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The flash is a 70-hectare (170-acre) lake created at the turn of the 20th century by coal mining subsidence, mainly from Bickershaw Colliery, and flooding. Now an extensive nature reserve with several bird hides and a network of tracks and footpaths, Pennington Flash Country Park is nationally renowned for its birdlife and is a classic example of natural regeneration. A variety of well-maintained paths cater to walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Ideal for disabled persons, the Flash's hides have ramps for wheelchair access.
One of the premier birdwatching sites in North West England, over 230 bird species have been recorded on site including: Black-faced Bunting, Nightingale, Marsh Harrier, Spoonbill and Leach's Storm-petrel. Additionally, a wide variety of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies can be spotted in the area.
Facilities include a small information centre, a nine-hole municipal golf course, a pay and display car park, a children's play area, picnic and recreation areas, bird watching facilities, fishing on certain shores, sailing, windsurfing and rowing through Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club, a mobile café and toilets.
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