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Warrington - A Town of Many Industries

mywarrington - created by Gordon I Gandy
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Local Radio - Local Issues - Local Presenters - Proud to be at the Heart of your Community.
Click the station banner, above, select 'Listen Live' and choose your media player.
Or install the TuneIn app on your smartphone or tablet and search for Radio Warrington
The mywarrington Radio Show every Friday lunchtime between 12 and 3 on Radio Warrington.

How do they get the "Keep off the Grass" signs to the middle of the grass?

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This page last updated Wednesday, 24 June 2015
The green, green grass of home...

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Warrington Green profiles a selection of the nature
reserves, parks, gardens and open spaces in the town.
See also the complementary On The Waterfront section.

VisitWoods.org.uk  is a Woodland Trust website set up to encourage people to use green areas.

Three Warrington parks and green spaces were awarded the 2012 Green Flag Award. The three are Fox Covert Cemetery, Hollinfare Cemetery and Bewsey Park, which join Walton Hall Gardens, Lymm Dam, Alexandra Park in Stockton Heath, Risley Moss, St Peter's Park, Walton Crematorium, the Walton Lea Project and Burtonwood Cemetery, making 11 in total. Click here for details of the national scheme.

Featured on this page

Bewsey Meadows Black Bear Park  Culcheth Linear Park Lumb Brook Millennium Green Moore Nature Reserve
Birchwood Forest Park Burtonwood Nature Park Lumb Brook Valley Lymm Dam Orford Park

In Part 2 we look at Paddington Meadows, Peel Hall Park, Risley Moss, Rixton Claypits,
Sankey Valley Park, Spud Wood, Trans Pennine Trail, The Twiggeries, Victoria Park,
Walton Hall & Gardens, Woolston Eyes, Woolston Park and Other Green Areas.

Information provided by Warrington Borough Council
Additional information, photos and captions Copyright © Gordon I Gandy

Please note that hyperlinks to the council's website are currently out of date
due to circumstances beyond my control. I will update them as soon as possible.

Information correct at time of publication (July 2007).
Please check with
Network Warrington on (01925) 634296 for bus times and with the Ranger Service
on the telephone number at the end of each section for details of special events.

Recommended maps are the OS Explorer Maps Nos. 275 and 276, which show the rights of way in Warrington. Leaflets in PDF format can be downloaded and printed out from the Warrington Borough Council website or telephone (01925) 444400 .

For information on other places to visit in Warrington, visit the Tourist Information Centre, either within Warrington Market or at Warrington Interchange, the town's bus station. Telephone (01925) 428585  Fax: (01925) 652692

Please follow the Countryside Code when visiting any of the places listed here. Visit the Countryside Access website for more.

Dog Owners:    'It's Your Business'  

P arks are enjoyed by thousands of people each year.
I t is antisocial to let your dog foul public areas.
C lean up. Use the dog bins provided or take it home.
K eep a poop scoop in your pocket.
I nfection from faeces can damage your health.
T rain your dog to go at home.
U ncontrolled dogs can be frightening to others.
P lease be a responsible dog owner.

To find out what's on in Warrington, please visit the Council’s detailed events guide.

Email the Rangers

Bewsey Meadows                 

green_bewsey_meadows_01_101130.JPG (94683 bytes) Bewsey Meadows is a new green area of Warrington created in 2008 when land close to Bewsey Old Hall was developed out of a former landfill tip (known, unsurprisingly, as Bewsey Tip).

Information boards around the Meadows give details on the history of the site, plus descriptions of the types of wildlife you can expect to see. The photos in this section were taken on 18 March 2009 and 30 November 2010. As the site matures over the years I will revisit to take further photos.

From the 13th to the 17th centuries the land belonged to the Lords of the Manor of Warrington who lived at Bewsey Old Hall. The Sankey Brook, which runs nearby, was really just a few small channels of water. It wasn’t until 1757 that the Sankey Canal, also known as the St Helens Canal, was opened in part along the west side of the site. Originally, the Act of Parliament was to make the Sankey Brook navigable, but it was decided to build a totally separate channel. The district of Dallam is close by and the name is said to mean ‘valley meadow’, with Bewsey meaning ‘beautiful site’.

