contact links open on clicking the names.

The Reserve is open 365 days a year from 08:00 to 20:00 hrs from 1st April to 31st October and from 08:00 to 16:00 hrs from 1st November to 31st March. Access is by permit and access key only with all Reserve entrance gates and vehicle barriers locked at all times.

Frank Linley, who died in October 2002, was a long-standing member of our committee who made highly significant contributions to the Conservation Group. He played a prominent role in the presentation of Annual Reports and Newsletters, established a database of members and initiated our first website. The Tower Hide has been dedicated to his memory.

WECG has had the privilege of the support of two nationally respected figures as our patrons;

Chris Mead, the eminent ornithologist, who died in January 2003 was for many years Patron of WECG and had visited the site from time to time.

Chris Packham, the well known Naturalist and Wildlife Broadcaster is now our patron. Chris is best known as the presenter of the BBC programmes Springwatch and Autumnwatch. He first visited the reserve in 2006 as presenter of the BBC wildlife series Natures Calendar, filming a section for the Spring Wetlands feature. Chris very kindly gave up his time on a chilly February evening in 2010 to entertain a packed house at Warrington’s Parr Hall with a talk and slideshow of his experiences as a naturalist and photographer in support of the group.

We must also recognise and thank Colin Woolf a leading UK wildlife artist who has generously contributed his wonderful artwork for the covers of our annual reports for a number of years. If you appreciate wildlife and stunning drawings and paintings visit Colin’s website admire his talent and perhaps invest in an original piece of art yourself? www.wildlifewatercolourpaintings.co.uk

Officers and Trustees of the W.E.C.G.

Chairman and Trustee: Brian Ankers brankers@msn.com

Vice Chairman and Trustee: David Bowman dsbowman123@gmail.com

Recorder: Daniel Owen woolstonsightings@gmail.com

Trustee: Brian Martin brianmartin1940@hotmail.com

Secretary/Treasurer: David Spencer david.p.spencer@outlook.com

Committee Members

John Blundell blundej@aol.com

David Hacket verandave2@btinternet.com

John Haddock johnhaddock@hotmail.co.uk

Sue Haddock susanmhaddock@yahoo.com

Alexander Mansfield am@lees.co.uk

Helen Wynn hlallan@live.co.uk