Salisbury Woodland is a an attractive green space, planted in the mid 1930’s to serve as a public recreation area as well as shelterbelt for Stanley Park Golf Course. The woodland has significant local and regional ecological value and was designated a County Biological Heritage Site in 1993 for its epiphytic flora, which includes lichens, fungi and moss species. Blackpool Council’s Ranger Service manages the site with assistance from Volunteer Rangers, Millennium Volunteers and MBW Training.
The gardens boast many native and exotic trees and shrubs, giving you the opportunity to admire species of many countries, within a few acres of land. The design of the gardens takes full advantage of the natural features of the landscape with intimate paths winding through the dappled shade and over the stream, amidst the hum of insects and cheerful bird song.
A diversity of wildlife resides here. If you look carefully, you will see birds such as Kingfishers darting along the stream as well as Tree creeper, Greater spotted woodpecker and Blackcap. The woodland also supports colonies of Pipistrelle bats that feed on insects at night, butterflies such as Orange tip, Speckled Wood and Peacock as well as dragonflies who lay eggs in the adjacent golf course ponds.
The area surrounding the gardens has a fascinating history. In 1931, Blackpool Municipal Airport was built on the land now occupied by Blackpool Zoo. At the time you could fly to the Isle of Man with a return flight costing only £l.80. But when rival companies began flying from Squires Gate in 1936, the aerodrome closed. In 1939, the area then became Stanley Park Aerodrome. World War II breaks out on September 3rd and the aerodrome is requisitioned as an RAF parachute-training centre. To begin with there is the air traffic control building and one hangar, now known as Hangar E. Later, extra four large hangars are built and Wellington bombers are assembled and flown off the site. The airfield was a very important part of the war effort. It was a point from which aircraft flew over the Atlantic to search for submarines and a night fighter squadron was also there. The famous aviator Amy Johnson flew from Blackpool Airport to deliver aircraft to an airfield near London, but tragically, she ran into difficulties and disappeared near the Thames estuary.
You can still find clues of the areas history today. Look for the garden’s wartime pill box to the east of the site and then view the old aircraft hangers at Blackpool Zoo facing the car park, which now house large mammals such as elephants.
The woodland is open for your enjoyment all year.