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Access to the site is from four directions, each one being wheelchair and buggy friendly.
Hawleys Lane, Dallam Callands Old Hall Lilford Ave, Bewsey
Notice in the second view (from Callands) the path dips down a slope and up again on the other side.
This is because the former route of the Sankey Canal ran from the north (to the left and behind the camera view)
and then turned west across the line of the current pathway. The section between this point and Bewsey Lock
is infilled today. Take care when it rains heavily as this section tends to flood (See My Warrington page,
Wild Weather section for a photo of the flooding). If it does flood, access would be via Dallam or through
Sankey Valley Park to the right and over Bewsey Lock bridge, then via the slope in the third photo.
The fields close to Bewsey Hall were known as Bewsey Pleck and Dallam Pleck. A ‘pleck’ was a name for a plot of land of no particular size. The site became known as ‘Lock Field’ and was used as farmland for a period of time.

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Paths under construction
(Mar 2009)
The paths from the
Callands entrance
Panoramic view shows the
Sankey Brook and Dallam
Brook (River Atherton)
Bridge link from Dallam
to the Meadows (on the
left in the previous photo)
Sankey Valley Park was created in the 1980s and the use of the land as a tip came to an end. The Sankey Brook and Sankey Canal were slightly diverted (and merged at one point near Dallam). The site was left to mature and in 2008 new pathways were constructed on the site. Bewsey Meadows has now been designated a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation.

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Views across the Meadows
So what might you seen at the Meadows? Plant life includes reed canary grass, common reed (Phragmites), soft rush, teasel, bird’s-foot-trefoil, yellow flag iris, marsh orchid, bee orchid and purple loosestrife. Insect life includes butterflies such as six-spot burnets, common blue and the cinnabar moth, along with dragonflies such as the four-spotted chaser. Birds include greenfinches, goldfinches, reed bunting, swifts, swallows, house martins, whitethroats, chiffchaffs, willow warbler, snipes, grasshopper warbler, sedge warbler, sparrowhawks, buzzard and kestrels. You might also see stoats, weasels, voles, mice and shrews.

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Views from the Meadows, showing, in the centre, the two churches of Dallam: St Anselm's (RC) and St Mark's (C of E)
Funding for the new footpaths and habitat improvements came from Warrington Borough Council, the Northwest Regional Development Agency and Cheshire County Council.

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Wildlife on the Meadows
The final word comes from the noticeboards on the site: Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.

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Seating Me and my Shadow
Directions: type in ‘Lilford Avenue, Warrington’ in Google maps, and Bewsey Meadows is the site to the west (left) of the highlight. It shows up better in satellite view.
 

Birchwood Forest Park     

Birchwood Forest Park cover an area of 500 acres, and is located in east Warrington between the M6 in the west and the M62, junction 11, in the east.

History

It was created on the site of the Risley Royal Ordnance Factory, where thousands of bombs were made during the Second World War.

By the end of the 19th century, Risley, as the area was originally known, comprised 30 tenant farms, a gamekeeper's lodge and a peat cutting industry based at Risley Moss. Risley had become one of the most fertile agricultural villages in the country, growing cereal crops and vegetables, and was especially well known for its giant celery.

In 1939 much of the farmland was acquired by the government by compulsory purchase for the construction of the ROF. Within 18 months a huge complex covering 927 acres of prime agricultural land was built, including 1,800 small buildings and a network of road and rail links. Labouring day and night, up to 30,000 workers (mainly women) produced a staggering one million mines and 500,000 high explosive shells. Many of the women came over from Ireland or the northeast and lived in specially-built hostels.

 

The factory was divided into rectangular sections each serving a different function. Click the image to see my map of modern-day Birchwood showing the locations of each area.

