It is a truth universally acknowledged that most of us will not visit local attractions or local beauty spots for the simple reason of their proximity. Crosby beach, a mere 7 miles away, was a reluctant stand-in for a walk, when there wasn’t enough time for a proper walk. No, a proper walk involved preparation, sandwiches, flask, water, backpack, bundling the dogs in the car and travelling for a couple of hours before reaching the start of the walk then, upon completion, driving back and getting snarled up in slow-moving traffic. Now that was a proper day out.
Anyone familiar with my blogs will know that that Crosby beach has become a permanent feature in my life and, as much as I still enjoy a proper day out and the tiring travel out to North Wales or across the Pennines, I have become more appreciative of what is on my doorstep. It has taken me over twenty years to realise that just up the road from me, about 30 minutes drive away, is an oasis of beauty and tranquillity on the flatlands of East Lancashire. I’ve known of the existence of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre at Martin Mere for as long as I’ve been here, but never actually got round to visiting. Until last month, that is, on a cold, rather wet and cloudy day in early May – it was the weekend of the May Day bank holiday, so of course the forecast was for rain. I got there early and thought I would spend a few hours there before the mid-afternoon rain arrived, which they duly did, but a little bit ahead of schedule, but no matter, for by then I was hooked. I had done a circuit of the main attractions of the centre, walked for miles around the perimeter, sat for an hour in a hide and when the rains came, just pulled out my waterproof coat and went round again.