Welcome to our Nature Reserve

Apple Blossom Day

Saturday April 27th 2024, 12-4 pm.

Everyone is welcome to join us for a community get together in the walled garden to celebrate Apple Blossom Day. This is part of a nationwide event https://www.orchardnetwork.org.uk/orchard-blossom-day 

The orchard in the walled garden has undergone extensive renovation and replanting. Come and bask in the apple blossom. Get up close and personal with the apple flowers by viewing them under a microscope. Talk to our volunteers about the work being done to maintain the walled garden and nature reserve. We will also have folks from the Wirral tree planting scheme available for a chat. The artists Alison Bailey Smith’s giant flower sculptures will be on view in the garden.

Our special guest DJ Sam @dance4plantsliverpool will play a chilled blossom day mix. There will be some refreshments available, but you are welcome to bring a picnic and blanket. There is no charge for entry. Public transport is available. If driving please park in the car park near the entrance to Brotherton Park.


An AED heart defibrillator has now been installed in the Reserve. It is located by the double gates leading to the Visitor Centre and Rangers Office. If a situation arises where you believe someone is having a heart attack Call the emergency services on 999 and they will give you the code to unlock the box to access to the device. Then follow the simple basic instructions given on and by the device itself. This could save a life.

Ancient Woodland Officially Part of The Queen’s Green Canopy

We are delighted that Dibbinsdale Local Nature Reserve has been chosen as part of a nationwide network of 70 Ancient Woodlands to be dedicated to The Queen in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee.

The Queen’s Green Canopy recently announced the network of Ancient Woodlands and Ancient Trees across the United Kingdom which will form part of the Ancient Canopy to celebrate Her Majesty’s 70 years of service.

Dibbinsdale is Wirral’s largest ancient woodland and is not only classified as a Local Nature Reserve – in partnership with the adjacent Brotherton Park – it is also an Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Explaining why the council nominated Dibbinsdale for the recognition, the council’s Landscape Manager, Nicola Wallbank, said: “Set within a picturesque valley that once acted as a boundary between Saxon and Viking settlers on the Wirral, Dibbinsdale is unique for its diversity of surrounding habitats resulting in an abundance of wildlife. Neighbouring habitats include wildflower meadows, reed swamps and historic parkland.

“Dominated by a canopy of Oak, a visit to Dibbinsdale in Spring is not to be missed as anemones, bluebells, and celandines carpet the woodland floor. Home to an array of bird species, including tawny owls, woodpeckers, nuthatch, treecreepers, heron, kingfisher, skylark and numerous waterfowl, not to mention the abundance of bats.

Established over hundreds of years, the chosen woodlands and trees represent the diverse canopy of the four nations, it is a celebration of our living heritage. All the woodlands and trees have a story to tell. Some are famous specimens and others have a local significance. Fungi forays at Dibbinsdale are a delight for many in Autumn as are many other events run by the Friends of Dibbinsdale and Wirral Council rangers. It serves as a reminder that the entire peninsula was once a royal forest – the Forest of Wirral

These Ancient natural spaces hold significance and meaning for so many people in many different ways. They are symbols of community pride, places to connect socially and vital spaces for health and wellbeing activities.

By sharing the stories behind the Ancient woodlands and trees, as well as the incredible efforts that are made to protect them, The Queen’s Green Canopy aims to raise awareness of these treasured habitats and the importance of conserving them for future generations.

June 2022 —————————————————————————————————


The Friends of Dibbinsdale held the Annual General Meeting in Mid January and Peter Millar, out long term Chairman, has stepped down from the role and we are very pleased to welcome Tracey Moore as our new Chairperson.

Tracey Moore

Tracey Moore Chair of the Friends of Dibbinsdale

Storm Arwen (Nov 2021) did some major damage to trees in the park. Unfortunately they all seemed to fall onto the main paths causing serious blockages. They are now being cleared but the path from the carpark to St Patrick’s Well is still blocked. We hope to have it cleared by St Patrick’s day!

See our Newsletters to see what has been happening during the Covid 19 pandemic.

RDW 29/1/2022

Good News.  Repairs to all the bridges have now been completed.

RDW 16/4/2021 & 27/1/2022



Bridges severly damaged by storm Christoph flooding.