Some facts about the factory:

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The factory took twice as long to demolish (3 years) as it did to build due to the strength of the reinforced concrete used to build the bunkers.
Pestfurlong Hill and all other mounds are man made. The demolition rubble from the ROF was used to create them.
Four remaining bunkers can be seen next to the Forest Park playing fields.
The main entrance to the factory was situated at Oakwood Gate Park. 6,000 people would arrive all at once at the huge bus terminal to begin their shift.
The Walled Garden (left) has been created from the former Royal Ordnance Factory reservoir. The sluice gate mechanism can still be found hidden away in a corner (right).

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The Walled Garden
in Oakwood, part of
Birchwood Forest Park

The sluice mechanism
in one corner of
the walled garden

After the War production of ammunition ceased as the ROF was built as an emergency factory only. It was then used by the Admiralty as a storage depot until 1961, except for the north west section which was taken over by UKAEA in 1956.

The huge disused site was put up for sale in 1963 but no buyer could be found.

In 1968 Warrington and Runcorn Development Corporation acquired the ROF, which at the time formed one of the largest derelict land sites in Europe. The factory was demolished and over 500 acres of woodland, meadows and green corridors were created in and around the area now called Birchwood.

Birchwood Forest Park is managed by Warrington Borough Council and other organisations, including the Woodland Trust. Large open spaces and smaller pond areas contribute to the beauty of this part of Warrington, providing footpaths (suitable for buggies and wheelchairs), as well as cycling and walking.

Link to the Warrington Borough Council website to read more and see a photo of the Royal Ordnance Factory at Risley.

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Play areas and sport are well catered for, including cricket, football, skateboarding and a BMX track.
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Take a stroll up to Pestfurlong Hill and Gorse Covert Mounds where in Springtime you can see birds which nest on the site. Wild Flowers, including Marsh Orchids and butterflies can be seen in the summer. The hill was created from the rubble of the Royal Ordnance Factory. 
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Pond life

Pestfurlong Hill

The large playing field is
also used for special events

You can read more about the area in Warrington Green 2, Risley Moss.

Directions

Leave junction 11 of the M62 and follow the A574 (Birchwood Way). Turn left at the first mini roundabout and right at the next into the car park. The car park close to the Ranger Centre has designated parking bays for orange badge holders.

From Warrington Bus Station the No. 24 and 25 stop at Ordnance Ave and Moss Gate.

The Park is easily reached from Birchwood Station. The buses stop outside.

How to Contact The Rangers

Tel/Fax: 01925 824239

Email the Rangers

Ranger Centre, Birchwood Forest Park, off Moss Gate, Birchwood, Warrington WA3 6QX  

Black Bear Park                

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Black Bear Park is a linear park that provides links across the Latchford, Stockton Heath and Westy areas of the town. The Trans Pennine Trail joins the park near to Stockton Heath swing bridge, while the Mersey Way meets the park at Kingsway Bridge. 

Originally the park was part of the eight-mile Old Quay Canal built in 1804 to link Latchford and Runcorn.

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In 1894 the canal was severed by the building of the Manchester Ship Canal and became disused and derelict. A small section was left intact and this became the Black Bear Canal.

It joined the Ship Canal at Twenty Steps Lock (directly beneath the Northwich Road swing bridge) and the River Mersey at Manor Lock, formerly called Latchford Lock. It remained in use until the 1960s, mainly transporting Argentinean hides to the tanneries at Howley. Once closed the canal became derelict and was filled in during the 1980s to become the park we see today.

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Twenty Steps Lock is close to
Northwich Road Swing Bridge.
The canal bed was filled
in to form the park's route.
Manor Lock is shown in these images where it ran
into the River Mersey at Howley near Kingsway Bridge.

