GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

Mere Sands Wood - Rufford Lancashire Walk

2 miles (2.5 km)

Follow the footpaths around this delightful nature reserve on this circular walk in Rufford, Lancashire. The reserve covers 100 acres and consists of several small lakes, reedbeds, broadleaved and conifer woodland, wet meadows and heaths. It's fantastic for wildlife spotting with Roe Deer, red squirrels and foxes to look out for in the woodland areas. Many water loving birds also visit the reserve such as Kingfisher, Reed Buntings, Water Rail, Great Crested and Little Grebes.
There is a reserve car park off Holmeswood Road where you can start the walk. You can also visit Mere Sands Wood by public transport though. Rufford train station is very close by and if you alight there you could also visit Rufford Old Hall. The 16th century hall has some nice gardens and grounds to explore.
If you are coming by bike then regional cycle route 91 of the Lancashire cycleway is a good option. You can follow the cycleway from Chorley or Leyland via Bretherton.
If you enjoy this walk then you could also visit the splendid Martin Mere. Here you can look out for otters, flamingos, beavers and thousands of water loving birds. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal also passes the reserve so this is another good option if you would like to extend your walking in the area. Our Burscough Canal Walk starts at Rufford Hall and follows the Rufford Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal to Burscough. It's easy to pick up from the reserve and a really nice stretch of the canal with pretty locks, old bridges and nice views of the surrounding Lancashire countryside.
Mere Sands Wood is located near to the towns of Southport and Ormskirk.


L40 1TG - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations

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Mere Sands Wood OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking

Mere Sands Wood Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking

Further Information and Other Local Ideas

To the north is Hesketh Bank where you can explore the RSPB's Hesketh Out MarshesNature Reserve. The reserve is a great place for bird spotting on the Ribble Estuary. Near here there's also Longton and the Longton Brickcroft Nature Reserve which includes picturesque ponds, pleasant footpaths and a visitor centre with displays about the reserve's habitats and wildlife.


Young Kingfisher, Mere Sands Wood, July 2009

Young Kingfisher, Mere Sands Wood

Mere Sands Wood - - 332507

One of the pits soon after the area was handed over to the Lancashire Naturalists Trust. Considerable regeneration has occurred since.

Mere Sands Wood - - 935294

View from Rufford Hide

Mere Sands Wood Visitor Centre - - 58787

Mere Sands Wood Visitor Centre. Mere Sands Wood is owned by The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside and claims that the site's 42 hectares of woodland, lakes and heath are nationally important for their wildlife and geology.


GPS Files

GPX File

Mere Sands Wood.gpx (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold>Download Linked File)

Memory Map Route

Mere Sands Wood.mmo (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold >Download Linked File)