A NEW lakeside cafe at Pennington Flash is finally ready to open its doors to the public.

More than a year in the making, The Hide Coffee House is one of the main attractions in a £2.7m redevelopment at the popular nature reserve in Leigh.

With the wider development including a new visitors centre, woodland play area, and improved toilet and parking facilities, The Hide will open its doors to the public on Friday, March 3.

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The Bolton News: Inside the new cafe and coffee shop at Pennington FlashInside the new cafe and coffee shop at Pennington Flash (Image: Leigh Journal)

Opening seven days a week, with longer opening hours planned in the summer, the wildlife-themed venue will offer visitors a mouth-watering selection of hot and cold food, delicacies and snacks, and hot and cold drinks.

A council-run venture, the Hide is managed by Lowton-based coffee enthusiast Yvette Merga, who said that the cafe is something residents have been crying out for while enjoying the beauty of the Flash.

Yvette, a former scientist who changed careers to run a mobile coffee business, went on to manage the cafe at Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club and got in touch with Wigan Council once she saw the Pennington Flash development taking shape.

The Bolton News: Yvette Marga, manager of The Hide Coffee HouseYvette Marga, manager of The Hide Coffee House (Image: Leigh Journal)

Yvette said: "I did have quite a career change but I've always loved coffee and cake, and have been a regular visitor at Pennington Flash since I was a child"

"I've always thought the Flash would be a lovely spot for a coffee shop so once I saw the development, I just thought how do I get involved in this?

"People have been desperate for a place like this at the Flash [...] and I want it to be a place where feel happy and relaxed and want to come back again and again."

The Bolton News: Cakes on offer at the HideCakes on offer at the Hide (Image: The Hide Coffee House)

Following the opening of the Hide, the final piece of the £2.7m Flash development will be the woodland play area, which is planned to open in June.

With Pennington Flash formally declared a National Nature Reserve in October 2022, James Winterbottom said that this has been a "key catalyst" for the council to push ahead with developments that will attract people to the Flash while preserving its natural beauty.

The Bolton News: The team at the HideThe team at the Hide (Image: The Hide Coffee House)

Mr Winterbottom, Director of Strategy and Innovation at Wigan Council, said: "The people of Leigh have recognised the beauty of Pennington Flash for a long time.

"Becoming a National Nature Reserve is a real asset for the borough [...] and has been a key catalyst in these developments.

"We wanted the cafe to be sustainable and in keeping with the environment at the Flash, and to give people and families another reason to come and enjoy the site."

The Bolton News: The new cafe is part of a £2.7m development at Pennington FlashThe new cafe is part of a £2.7m development at Pennington Flash (Image: Leigh Journal)

The developments at Pennington Flash are said to complement the council's recent investment at Leigh Youth Hub, and are hoped to connect with the nearby Sports Village following Leigh Leopards return to the Super League.

The dog friendly Coffee House is card payments only and will be open 9am-4pm from November to March, and 9am-7pm from April to October.

Parking charges remain at the Flash, at a cost of £2.50. Wigan Council say this cash will go back into the Flash and the wider nature reserve.

The Bolton News: The Hide will be open seven days a week, with longer opening hours in the summerThe Hide will be open seven days a week, with longer opening hours in the summer (Image: Leigh Journal)