Ancient Ford

Just south of the Black Bear Bridge on Knutsford Road is the location of Warrington’s ancient ford, the only crossing point of the River Mersey until the 13th century when the first bridge was built at Bridge Foot in 1285. It is believed the ford was in existence 10,000 years ago and had probably been used by Mesolithic nomads (c8,000 BC) as they journeyed through the area. It should also be noted, however, that the Romans bridged the Mersey in the early 70s AD during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian. It is not known how long this bridge lasted, but it is known that by 175 AD the ford was again considered the main crossing point. The River Mersey has been re-directed since those days and the site of the ford is now just a boggy area.

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The canal walls are preserved
as part of the site's heritage
The Warrington to Stockport
Railway ran over the canal
Directions and distances
on decorative signposts
Plants and animals have been gradually encouraged onto the park by a programme of tree and wild flower planting and the creation of habitats such as the excavation of the pond. Access is possible by foot and bicycle from many points along the park. Paths are level and well surfaced and suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.  
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Wild flowers are in abundance, especially in the summer. Feeding station.

Alongside Black Bear Park is Victoria Park, featured in Warrington Green 2.

Directions

Take junction 10 off the M56 and follow the A49 through Stockton Heath, go over the swing bridge past Morrisons supermarket and turn right at the lights on Loushers Lane. From Warrington town centre, turn left off the A49 Wilderspool Causeway onto Loushers Lane. As you come over a bridge about 200m along the lane you will see two shops on your left hand side. To the left of the shops is the entrance to the park. Parking space available opposite at Loushers Lane Recreation Ground.

Bus No.12a at 30 minutes past the hour from Warrington Interchange to Loushers Lane.

A wheelchair access point can be found at the Loushers Lane entrance to the park next to the Ranger Cabin and there are kissing gates along the length of the park.

How to Contact The Rangers

Tel/Fax: 01925 232184
Email the Rangers

Ranger Cabin, Black Bear Park, Loushers Lane, Latchford, Warrington  

Burtonwood Nature Park  

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The Nature Park was officially opened in September 1991 after years of hard work by many dedicated local people, school children and organisations, including Cheshire Landscape Trust, Burtonwood Parish Council, Burtonwood Environment Group and Tree Wardens, BTCV and Groundwork Mersey Valley. 

The land was purchased by Warrington Borough Council in 1987 and began its transformation from farm field to wildlife haven with extensive tree planting, meadow development and pond creation.  

Today the Nature Park is an ideal place for a quiet walk, a picnic, wildlife watching or school visits. There are also opportunities for becoming involved in practical management works.
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The colourful meadows offer diverse flora and a wealth of butterflies in the summer. Early morning visitors have the chance of spotting foxes and hares. The developing mixed woodland areas provide feeding and nesting for many species of birds, supplementing the surrounding countryside.
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During the summer many migrant birds such as willow warblers and chiffchaffs can be heard whilst swallows and martins swoop overhead. The site has no surfaced paths and is uneven and hilly, unfortunately making it difficult for wheelchair access.  

Directions

Parking is available at Burtonwood Community Centre off Green Jones Brow, Chapel Lane. From the M62 Junction 8 follow the signs for Burtonwood village. After 1/4 mile turn right into Tanhouse Lane following the road to the end. At the junction, turn left. The Community Centre is approx 1/4 mile on the left.

The No. 329 bus service from Warrington Interchange stops in Burtonwood village.

How to Contact The Rangers

Tel/Fax: 01925 571836
Email the Rangers

The Ranger Office, Bewsey Old Hall, Bewsey Farm Close, Old Hall, Warrington WA5 9PB.

Culcheth Linear Park       

Culcheth Linear Park lies on a section of the former Wigan to Glazebrook Railway Line. The line was constructed by a consortium of rail companies including the LNER and Great Central. It first opened to goods in 1878. After a short extension linking the line to Wigan Central Station was built, the first passenger train ran in 1884, calling at Glazebrook, Lowton St Mary and Culcheth.

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The platform of the railway line has been turned into a mosaic, with the closing year of the railway remembered.

