1. Bold Forest Park
South of St Helens, Bold Forest Park is an attempt to revitalise old colliery sites and knit together isolated fragments of existing woodland. It has become a haven for wildlife and important to the local economy. Summer wildflowers include bee and marsh orchids, and there’s a good diversity of butterflies such as large skippers and common blues.
2. Formby National Trust Reserve
Not just famous for its red squirrels, which are faring better after almost succumbing to squirrelpox virus in 2008, Formby is also worth a visit in the spring to hear its even rarer natterjack toads, which migrate to spawn in newly created ‘toad scrapes’ in the dunes.
3. Hale Marsh and Pickering’s Pasture
These two little-known wildlife areas are sandwiched between Liverpool Airport and Widnes. Hale Marsh attracts growing numbers of little egrets and black-tailed godwits, while Pickering’s Pasture is renowned for its variety of butterflies and dragonflies, as well as summer wildflowers including marsh orchids.
4. RSPB Marshside
Some 30km from the city centre but part of Merseyside, this classic wetland hosts wintering wildfowl and waders, brown hares and – most exciting of all – nesting avocets.
5. Seaforth Nature Reserve
A small 12.5ha reserve in the heart of Liverpool docks renowned for spring passage of little gulls, winter wader roosts and common terns in late summer. Access to Lancashire Wildlife Trust members only..