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Broad Ees Dole Local Nature Reserve


The Wetland at Broad Ees Dole in full leaf during the summer.

Broad Ees Dole is an important wildlife refuge in the busy Sale Water Park site. Although there are no footpaths leading through the Dole, the footpaths around the perimeter of the site provide excellent viewpoints to watch the bird life for which the site is so important.

The unusual name of this site explains its past use: Ees is a word to describe a wetland, whilst Dole originally referred to a plot of land allotted to the poor. Until the 1970s, this flood meadow was used as pasture. In times of heavy rain, sluice gates were opened and the area would be submerged in water that came gushing out of the swollen river.
During the excavation of the lake at Sale Water Park in the 1970s, the site was used for parking construction vehicles and for washing gravel. The weight of heavy machinery compacted the soil making it prone to water logging, whilst the gravel washing created areas of fine silt. As a result, Broad Ees Dole became an area of marshland.

In the 1980s, a major project took place to radically redesign Broad Ees Dole, creating a wetland area that could be managed to improve the wildlife value of the site for bird life in particular. Although there is a lake just metres away at Sale Water Park, it is too deep to provide food for many bird species. In contrast, the wetland created at Broad Ees Dole has shallow sloping sides. The water levels can be controlled in order to expose mud banks to the beaks of wading birds, who probe the silt for invertebrates.

The project won the Mersey Basin Campaign Award for Creative Conservation in 1998, and became a nationally important site for birds. In 2003, Broad Ees Dole became the first site in Trafford to be recognised by English Nature as a Local Nature Reserve. It has achieved this status mainly because of its importance to migratory birds and the increasing diversity of its plant life, but also because of its accessibility and the continued management work which the Wardens carry out.

Broad Ees Dole can be reached by following the track behind the Mersey Valley Visitor Centre at Sale Water Park. There is also access to the site from the River Mersey, downstream from Jackson’s Boat Bridge.

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Click here to find out more about Broad Ees Dole and Local Nature Reserves.



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