In 1939 Newchurch Halt was built to service the naval camp sited in Culcheth. A railway line extension ran into the Royal Ordnance Factory at Risley, which closed after the War.

After the war years there was a national decline in railway use leading to the infamous Lord Beeching Report of 1964, which indicated the unprofitability of many branch lines. The Culcheth line was no exception and finally closed on 22 April 1968.

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Beautifully carved benches are located throughout the park, while I take a rest to plan my next move.

The railway lay derelict until 1974 when Warrington Borough Council acquired a section of the line and undertook initial landscaping works. In 1983 the Ranger Service took over management of the site and continues the development of the park. The Ranger Cabin is located on the site of the old station.

Wildlife at Culcheth Linear Park

Culcheth Linear Park is an area of natural countryside, a place to relax or take a closer look at nature. Look out for the Jay (bird), Speckled Wood butterfly, Knapweed (a plant), Water Vole, Fly Agaric (a poisonous mushroom) and the Common Dog Violet.

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Directions

From Culcheth village centre turn left by the Cherry Tree pub into Wigshaw Lane. After 500m turn right by the park entrance signs and follow a short road to the car park and Ranger cabin. 

The No. 19 bus between Warrington and Leigh stops at the entrance to Wigshaw Lane.

The Ranger Cabin at Culcheth is equipped with a ramp and has extra wide doors for ease of access to view displays and obtain leaflets. Although control gates preventing motorbikes have been installed, these are fitted with RADAR locks enabling wheelchair and electric/mobility cars to use the site.

The main track and other paths are constructed of rolled stone or shale.

Keys to the RADAR locks on this park are available for registered disabled visitors from: Community Services, Service Reception Team, 21 Rylands Street, Warrington. Telephone 01925 444239

How to Contact The Rangers

Tel/Fax: 01925 765064
Email the Rangers

Ranger Cabin, Culcheth Linear Park, Wigshaw Lane, Culcheth, Warrington, WA3 4AB

CLICK ON EMAIL OR FEMAIL TO CONTACT ME

Lumb Brook Valley          

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One of the first descriptions of this area was written for Appleton as a whole and is found in the Doomsday Book. “Epletune”, it says, “was and is waste” and has, “ …. a wood there half a league long and forty perches broad”. In modern terms that would be approximately one and a half miles long by two hundred yards wide and could be the Dingle, although with such a scant description this cannot be certain.

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One of the first known references to the ownership of the Lumb Brook Valley itself comes in an Ancient Charter (c.1190). At this time the land owned by Richard de Aston was handed to Adam de Dutton in reward for his homage and service at a rent of 12d (5p) per year.
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From this period until the mid 18th Century the lands in Appleton, including the Lumb Brook Valley, were in the possession of the descendants of de Dutton, who, sometime between 1307 and 1322, adopted the name Warburton.  
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The Dingle.

By the 1840’s the Lumb Brook Valley and its environs were in the ownership of three landowners Rowland Eyles Egerton-Warburton, Thomas Lyon and Thomas Parr. There has been woodland within Lumb Brook for at least one thousand years; therefore steps must be taken to ensure the woodland survives until the next Millennium .

Wildlife and the Environment

Appleton Dingle is one of our few remaining areas of ancient semi-natural woodland. It is a fantastic place to see bluebells, woodpeckers, nuthatches, warblers and other types of birds. Other water and woodland wildlife can be seen in the area, including moths, butterflies, foxes and four types of bat. It contains a mix of tree and plant species dominated by English Oak. Grid Ref : SJ 627847  

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The Dingle - one of two places in Warrington with that name - the other is near Lymm Dam. And somebody has a sense
of humour to put up the Zak sign - Zak Dingle is one of the best-loved characters in the ITV1 soap opera, Emmerdale!
The beauty of the countryside can be experienced all around the Valley. Dingle Lane, links The Dingle with Fords Rough.

