Mere Sands Wood Visitor Centre and Cafe, Lancashire

The Project

Client: Lancashire Wildlife Trust
Design and Build: Portakabin
Frame and window supplier: Eltherington Group Ltd
Glass processor: Kwiktuf Ltd

When Mere Sands Wood, a nature reserve in West Lancashire, decided to create a new visitor centre and café, minimising its impact on the local wildlife was top of its list of priorities.

With 170 species of bird visitors, protecting its large avian population and minimising the risk of bird strikes to the new building’s glazing was of particular concern.

That’s why the reserve’s owner, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, opted to install Pilkington AviSafe™, a glass that features a special coating designed to be visible to our feathered friends, allowing them to greatly reduce the number of collisions.

A question of biology

Unfortunately, the reflection of vegetation, the sky, and other buildings are deceptive and can result in bird collisions. Birds in flight are unable to use visual signals such as window frames to distinguish the location of the glass, as a human would. The resulting collisions can often cause serious injury or death to the birds.

However, birds’ eyes can recognise light across parts of the UV spectrum. This is reflected in the design of Pilkington AviSafe™, which includes a uniquely patterned UV enhanced coating.

This means that, from a bird’s perspective, reflections become disrupted and the glass much more visible, warding them away from the structure and keeping them safe.

At Mere Sands Wood, the new building’s glazing consists of insulating glass units made of 6 mm Pilkington AviSafe™ as the outer pane and an inner pane of 4 mm Pilkington K Glass™ S low-e glass, providing protection for the birds as well as thermal insulation for the café’s visitors.

Leo Pyrah, marketing and VA manager at Pilkington UK, said: “Our mission as a company is to change our surroundings and improve our world, and through the development of Pilkington AviSafe™ we are able to help address the issue of bird collisions with glass and protect our cherished bird populations.

“It’s a happy coincidence that this installation at the Mere Sands Wood reserve is so close to our European Technical Centre at Lathom, where most of the work to develop this innovative product was carried out.

“In fact, we have installed Pilkington AviSafe™ at our site in the areas where we most commonly saw bird strikes. It has proved extremely effective, and I’m confident that the results will be equally positive at the reserve.”

Alice Singleton, marketing officer at Lancashire Wildlife Trust said: “We wanted our visitor centre and café to take advantage of the lovely views of our nature reserve and create a space where people could watch for wildlife comfortably.”

“It’s imperative for us that our buildings let us show the public the beauty of nature and the value of conserving it, while interfering with the wildlife we protect as little as possible. Pilkington AviSafe™ has allowed us to provide this without putting our many different species of bird at risk.”

The Mere Sands Wood site is a former sand quarry used to harvest minerals for glass manufacturing.

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Project Details
Surface Area
23 m²
Holmeswood Rd, Rufford, Ormskirk. L40 1TG
Building Type
  • Leisure
Lancheshire Wildlife Trust
About the Architect/Installer
Eltherington Group Ltd
Benefit Led Categories
  • Special Applications