The Mersey Forest is a network of new and existing woodlands and other green spaces spread across Merseyside and North Cheshire. Yesterday we walked at Pickering’s Pasture on the Mersey at Halebank, with views across buttercup meadows to the Runcorn Bridge. Today we crossed the bridge to reach Moore Nature Reserve sandwiched between the Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal near Warrington.

Both sites are reclaimed waste land. Until the 1950s, Pickering’s Pasture, now covered by wild flowers and trees, was a salt marsh grazed by cattle and home to wading birds and estuary plants. For the next 30 years, however, the site was used as an industrial and household waste tip and a mountain of refuse built up on the salt marsh. Between 1982 and 1986 Halton Borough Council, with the assistance of Cheshire County Council, reclaimed the land, safely covering the great pile of waste with a thick layer of clay. Today, Pickerings Pasture is a haven for wildlife, designated a Local Nature Reserve and a holds the Green Flag Award. It is a place where people can go to enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside whilst taking in the magnificant views of the upper Mersey estuary.

Good numbers of teal feed along the creeks on the marsh and flocks of waders may be seen roosting on the marsh (golden plover, lapwing, curlew, redshank, dunlin). Flocks of up to several hundred Canada geese roost on the marsh during high tides with black tailed godwit an increasing sight. In recent years a small number of Bewick and whooper swans have stayed on the marsh during the winter.

Moore Nature Reserve is situated between the Manchester Ship Canal and the River Mersey. The 200-acre site has been managed as a nature reserve since 1991, after being used as as alandfill site and for sand quarrying. Today the reserve contains five lakes surrounded by extensive woodland, meadows and wetlands, crossed by a network of paths and with bird hides overlooking the lakes. The nature reserve is well known for its varied bird life, including all five species of British owl and all three species of woodpecker. Many other interesting birds can be found either as year-round residents or seasonal visitors. Throughout the seasons a variety of wildlife can be found. Spring and summer bring a host of wonderful wildflowers including many orchids, and a large array of dragonflies. In autumn many fantastic fungi can be found.

See also


2 thoughts on “Two Mersey Forest Walks

  1. Hi, I recently came across your blog and found an image of frodsham-Helsby Marshes from the hills. If it is possible would you let mw use it for my blog which covers bird and wildlife sightings from Frodsham Marsh. You can check it out on .I will of course credit you and your blog. Bill

    1. Cheers, Bill, no problem with using the image, though I’m a bit puzzled which one you mean – the top three are all of Pickering’s Pasture on the opposite bank.

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