Lumb Brook Millennium Green           

Registered Charity Number 1078679

lumb__brook_millennium_green_060901_4.jpg (133200 bytes) Within Lumb Brook Valley is Lumb Brook Millennium Green, a large open space for the community to enjoy the fresh outdoors of south Warrington. The Lumb Brook Millennium Green is managed by a group of volunteer under a limited company. The volunteers are people who live on the Cobbs Estate in Appleton, south Warrington. They welcome everyone who wish to join as a director, a volunteer or a member of the Lumb Brook Millennium Green community.
They are located off Lumb Brook Road alongside Lumb Brook itself. Dale Lane is on the opposite side of the green. At their website you can register to receive email news from them and keep in touch with the work - or even get involved! Visit their website www.millenniumgreen.moonfruit.com. A map on their website shows the location in detail.  
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Lumb Brook Millennium Green near Cobbs Estate.

See Community page for more on the objectives of the group.

The Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust is the UK’s leading charity dedicated solely to the conservation of our native woodland heritage. The Trust owns and maintains over a thousand woods throughout the UK, these woodlands are freely open for everyone to enjoy. The Trust owns and manages parts of the woodland within the Lumb Brook Valley including Fords Rough, Pewterspear Woods and parts of the Dingle. To find out more about the Trust telephone 01476 581111, www.woodland-trust.org.uk

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Fords Rough. Nice to walk thorough but
unfortunately not suitable for wheelchairs.
Horse beside Green Lane. Visitors are
encouraged to clean up after their dogs.

Directions

From Warrington town centre take the A49 south through Stockton Heath. Turn left into Lyons Lane. At the roundabout turn right onto Longwood Road. Follow the road and turn left into Cann Lane and immediately left onto Dingle Lane. Parking is available on the side of the road and access by foot can be gained to the Dingle and Fords Rough.

Bus Nos. 6, 7, 7a and 8 travel from Warrington Interchange at frequent intervals along Dale Lane/Bridge Lane in Cobbs Estate. This is useful if you wish to walk from one end to the other, like I did, beginning at Dale Lane/Bridge Lane.

It should be noted that due to the nature of the terrain the Dingle and Fords Rough are unsuitable for wheelchair access.

How to Contact The Rangers

Tel/Fax: 01925 232184
Email the Rangers

The  Ranger Cabin, Black Bear Park, Loushers Lane, Latchford, Warrington.

Lymm Dam                      

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Lymm Dam was formed in 1824 with the creation of a turnpike road from Warrington to Stockport. It is about 20 feet deep near the wall by the A56, and then the depth fluctuates across the rest of it, with some parts being quite shallow. In 1821 the Warrington and Stockport Turnpike Trust was granted the right to charge tolls on what is the present day A56; at this time the valley below the church was crossed only by a path leading to a footbridge over the stream.

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The Turnpike Trust then set about building a road and a new bridge over the valley. With their completion the ‘pool and stream’ below the church became the lake which exists today.

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At that time the area was part of Lymm Hall Estate, which covered much of the village. In 1848 parts of the estate were sold. Lymm Dam and the surrounding area was purchased by Thomas Ridgeway, a local solicitor. He built a large manor house on the present day site of Lymm Rugby Club where his family lived until the close of the 19th century. The house was known as Beechwood and the stone archway which still exists on Crouchley Lane was the entrance to the estate, but the house itself was demolished in the 1930s.

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Thomas Ridgeway lived at Beechwood for some 20 years before selling the estate to George Dewhurst, a Manchester cotton trader, who's family came to have great influence in Victorian Lymm. the Dewhursts were responsible for some of the landscaping around the Dam including The Wishing Bridge (above, right) and the small stone boathouse.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Dewhursts sold the estate to William Lever, and shortly after the First World War he built the large concrete Crosfield Bridge at the southern end of the site (seen here, below). Lever was also responsible for the avenues of Lombardy poplar trees which flank Lymm Dam. These avenues were to form part of a residential development which William Lever planned for the land, probably to house his workers, with the three roads in the area meeting at the bridge, but the houses were never built.

