Where to go

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Woolston Park

Woolston Park is a family friendly recreation area with a mosaic of habitats.

Woodland walks, wetlands, wildflower meadows and other wildlife exists alongside football and rugby pitches and a childrens' play area.

A lovely place for a picnic, to watch wildlife or just unwind.

Lightshaw Meadows

Lightshaw Meadows is an area of open countryside and a beautiful mosaic of wetlands located in the heart of Abram Flashes in Wigan's Greenheart.

The land has been created over many years from mining subsidence. It is a stunning example of how Wigan's industrial heritage has shaped the local landscape.

Lightshaw Meadows covers an area of 18 hectares, 13 hectares of which has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). However, over the last few decades, the SSSI has gradually deteriorated into ‘unfavourable' condition as categorised by Natural England....

Holcroft Moss

PERMIT REQUIRED - contact Cheshire Wildlife Trust: www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk

Holcroft Moss is a SSSI designated lowland raised bog and is thought to be the only known example in Cheshire that has never been cut for peat. 

Commercial peat extraction from the bog’s immediate surroundings has however lowered the water table, and this subsequently damaged the hydrology of Holcroft Moss.  The Cheshire Wildlife Trust began work in restoring the bog’s ability to hold water by inserting sheets of plastic piling around the...

Bickershaw Country Park

Bickershaw Country Park is a developing nature reserve located between Bickershaw village and Westleigh on the former Bickershaw Colliery site. It is a 247-hectare haven for wildlife, comprising of extensive grasslands, woodlands, and scrubland. The country park contains a number of large water bodies including recently created wetland areas devoted to natural flood alleviation schemes funded by the Environment Agency.  

Bickershaw is home to an amazing variety of wildlife including Willow Tits, Kingfisher, Heron and Jack Snipe. Roe Deer can be seen hiding in the woodlands, and...

Pennington Flash

Pennington Flash is perhaps Wigan’s most iconic wildlife site, with 200 hectares of open water surrounded by fen, reed bed, scrub and woodland. Over 230 species of bird have been recorded including Black-Faced Bunting, Nightingale, Cattle Egret, Whiskered Tern and Leach’s Petrel, in addition to a variety of fascinating invertebrates including 16 species of dragonfly and 20 species of butterfly.  

Like much of Wigan and Leigh the site was formed as a result of subsidence. For many years the Flash periodically flooded and dried out, until 1965 when plans were finally drawn up to...

Low Hall

Developed over 30 years ago under a reclamation scheme, Low Hall (also known locally as Sammy’s Flood) was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 2009. It is a relatively small site comprising of open water, swamp, scrub and woodland. A huge variety of wildlife can be seen including the rare white letter hairstreak butterfly which specialises on Elm trees and which suffered a huge population decline with the onset of Dutch Elm disease in the 1970’s, and the Grizzled Skipper, which is more typical of southern chalklands than northern urban nature reserves. You can also see a variety of water...


Amberwood is a 160 hectare wetland mosaic consisting of a lake and a series of smaller ponds and lowland raised bog, linked by ditches and streams and interspersed with species rich grassland and woodland. It formed on reclaimed mining land and provides valuable habitat for a range of wildlife, including the elusive Water Vole which takes advantage of the ditch network, along with frogs, toads and Common Newts. Roe Deer use the woodlands, Willow Tits can be seen in the scrubby areas and the reed beds and meadows are host to a huge variety of birds and invertebrates including the colourful...

Little Woolden Moss

Little Woolden Moss is a one hundred and fifteen-hectare site which showcases the work to restore the damage that peat extraction causes to our mosslands. Nowadays Brown Hares are regularly seen, with Hobbies chasing Common Darter and Black Darter dragonflies all over this breath-taking mossland. A home for many bird species, Little Woolden Moss is also a fantastic place to see common lizards and the rare bog bush cricket in the summer months.

Woolston Eyes

The four beds at Woolston Deposit Grounds SSSI are managed as a nature reserve by the Woolston Eyes Conservation Group in agreement with the Manchester Ship Canal Company. Parts of the site are still in use to accommodate dredging from the Manchester Ship Canal. Woolston Eyes is home to a variety of wetland habitats, including wet woodland, reed beds, wildflower meadows and open water. It is home for a variety of birds, including Marsh Harrier, Pochard, Gadwall, Tufted, Pintail and Ruddy Ducks, Teal and the Black Necked Grebe.

