A Natural Environment in the Heart of Clitheroe.
Primrose Community Nature Trust has been formed to manage the site for the benefit of the community and wildlife. It is perhaps the most exciting development of a community space in the town since the Castle Grounds were purchased by the Council in 1920. Despite being severely neglected, the site is already listed as a Biological Heritage Site. The extensive restoration work that was carried out by the Ribble Rivers Trust has created a beautiful natural sanctuary for wildlife that has now been extended with a new walk and bridge. The fish pass was briefly the longest Alaskan fish pass in England and further work done in late 2022 has ensured it is operating as expected. The maintenance of the site is undertaken by volunteers with specialist contractors engaged for tree maintenance and other skilled tasks. The wildlife is returning and flourishing and there will be plenty of projects where we need volunteers who like fun and hard work. If you can help please register your interest at the bottom of this page
Primrose Community Nature Trust
We are a not for profit organization supported by donations and the Ribble Valley Borough Council and we are currently applying to the Charities Commission for charitable status
We have 3 principal objectives.
- To conserve and rehabilitate the Lodge for environmental protection and improvements for the benefit of the natural environment and public.
- To advance the education of the public, schools and associations of the understanding fo Primrose Lodge including its fauna, flora, biodiversity and river catchment management.
- To promote and improve the enjoyment and access as a Public Open Space.
Project Plan for the completed works was managed by the Ribble Rivers Trust
Fish pass & Dam works
The dam was in poor condition and in urgent need of repairs. The completed Alaskan fish pass was the longest of its type in England. The fishes have resting pools as they make their way up to the lodge and parallel to the fish pass is an eel pass. Trout have been caught upstream and radio tagged then placed in the river below the dam. We are pleased to say that most are able to make their way up the pass.
The lodge was heavily silted as the lodge has trapped the silt washed down for upstream historical activity and natural erosion. Nearly 4,000 cubic metres was excavated and used to build up the land behind the banks. The willows around the lodge were coppiced and used in the construction of the brash bundles banks. The site was heavily overgrown and has now been opened up for the benefit of wildlife and to create views. We have seen that the silt is building up in certain places and we have plans for a further de-silting operation a few years from now. Photo of a Little Egret taken from the new bridge by John Westacott
Paths and Bridges
A walkway now connects Whalley Road close to the town centre will the Woone lane close to the junction with George Street. It has step-free access and is suitable for wheelchairs, prams and buggies. The observation point provides an uninterrupted view of the lodge. This water is already an important stopping off point for migrating wildfowl and we can now observe their movement.
The 2nd Phase is Complete
Construction is now complete of the new bridge closer to St Jame's School with a path that follows the river to the Monet style bridges. This makes it even easier for disabled access and particularly for mobility scooters to enjoy the Reserve. The drainage channel had pipes from Whaley Road that are discharging polluted water. To clean this up, we have planted reeds in the channel that will filter out the pollutants. This change will improve the water quality for the aquatic life in the lodge and further down river.
Work has started on the feasibility of building a circular path and a link through to Holmes Mill. A woodland walk is expected to be constructed on the Whalley Road side of the lodge as the next phase. This will connect with a full accessible path and bridge running from the observation platform to the dam, where there will be another observation point. Planning is at an early stage and we will need the funds for this extension.
“The Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for.”
Pendle Hill dominates Clitheroe to the south and is the source of Mearley Brook from which Primrose Lodge was formed. It was created to supply the adjacent Primrose Mill, opened for cotton spinning in 1787; it was only the second major mill to be built in the area after the one at Low Moor. They marked the arrival of the industrial revolution to Clitheroe and as such were important landmarks in the area. Subsequently Primrose Mill was used for calico printing and later became a paper mill. Meanwhile Mearley Brook had become an important source of water power for a series of smaller mills built along its banks. However, the paper mill at Primrose had a relatively short life, being closed by 1890, but the lodge continued to feed the nearby Lower Mill which ultimately became a bleaching and dying works and continued to operate until 1963. The Lodge prevented upstream migration of a number of aquatic species and has created artificial sediment downstream. It is now redundant so the next chapter is to address these issues for the great benefit of the wildlife.
You can make a difference.
Your support is vital to our work at Primrose Community Nature Trust. There are many ways you can contribute, a little of your time and your skill would be amazing. We are also looking for community-minded individuals and companies to become local heroes and become a PCNT Partner to aid some of the projects we hope to run. Every little way you commit helps us fulfil our mission. Learn more about how you can get involved and take advantage of the opportunity to make a real difference to our wonderful community.
Volunteer your time
Register so we can contact you
Learning through experience.
Make a Donation
Help the Reserve Grow
Partner with us
Help Us Soar