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The bridge itself was built just after the First World War by local firm Harry Fairclough, and as the plans for the housing estate never materialised, the bridge wasn't used for traffic. Over the years it fell into disrepair and the Borough Council has carried out an structural survey on its condition. It is now seeking funding to carry out the necessary repairs. A visitor information board gives further details of the area and shows photos of the bridge in the early days. The area immediately surrounding the lake became the property of Lymm Urban District Council shortly after the Second World War, and was absorbed into the management of Warrington Borough Council in 1974 when the national boundaries changed. 

The Dingle and Slitten Gorge

If you cross the A56 from the path onto the western side of Lymm Dam, you will come to a flight of steps leading into the Dingle. This is an area of woodland through which a stream runs connecting the Main Dam and Lower Dam. A footpath runs alongside the stream into the village centre.

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The Dingle. Main Dam flows into the
Lower Dam under Church Road.
The Lower Dam.
The water flows over the Lower Dam and under the road into the mill race behind the shops on Bridgewater Street. It then runs through Slitten Gorge and eventually into the Manchester Ship Canal.  

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From the bottom of the Dingle cross the road in the village centre, turn left and immediately right into Bridgewater Street.

Follow the road under the canal bridge and you will see the steps leading down into Slitten Gorge on your right. The footpath through Slitten Gorge crosses the stream and passes the remains of the slitting mill before exiting onto Danebank Road.

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Slitten Gorge.

Slitten Gorge.

If you cannot manage the steps, walk along the road (Whitbarrow Road) to the crossroads junction and turn right into Danebank Road. Slitten Gorge is at the bottom of the brew on the right.

Turn right along Danebank Road and then first left into Lymm Hay Lane. This will bring you to the Trans Pennine Trail. Turn left and the Ranger Centre is half a mile to the west of this crossing. From here you can pick up information on the footpath network in this area.

Lymm Slitting Mill

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The structure you can see spanning the stream in Slitten Gorge is the remains of a slitting mill which operated between the early 18th and early 19th centuries. The mill’s original purpose was nail production, later giving way to the cutting of steel bands for the cooperage at Thelwall.
During this phase of the mill’s life the metal was taken by boat to Thelwall along the River Mersey (this was prior to the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal in 1894). In 1800 it was converted to a textile mill.  

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After its closure, the mill was pulled down to its current height and the Gorge was made into a Victorian beauty spot. At this stage most of the area was still a millpond but in 1905 the dam wall was breached and the pond drained away leaving the stream as it is today. The area then became overgrown and remained so until it was cleared and landscaped by Warrington Borough Council in the mid 1970’s. Information boards describe the workings of the mill. 

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The Bongs

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At the southern end of Lymm Dam by Crosfield Bridge you will see a footpath leading into a wood known as ‘The Bongs’ (from a medieval word meaning ‘wooded banks’). The Bongs is a private wood but has a public right of way running through it. The wood extends for 1 mile south of Lymm Dam after which the public footpath continues on across farmland.

The Bongs is managed by Mersey Valley Partnership.

St Mary's Church  

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The Doomsday Book shows that there was a church on this site way back in the 10th century. Since then it has been rebuilt several times, most recently in 1851 with the financial help of the Dewhursts. The present tower was added in 1890 and St Mary’s now often forms a backdrop to paintings and photographs of the Dam.  

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Horse Riding

Please keep to the permissive bridleway from Crouchley Lane to Crosfield Bridge along the eastern edge of the park. Visitors on foot are welcome to walk along the bridleway, but please keep vigilant and be careful not to frighten the horses or put your own safety at risk. Look out for red and brown squirrels as you walk along, and if you wish to take photos of them, make sure you have a fast shutter speed on your camera!

Angling in Lymm Dam

The fishing rights are leased to Lymm Angling Club.  Non club members can obtain day tickets from the water bailiff who patrols regularly. For further information about Lymm Angling Club please contact Neil Jupp on 01925 411774.  

