PKL Transforms Visitor Experience at Pennington Flash

By PKL Group (UK) Limited in Case Study

Pennington Flash Nature Reserve, managed by Wigan Council and situated in Greater Manchester, is a part of The Flashes of Wigan and Leigh, consisting of eight local sites. This exceptional reserve boasts breathtaking natural beauty and wetland habitats that were formed through the unique flash flooding of former coal sites. Today, it serves as a haven for a diverse range of nationally significant wildlife, with a remarkable record of over 230 bird species documented on-site.

Recognising the pressing need to enhance the visitor experience, particularly in terms of the food and beverage options, Wigan Council acknowledged the limited offering that was currently available. With an annual visitor count surpassing 250,000 and projections anticipating a significant increase to 500,000 in the near future, it has become imperative to provide a high-quality food and beverage experience that allows visitors to unwind and savour the stunning surroundings that Pennington Flash has to offer.

That’s where PKL came in.

PKL was appointed to the design team in June 2021 and commenced construction of the 165sqm facility just 6 months later.

In an effort to centralise facilities and provide a comprehensive visitor experience, PKL successfully delivered an integrated facility encompassing a café, dining area, decking, toilet facilities, and a visitor centre at Pennington Flash. This comprehensive solution aims to enhance visitors’ understanding and appreciation of the rich biodiversity and archaeological significance of The Flash.

Stuart Holden, Be Well Service and Development Manager for Wigan Council, became aware of PKL through their involvement in the Modular Café projects at numerous RSPB sites. Additionally, leveraging the NHS SBS framework where PKL have secured their position under Lot 8 on the Modular Building Framework, Wigan Council were able to procure the facility through this framework which made it a more efficient route to market, both from a financial and timeliness perspective.

Stuart commented, “We had a very clear brief on what we wanted to achieve, and PKL really understood that and worked with us very efficiently to develop that initial concept design. All the way through we had clarity on what we were likely to get, in terms of construction detail, the fit-out, the cost plan, and the programme of works”. Stuart went on to say, “Lots of people have commented on the quality of the design and build, and the fact that it blends comfortably into the environment”.

Watch the case study here: ​Modular Café and Visitor Centre at Pennington Flash (