The Wigan Flashes Conservation and Community Group was formed in 1992. The idea was that the Group would help Wigan Council formulate a plan for the management of the Flashes, which had great potential for use as a nature reserve and public amenity for the people of Wigan and District.
The Group was formed of local residents; amateur naturalists; fishermen; bird-watchers; Wigan Sailing Club; Wigan Youth Service Outdoor Activities Centre and anyone who had an interest in seeing the Flashes develop. From the outset it was decided that membership of the Group should be free and that the only payment asked of members would be an interest in the improvement of the Flashes. Membership of WFCCG is still free.
The Group very quickly realised the need for a warden or ranger service at the Flashes and campaigned long and hard for the installation of a dedicated site manager. In 1999 Mark Champion was installed as The Wigan Flashes Project Officer and at about the same time WFCCG took the decision to become a self-financing voluntary Group. This enabled the Group to work with the Project Officer and also raise money to finance many important projects to enhance and improve the Flashes.
The Group has raised money in partnership with The Lancashire Wildlife TRust and in its own right - to date the group has raised nearly 3/4 of a million pounds for conservation work and environmental improvments including paths , reedbed work new gateways with artistic content Designed by Hawkley Hall School (www.hawkleyhall.wigan.sch.uk).
Future aims of the Group include the purchase of seats to be sited at suitable viewpoints around the Flashes. The improvement of that stretch of footpath which runs between the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and Westwood and Pearsons Flashes and the building of a footbridge across the Canal on the two existing bridge abutments near Bryn Marsh. This last item has been a long standing aim of the Group since it would form a convenient link between Bryn Marsh and Horrocks Flash, allowing people to visit both sites without having to make the 3 kilometre detour across Moss Bridge. It would also enable people to make a longer, circular, canalside walk from Poolstock Lock to Bryn Marsh.