News & Events

Our third Winter Warmer event is taking place on December 6th 2015.  Bring the family and friends.


Take the opportunity to have look at the new Bodgers shed and woodworking equipment in the walled garden, see how the work on renovating the Visitor Centre is progressing, and meet some of our Friends and Volunteers.  You can also enjoy an invigorating walk in the woods in the Winter sunshine (hopefully).

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.

The Spring 2014 newsletter has now been published.

Bug Hunt

A fun, FREE event. Young visitors to the reserve can come and explore the mini-beasts that live in the Reserve. We hope to find insects, spiders, woodlice and many other fascinating animals. Discover how to find them and how they can be studied.Suitable for all ages from 5yrs upwards (children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult please) Most of the time we will be outdoors looking for the mini-beasts so suitable clothing and footwear should be worn.

Dates for this event may be announced near the start of Summer 2014 – Not many came along -but those that did enjoyed themselves.

Annual General meeting

Held on  Wednesday 4th September at 6.00pm in the  Visitors Centre by the Rangers Office at Woodslee Cottages.

Nominations for the posts of Chair-person, Treasurer and Secretary were submitted.

Open Day and BBQ

Held in August. Plenty of interesting activities to see. Bring the whole family there should be something for everyone.  Details.

Woodland Walks

There should be plenty to see, and with any luck the bluebells will still be in bloom. Dates will be announced.

Ancient Woodland Wildlife Walk

The History of Dibbinsdale Guided Walk

Signs of Spring 2013

This year the Snowdrops were in full flower. The first flowers of the Lesser Celandine and Wood Anemone appeared.  In the following weeks they provided a beautiful display in the woods and by the river.  The cold and snow slightly delayed the mass flowering but given a couple of warmer sunny days and they will certainly be worth seeing.  Coltsfoot is also now in flower in several places – notably where the steps lead down to Otter’s Tunnel from Spital Fields.

RSPB Birdwatch

The new bird feeding area has now been operational for several weeks. Four birdtables and a set of suspended bird feeders have been kept topped up daily and the number of birds in the vicinity has definitely increased.  Recently the RSPB one hour survey was undertaken and 13 species were seen including bull finch, goldcrest and tree creeper as well as 6 nuthatches and numerous blue, great and coal tits. There was also a really smart looking fox.

Brotherton Park’s special visitors.  We were delighted to receive a visit from David & Christopher Brotherton-Ratcliffe with Ranger Alan Smailtrustees of the Charles Brotherton Trust after whom the park is named. They were David and Christopher Brotherton-Ratcliffe who came and spent the day with us on Tuesday (9/10/2012).  Here they can be seen with Alan by the Spital Fields entrance to the park.  We were blessed with fine weather and enjoyed a walk through the Park to Bodens Hey meadow and on up to Spital fields before returning to Woodslee to see the walled garden and Visitor Centre.


Woodslee Pond Algae Update –  the Environment Agency worked with us to place three artificial islands on the pond during September. These are to draw nutrients out of the pond water and reduce the likelihood of further algal blooms occurring next year. As an added bonus they will provide a suitable habitat for several species of marginal plant and the natural wildlife that that encourages.

School Holidays – Events looking at local mini-beasts have now organised. Follow the link for more info.


Once again in 2013 Brotherton Park and Dibbinsdale LNR have been awarded Green Flag status. The Green Flag Award® Scheme recognises and rewards the best green spaces in the country.


Blooming algae – Once again the algae in Woodslea pond have produced a significant bright green ‘bloom’ . This is the result of the weather and water conditions being just right for the algae to reproduce rapidly. This is despite the long term presence of the barley straw bales which are the recognised method of reducing algal growth. More fresh bales have been added (mid June) but they do take several weeks to have any impact on the problem.  In the meantime please heed the warning notices and avoid contact with the water. Especially do not let any contaminate any food and wash off any skin contact. Also and perhaps the most likely danger DO NOT let dogs drink the water.

Invasive Species – One of the big tasks in the Summer months is helping to remove the invasive Himalayan Balsam.  A series of volunteer events aimed at tackling these problem plants is planned. However at present (18/5/2012) the Balsam is not easily seen amongst the springtime vegetation nor is it big enough to pull up but we are ready and waiting…..  UPDATE Now , early July, we have just completed the first major blitz on the balsam. We do however have to keep vigilant as it can grow very rapidly and regenerate from any viable pieces left on the ground.

Friends of Dibbinsdale Logo.  We have decided to update our logo and letter head. Not least to include email contact details and this website address.  The new heading, as seen on our membership form includes the superb picture of a Kingfisher. This picture was actually taken in Dibbinsdale by Steve Round, who is both a professional wildlife photographer and a neighbour of the reserve. He has kindly agreed to let us use the image in our logo. Check out our ‘About Us‘ page to see it.

A Newsletter is published several times each year. The most recent edition can be viewed and downloaded as a .PDF file here. 2012 Autumn or here for previous editions. (If any Friends of Dibbinsdale members do not already receive this as an email please let us know and we will add you to our distribution list).

Tunnel Vision 

The darkness in the tunnel has long been an issue for many reserve users. The possibility of fitting some form of lighting has been considered but found to be impractical.  However in an attempt to overcome the feeling of walking ‘blindly’ forward through the tunnel we have fitted reflectors and painted the path edging white. This clearly helps define the safe pathway in the depths of the tunnel and hopefully makes it less daunting.

New Seat by WildFlower Meadow

At last we have added a plaque to the new seat by the flower meadow to show that it was provided by the Friends of Dibbinsdale. If the display of flowers is as good this year as last I suggest you book a place on the seat to enjoy the spectacle.

Bird Box Making

After a brief introduction about the importance of nest boxes we set to and got building. In what seemed to be no time at all everybody had a completed box – the kits seemed to fit together quite well. No bashed fingers. About a dozen were built and some had anti-squirrel metal hole surrounds fitted .   We all then went to put up a ‘tree trunk’ nest box near the driveway and continued around the park looking at the nest boxes already in place. A very enjoyable afternoon.


Cheshire Wildlife Trust 40th Birthday Celebration Tree Planting

On 12th November 2011 members of the Wirral Wildlife branch of the Cheshire Wildlife Trust chose to mark the Trusts 40th birthday by planting two native Black Poplar trees on the edge of the upper meadow. A Quince tree was also planted in the Walled Garden in commemoration of Ray Walkup.

 Here Steven Ross,  Chairman of Wirral Wildlife, is seen addressing fellow members on what was a bright but rather cool morning.