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Fishwick Local Nature Reserve and Recreation Ground

Fishwick Local Nature Reserve and Recreation Ground flaunts many picturesque nature spots. Retaining its coveted Green Flag Award since 2007, the reserve and grounds are supported by several partners and cover approximately 26ha.  

The reserve and grounds make the ideal place for a quiet stroll and for spotting wildlife. With previously derelict land transformed by landscaping and restoration work, Fishwick offers several miles of footpaths, seating areas for peaceful picnics and interpretation signage for an enriching experience. For something a little more out of the ordinary, the reserve also features a remnant orchard with 'Golden Spire' apples.

Habitat and wildlife

  • Woodlands
  • Grasslands
  • Wetland features


Fishwick's woodlands are the result of planting in the 1960s and 1970s, with trees native to Britain and the Northwest continuing to be introduced. The overall goal of the reserve's woodland is to encourage and benefit plant and animal species over a long period of time.

Throslock Wood, to the East of the reserve, has a wonderful natural atmosphere, having had woodland cover for several centuries. The wood is a Biological Heritage Site and features Oak trees and ground flora such as Bluebells, Wild Garlic, Campion, and Celandines.


Fishwick is home to seven grassland areas, all of which have been improved by the introduction of wildflower plants and seeds.

The wildflower meadows are being developed and managed to be typical of those found in hay meadows and wetter areas. These grasslands create the ideal habitat for insects, mammals, amphibians, and other wildlife.

Wetland features

With Fishwick Swamp being a Biological Heritage Site, the reserve's wetlands offer up an abundance of wildlife.  

Freshwater wetland features in Fishwick Bottoms comprise of three ponds created in 2007 and a ditch system which runs through the site. Thanks to volunteers on the site, three smaller ponds have also been dug and hold water for the majority of the year.

The newly dug ponds are full of life, home to a variety of aquatic plants, sticklebacks, newts, dragonflies, snails, and other invertebrates. The reserve is also home to larger species of fish in the ditch joining the River Ribble, resulting in heron and kingfisher being attracted to the site.

Fishwick Recreation Ground

Fishwick Recreation Ground boasts a dedicated BMX track, officially used by the Preston Pirates BMX Club. When the club aren't using the track, your daredevil side is invited to hop on your bike and practice some skills.

The grounds are also equipped for competitive games of football or friendly kickabouts. To book a football pitch visit Preston City Council - Football Pitches.

Management of Fishwick Local Nature Reserve

The nature reserve is managed by Preston City Council and maintained by the Park Rangers and volunteers.

Friends of Fishwick and Matthews

The friends of Fishwick and St Matthews are a community group concerned with the wards of Fishwick and St Matthews and work closely with the Preston City Council Parks Service. The group have secured a number of grants to carry out improvements in the nature reserve, including the installation of a mosaic celebrating the 2012 Guild and various woodland improvements.

For more details on the group visit Facebook - Friends of Fishwick & St Matthews Preston.


Fishwick is home to a number of volunteer work events and wildlife events throughout the year, including evening bat walks.

For details of current nature reserve and park events see our What's on.


Originally part of the natural escarpment known as Common Bank, the site is identified as being a wooded slope in the 1800s. By 1895, the wooded area had been partly cleared and the site is thought to have been part of Bridge End Farm.

By 1932 a brick and tile works, JJ Toppings Brickworks, had been built on the site and the escarpment had been cleared for brick making and the production of building sand. Records indicate that by 1956 the brick and tile works had been dismantled and the site was used as a clay pit and sand pit. The site was then used for the tipping of ash and domestic waste, prior to its reclamation and redevelopment as an athletics track and football pitch in the 1970s.

In 2014, remaining bricks from the JJ Toppings Brickworks were discovered by council workmen during improvements on the nature reserve. The bricks have since been used to create a flower planter which can be viewed in the grounds today.

How to get there

Fishwick Local Nature Reserve features many access points and can be accessed easily by car, bus, foot, and bike, with the Southeast section of the Guild Wheel running adjacent to the reserve.

The main entrances into the reserve are via the Recreation Ground on London Road or from the riverside car park behind the former Shaws Arms pub. There are also further access points off Brockholes View and Ashleigh Street.

Parking is available at the London Road entrance to the rear of Shaws Arms, by the side of the River Ribble.

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Map addresses for Fishwick Local Nature Reserve and Recreation Ground

  • Fishwick Local Nature Reserve, Preston, PR2 5AN.
  • Shaws Arms, 279 London Road, Preston, PR2 5AX.
  • Brockholes View, Preston, PR1 4XJ.
  • Ashleigh Street, Preston, PR1 4BE.