Please note that the bridge near the reed beds by the Vanderbyl  Ave. entrance, has been washed off its mountings by a fallen tree ( now wedged under the bridge).  This makes it unstable and not safe.  It has now slipped further since this photo was taken.

In addition the larger of the two bridges by the end of the boardwalk near Bodens Hey meadow has also been damaged by having two sleeper sections washed away. This makes it dangerous to cross.

Please take extra care in the vicinity of these bridges. 

Update – The damage to the bridges has now been assessed by structural engineers and action is in hand to get them repaired. 

RDW 13/2/2021


It’s Winter Warmer Time again!   Oh NO not in 2020.

The dreaded Covid -19 has claimed another victim. Sorry but we are not able to hold our traditional Winter Warmer BBQ event this year.

Last year we said “Come along and have some fun.” and lots of folk did indeed come and we all had a good time.  Lets hope that we will be able to get back to being able to hold events again soon.   Covid permitting perhaps we may have a Summer event……


On a more positive note – the Friends 0f Dibbinsdale have recently purchased a load of daffodil bulbs and the Volunteers have planted them around Spital Field – let’s hope they do well and provide a nice display in Springtime.

We have also bought two park seats and three benches to be installed at various locations around the Reserve.  Unfortunately the November lockdown has stopped the activities of the volunteers so the instalations may be a little delayed.

The Reserve is looking lovely with Autumn colours at present. Well worth a visit. But if you do come please remember to respect other visitors and maintain social distancing and follow the current Government regulations about meeting with others outside your household. (Feel free to wear a mask if you wish.)  Stay Safe.   6/Nov/2020.



The first signs of new growth for 2019 are in abundance.  There are loads of bulbs, which we planted last Autumn and also the year before, now sprouting and starting to show above the existing vegetation. We hope that they will provide a good display. We are particularly looking forward to a nice show near the car park and around the new picnic bench that we installed near the pond last year.

Elsewhere in the reserve look out for Scarlet Elf Cup fungus, which grows on dead wood, often associated with a rather pretty moss which contrasts with its bright red/orange colour. (not edible though).

This time of the year is also ideal for bird spotting. They are starting to get more vocal and active. Must be a bit of Spring in the air! They are also much easier to see as there are no leaves on the trees at present. Woodpeckers have been heard drumming this week.  (17/1/19)


The Winter Warmer was really good this year. The weather was ideal and loads of folk came along and enjoyed themselves.



The impact of the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) on 25th May 2018 will have an impact on how the Friends of Dibbinsdale manages its membership list and communications. A copy of our Privacy Statement is available on this site. Friends are encouraged to reply positively to today’s email from our Chairman.

It is now mid-May and the wildflowers are really putting on a good show. The early flowers, wood anenome and lesser celandine, are now fading but the bluebells remain and the cow parsley is really doing well. Do give us a visit and enjoy them for yourself.

Last week a Red Kite was spotted flying over Bodens Hey meadow… can we expect to see more?


Well the sleet and snow came but so did our hardy Friends and visitors. Many thanks to you all, it was great to see you there.  We hope you enjoyed yourselves and look forward to seeing you in the Reserve throughout the year and at any other events we run.

…..Do come along. All are welcome.



As part of our continual aim to promote the enjoyment of visiting Brotherton Park and Dibbinsdale Local Nature Reserve, we have now produced a Calendar for 2018. A big Thank You to all who submitted photos for consideration. Those chosen highlight the beauty and diversity of the landscape, wildlife and flora through the seasons. Copies of the calendar will be on sale at our Winter Warmer event on 9th December,


We are pleased to have been awarded a Wirral South In Bloom plaque which comes with a grant to be used to help us maintain and improve our floral displays.  This has been mostly used to buy  seed for our wildflower meadow near the carpark, and the remainder will go towards some bulbs to give us some Spring colour next year.  The photo shows Mike and Ron receiving the plaques from Fergus Adams who is the Constituency Manager (Wirral South).

The Ranger and his team of regular volunteers are delighted to announce that we have once again achieved the standards required in the Park to win a prestigious Green Flag Award.  Here are the Team (with a couple of helpers…) with the new Green Flag.



