Brotherton Park and Dibbinsdale LNR comprises of 47 hectares of semi-natural countryside along the valley of the River Dibbin. It is a popular area for informal recreation, providing a calm and characterful retreat for the surrounding urban conurbations of Spital and Bromborough. The reserve acts as a gateway to the wider countryside of mid-Wirral, with popular footpaths leading through the site to the rural villages of Raby Mere, Thornton Hough and Brimstage.
Brotherton Park and Dibbinsdale Local Nature Reserve familiarly known as Dibbinsdale is a collective park and local nature reserve managed by the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and located in Bromborough, Merseyside, England.
Dibbinsdale takes its name from the River Dibbin which flows through the area. It is thought to have formed part of the boundary in the 10th and 11th centuries between the Norse colony in Wirral, to the north and west, and Anglo-Saxon Mercia to the east and south. After the Norman Conquest, the whole area became part of the Hundred of Wirral.
The valley woodland is the largest and one of the finest examples of ancient woodland on Merseyside. Other notable habitats on the reserve include wildflower meadows, reed swamps and historic parkland.
The Ranger’s Office and Brotherton Nature Centre are situated around a pleasant courtyard at Woodlsee Cottages, with public toilets available when staff or volunteers are on site. There is a walled garden with a nursery for trees and wildflowers, an organic garden and composting demonstration area. There are interpretive displays about the history and wildlife of the area.
The nature reserve provides an attractive and stimulating environment for educational visits. A wide range of activities to suit all age groups are carried out with the help of the Ranger. Students can develop skills in many curriculum areas, particularly science and geography.
The Brotherton Nature Centre provides hospitality for groups of up to 30 people and equipment is available on loan for nature study. A variety of Ranger led activities and events take place throughout the year including guided walks, bird watching, fungal forays and volunteer task days.
In the 1800s the land on which Brotherton Park resides was part of an estate called ‘Woodslee’, this estate was bought in 1866 by a Liverpool Merchant called Robert Rankin who built ‘Woodslee’ house on the site as a wedding present for his daughter. The estate comprised Woodslee, servants cottages, a lake, stables, coach house, a walled garden and formal gardens with a rockery. At some stage it was sold William Johnston of Liverpool who is listed as living there in the 1901 Census. In 1919 the estate was bought by Lord Brotherton, an industrialist and member of parliament who donated the estate to the council in the 1930s, by the 1940s the house had become dilapidated and was demolished. In 1978 Brotherton Park and Dibbinsdale was designated a local nature reserve owing to the ancient woodland and became a single entity with much of Dibbinsdale donated by the Lancelyn Green family.