Seven Acres Local Nature Reserve is situated in the Bradshaw Brook Valley in the residential district of Breightmet in the east of Bolton.
Designated in 2004, the reserve provides a popular location to experience the countryside and wildlife with open views towards Winter Hill and the moors to the north of Bolton.
Originally open farmland, the site experienced small scale industrial use in the 19th Century and, following a period of dereliction, was developed into an informal recreational area for the local community. Woodland planting was undertaken to add to the existing woodland on site and a network of paths created with formal entrances and simple seating.
What Can be Seen:
The reserve now boasts grassland areas of over one hectare (ha) and native broadleaf woodland covering 9.6ha. Habitats of wildflower meadows, marshland area, developing heathland and pond and lodge are also managed for wildlife.
Bradshaw Brook runs the length of the Reserve with a footbridge around the mid-point.
The patchwork of habitats provides communities of butterflies, dragonflies and bird life with amphibians and deer present.
The network of paths, bridleways and cycleway stretch 2 km and provide access around the site from 15 entrance points.
Industrial heritage is prominent on the site and is blended well with the wildlife habitats.
When to Visit:
Spring - woodland flowering plants and bird life abounds.
Summer – an array of wildflowers and plants in differing habitat niches that support busy communities of insects, birds, pond life and small animals.
Autumn - Enjoy the autumn leaf colours and various plants and wildflowers setting seed.
Winter – A winter landscape with hardy wildlife venturing out and where industrial archaeology can be more easily seen.
All Year - an array of bird life is always present throughout the reserve.
The site has many access points and links to the wider Public Rights of Way footpath network.
With over 2km (2 ¼ miles) of footpath and cycleway, walks of varying length and duration may be enjoyed. For those who seek further involvement, the Friends of Seven Acres arrange regular events both on site and interesting visits to other places.
There is good access for disabled users at the Thicketford Road car park with a nice wide kissing-gate which also provides a RADAR key facility.
How to Get There:
Bus services stop by the reserve providing links from Bolton (561, 562 & 536) and from Bury and Rochdale (471).
Buses stop either by the main Bury Road entrance or on Thicketford Road at the northern end of the reserve.
Dedicated car parking provision is available off Thicketford Road leaving the A58 Bolton Ring Road turning east at the traffic light junction with Thicketford Road (Car Park postcode BL2 2NA)