New Moss Woods

New Moss Wood is a habitat for a vast variety of wildlife which visitors are able to see on walks. Previously a market garden farm, it covers 30.47 hectares, filled with trees, grassland, seasonally wet ditches and even small areas of peat land. This diversity of habitat attracts a wide range of wildlife, particularly butterflies, moths and ground nesting birds such as Skylark and Lapwing.

Whitehead Hall Meadows

Whitehead Hall Meadows is 5.58 hectares of natural area, home to footpaths, grassland and different wetland habitats, including a pond. 

Whitehead Hall Meadows was part of Astley Colliery and was used as a recreation area for the villages, however during World War Two it was used for dumping colliery spoils. After the mining activity it was left derelict. Since then shrubs, wetland, woodlands and grasslands have developed to form valuable wildlife habitats. This introduced a number orchids including Northern Marsh, Southern Marsh, Leopard Spotted Southern Marsh, Common Spotted...

Wigan Flashes

Wigan Flashes Nature Reserve, once a product of industry, is now filled with a variety of wildlife and is the perfect place to wander, with open water, reed beds, wildflower meadows and woodland. Each environment offers a different diversity of wildlife, such as the elusive skulking Water Rail and locally abundant but nationally rare Willow Tit. A herd of Roe Deer can often be spotted behind the trees, and the deafening call of the Cetti's Warbler can be heard from the reeds. 

The main flashes were formed on subsided mining land and the soil varies across the site from colliery...

Three Sisters

Three Sisters is a visitors attraction where the Carbon Landscape story is told in an inspiring way.

New wheelchair-friendly trails with heritage audios, wildlife rubbings and an enchanted tree trail were installed in 2020.  This beautiful place has a much celebrated lakeside circular route, bird feeding station, pond dipping and bird hide over the wider wetlands to allow you to get a closer view of the magnificent wildlife where you may get the chance to view Goosanders, Mute Swans, Grey Heron and Kingfisher. This diverse place is home to a national rare bird called the willow tit...

Gorse Covert Mounds

This suburban site is a delightful mosaic of mixed woodland, meadows, peat bog and ponds. It supports an amazing variety of plants and wildlife. Its network of accessible paths allows you to enjoy woodland and waterside walks, and some stunning views from Pestfurlong Hill. On a clear day you can see as far as the West Pennine Moors. 

Gorse Covert Mounds is also home to Pestfurlong Moss, a remnant of the Manchester Mosses that once covered the whole area.  This ecologically important habitat is a Lowland Raised Peat Bog, which is home to a variety of Sphagnum Mosses, plants such as...

Paddington Meadows

One of the few remaining waterside meadows in Warrington, Paddington Meadows also contains some of the oldest examples of hawthorn hedge boundaries in Cheshire.  Paddington Meadows provides a clear green stepping stone link between Woolston Eyes, across the Mersey and the northern areas of Warrington. The fields were gifted to Warrington Council in 1995 on the condition that they were managed as a nature reserve. 

Explore the beautiful variety of wildlife, from birds such as Lapwings, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Cetti’s Warbler, Kestrel, Sparrow Hawk, and Goldeneye Ducks to mammals such...

Rixton Clay Pits

Once a brick clay quarry, Rixton Claypits is thriving with wildlife and is now regarded as a Special Area for Conservation (S.A.C.). This ex-industrial nature reserve boasts breeding Great Crested Newts within the excavated ponds and you can surround yourself in a diversity of rich wildflowers in the various meadows. Explore the quiet tranquillity and feed your curiosity with Information boards, viewing platforms, bridges and boardwalks bringing you closer to the wildlife.  

This project is enhancing this area by removing encroaching scrub (undesirable trees trying to disrupt the...

Risley Moss

Risley Moss is a fantastic place for a leisurely stroll at any time of the year. With a visitor centre, Boggart sculpture trail, boardwalk through the peat bog and plenty of picnic opportunities! 

This ex-industrial site of scientific interest (SSSI) is perfect for spotting wildlife. Lizards, dragonflies and a variety of birds love it here! Join the Warrington ranger team on guided walks or self-guide yourself using the fascinating interpretation boards. This site is home to rare plants like the carnivorous Sundew, Sphagnum mosses and delicate Bog Cranberries. ...