Creating 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 will be carried out by the Ribble Rivers Trust will make this a beautiful natural sanctuary for wildlife that will include a new walkway through the site and the longest fish pass in England. The work will be done by professional contractors but there will be plenty of projects where we need volunteers who enjoy 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 make improvements for the benefit of the natural environment and the public.
To advance the education of the public, schools and associations for the understanding of the lodge, including its fauna, flora, biodiversity and river catchment management.
To create an accessible Public Open Space for the enjoyment of the community.
Fish pass & dam works
The dam is in poor condition and in urgent need of repair so this will be our first priority. A fish pass will be constructed (the longest in England) and as it will pass through the upper face of the dam this work will be done in parallel. The fish will have resting pools as they make their way up to the lodge and an eel pass will run alongside the fish pass.
Over many years the lodge has trapped the silt washed down from upstream largely from quarrying activity and natural erosion. The plan involves the excavation of 4,000 cubic metres of silt that will be used to build up the land behind the banks. The banks will be constructed using a well-tested technique of "brash bundle receptors”. The willows around the lodge will be coppiced and used in the construction of the brash bundles. The site is heavily overgrown and central to the plan is for the trees to be coppiced and managed to open up the site for the benefit of wildlife and to create views.
A broad walkway will connect Whalley Road, close to the town centre, to the far end of Woone Lane close to the junction with Primrose Road. It will be step-free and suitable for wheelchairs, prams and buggies. Near the dam, there will be an observation point which will provide an uninterrupted view of the lodge. This water is already an important stopping off point for migrating wildfowl so we expect to attract plenty of keen ornithologists. The roadside wall that borders Woone Lane is planned to be replaced by a high kerb opening up fine views of the lodge.
With further fundraising, we plan to extend the walkway to provide a full circular walk around the lodge. There are also many educational projects we hope to run with local schools that can participate in monitoring the ecology and in wildlife surveys - but we expect that many of the best ideas will come from the community.
In a recent survey, there were 231 species of plants and trees identified and 28 species of birds. There were only a few mammals recorded but one future project is to ensure the habitat will encourage water voles to find this a place to flourish.
“The Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for.”
Pendle Hill dominates Clitheroe to the East and is the source of Mearley Brook from which the 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 in 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 greater benefit of 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 - for as much or as little of your time and your skills as you can manage. We are also looking for community-minded individuals and companies to become local heroes and join us as PCNT Partners to support the projects we hope to run. Every contribution will help us to 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
Partner with us
Help us soar
Contact Primrose Community Nature Trust
Primrose Studios, Primrose Road, Clitheroe. Lancs. BB7 1DR