Long Preston Deeps is a wetlands project on the River Ribble near Settle. The flood plain on the valley floor makes it perfect and the bird life is excellent. The walk continues via the village of Wigglesworth.
No doubt there is a certain self indulgence on this walk near my home in Long Preston. The deep Ribble valley that lies between Long Preston and Wigglesworth/Rathmell has long been the subject of some controversy. The floodplain has always been an excellent area for farming and bird life for centuries but it was in 2004 with the formation of the Long Preston Wet Grassland Project that it became protected (surely finishing off any plans for a bypass) and became one of the best wildlife preserves in the Dales. Working with the local farmers and part subsidised through the Rural Development Programme and the EEC various local agencies manage the project, striking a balance between the farmers, conservation and as important, controlled access to those who wish the enjoy this Area of Special Scientific Interest.
It is the birdlife which has been the biggest beneficiary with mating pairs of Lapwing, Curlew, Redshank and Snipe increasing along with the numbers of wintering birds. I am no expert on birds but it is a great area to walk through and look for yourself, apparently roe deer also roam the area but I have not seen them. The Long Preston Deeps walk cuts through the wetlands on the Ribble Way, passing through the grounds of Wigglesworth Hall before returning through the fields at the back of the pretty village of Wigglesworth.
One thing to be aware of. The eeps may be inaccessible after heavy rains…being a wetland!
Find out more by contacting through the Long Preston Deeps Project.
To find the return path follow the road south past Hollow Gill Bridge. A lane on your right brings you to the start of two footpaths. The right hand one crosses the fields to Wigglesworth and keeps parallel to the road on your left.
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