A big Thank You to all who submitted photos for consideration. Those chosen highlight the beauty and diversity we have here.  We have now produced a Calendar for 2018

Copies of the calendar will be on sale at our Winter Warmer event on 9th December,


We Had an excellent Winter Warmer event at the beginning of December (2016). An estimated 500 visitors came along and we hope you all enjoyed it.


Afternoon Tea with a Slice of Music held in June 2016 with musicians from the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra  was a resounding success (excuse the pun). The the music was excellent and the weather brilliant and everybody who came along thoroughly enjoyed it. 


On Sunday 22nd Nov 2015 the ladies and gents of the newly formed Merseyside Search and Rescue Team held a training exercise in the reserve.  Well done folks, glad to see you around, but lets hope we don’t have to call on your services!


Kingfishers.  Great news the kingfishers are back.  After being absent for the past two years we are delighted to see at least two back along the river.  There have been quite a few reliable sightings recently and one of our regular visitors has managed to get a decent photo.  The kingfishers disappeared as a result of the very hard winter in 2012/13 during which the river actually froze over for most of its length.

New Park Benches.  Two new benches have been installed, by the volunteer team, in the Spital Fields area of the park.  Great for relaxing in the sun and enjoying the wonderful views or just sitting and getting your breath back after climbing the ‘Tunnel Steps’. See the Volunteers Diary page for photos.

Work on a second outdoor shelter, that the Rangers tractor will actually fit into, is now completed. The old leanto shed was demolished with amazing ease as all the bases of the supports were rotten. The new one has been built to last!

Visitor Centre Developments. The roof of the Visitors Centre has been replaced/repaired. This should stop the leaking that made it damp and unsuitable for display of any dry materials.  We have also installed a large TV in the centre (kindly donated by a Friend) on which we can display pictures taken in the park.  If you have any photos  you would like to share with our visitors please send them to the ranger.(digital format only please)

Pond Work…The large fishing pond near the rangers office has been de-silted. This is to improve the nature of the pond and took about three days. Fishing during this work will not be advisable.  The pond cleared relatively quickly and fishing now seems back to normal. There has been much less algal bloom this year – it looks like the work was very beneficial.

We held our second  Winter Warmer on Dec 7th 2014 and it was a great success. Everybody who came seemed to enjoy themselves and have a good time. Making Xmas decorations proved to be very popular, (if not always ending up with the desired result!) as did the excellent burgers and of course all to the live carol singing from the choir.

Outdoor Theatre arrives in Dibbinsdale…..The Studio Players presented “Mary Queen of Scots” in the Walled Garden (behind the Visitor Centre) on Saturday 16th August .  Many of the audience arrived early and brought picnics.  The rain held off and an excellent evening was had by all.

A brief survey last April noted about 80 different plant species growing in the Reserve and there will undoubtedly be more to add to the list as more areas are surveyed and the Summer arrives. (More details to follow). A new technique for surveying the habitat called Rapid Assessment Method is now being trialed by Cheshire Wildlife Trust and several area within Dibbinsdale are now being surveyed this way. Boden’s Hey Meadow was full of wild flowers last June. There were significant areas of Yellow-Rattle (also called Hay-Rattle). This is very important as it helps keep the grasses in check and permits other wild flowers to grow.  These include common spotted orchids, a range of clovers (white, red & zig-zag), birdsfoot trefoil , black knapweed (aka hardhead) and betony. We have also found crosswort which has small flowers with a peculiar honey-like scent. In addition to the lovely wild flowers the meadow now also has a new seat This was designed and adorned with carved owls by Alan ,our Ranger. It was erected on site by a team from North Wirral Rotary Club.  For a good look at the seat and the great view it affords a visit is highly recommended.   Bodgers Shed.  A major project to build a Bodgers Shed for woodland crafts is now underway. The original shed was very old and had become unsafe.  The new structure is now complete and fitted out with traditional greenwood working equipment including pole lathes and shave horses. See the Projects page for details. Brotherton Park and Dibbinsdale Local Nature Reserve is located between
Bromborough and Spital on the Wirral. It broadly borders the course of the River Dibbin for almost two miles.  Many different wildlife habitats are represented in the Reserve including ancient woodland, willow carr, reed beds and wild flower meadows.  It also includes areas associated with the Victorian estate such as managed parkland, a walled garden and a fishing pond. There is also a Visitor Centre located, as is the Rangers Office, in the buildings that were once the estate stables.