Geology of the Dam

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Taking a walk round Lymm Dam you will see many areas of exposed sandstone rock. Sandstone is known as a bedrock or sedimentary rock which means that it was formed over millions of years by the compression of layer upon layer of tiny grains of sand.

The sandstone around the Dam was created during a period of time called the permo-triassic and is around 250 million years old.

The most interesting rock feature around the Dam is the ‘bluff’ below St Mary’s church.
Two features are important – the deep cuts into the rock known as NYE CHANNELS and the rounded steps in the vertical sections, called SCALLOPS. They were formed around 10,000 years ago when the whole of Cheshire was covered in ice. 

Melt water containing rock and soil deposits flowed under the ice causing erosion of the sandstone. The nye channels and scallops were created where the water flow was greatest.  

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These formations at Lymm Dam are very important. They are one of only two examples of this kind currently recorded in the UK; the other is at Thurstaston Hill on the Wirral Peninsular.

Wildlife, Woodland and Wildflowers

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The Dam has a varied cross-section of wildlife with magnificent views and something of interest all around the site throughout the seasons. Much of the lake is surrounded by woodland with oak and beech the predominant species. 

Autumn brings a kaleidoscope of colours as the leaves take on their seasonal hue. In spring, bluebells, wild daffodils and snowdrops carpet the oak woodland amongst pockets of flowers, such as wood sorrel and wood anemone.  

Other wildflowers easily spotted at the Dam include foxglove and tormentil on banks, meadow cranesbill and yarrow in meadows, red campion and garlic mustard in woodland and marsh marigold and bittercress on the water’s edge.
Birds

Bird life includes wrens, tits, robins, blackbirds and kingfishers, mallard, coot, moorhen, tufted duck and great crested grebe. Swallows, swifts and house martins perform acrobatic displays as they hunt over the water and meadows on balmy summer evenings while the woodlands attract nuthatches, treecreepers and woodpeckers.

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Bats  

Aye, aye, Captain Birdseye!

Stay out a little on a summer night and you are likely to see bats on the wing. The Dam is recognised as a locally important area for this fascinating group of mammals with both the UK’s largest (noctule) and smallest (pipistrelle) bats feeding over the Dam.

Lymm Heritage Trail

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The trail is a self-guided trail exploring the built and natural heritage of the village. The router is based on the north-south valley which runs through the village centre (comprising Lymm Dam, the Dingle and Slitten Gorge) and two east-west routes - the Bridgewater Canal and the former Warrington to Altrincham Railway (now part of the Trans Pennine Trail). The full route is 3½ miles but the trail can be walked in shorter distances. The route is waymarked and route maps (shown left) can be found on each of the eleven information boards along the trail.

Directions

The Dam is situated south of Lymm village on the A56.

Arriva No’s 37 and 38 and Warrington Borough Transport No’s 5 and 6 buses pass by. For more details about Warrington Borough Transport buses, contact Network Warrington on 01925 634296

How to Contact The Rangers

Tel/Fax: 01925 758195
Email the Rangers

Ranger Cabin, Trans Pennine Trail, Off Statham Avenue, Lymm, WA13 9NJ

Moore Nature Reserve     

Moore Nature Reserve occupies over 180 acres between the Manchester Ship Canal and the River Mersey adjacent to the Arpley Landfill site. Originally an area of farmland, scrub and woodland, it has been managed as a nature reserve by wardens employed by Waste Recycling Group Limited since 1991. Five lakes have been created as well as several other smaller ponds, grasslands and reed beds.

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Ponds and large lakes play an important part in the conservation of the wildlife.

The area has long been known for its bird-life, with a good variety of wildfowl as well as many woodland and farmland birds. The reserve has several hides overlooking most of the pools and a woodland feeding station. The nearby tip also attracts masses of gulls, many of which visit the reserve pools to bathe. Thorough examination of gull flocks may reveal rare visitors as well as the more usual species.
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Feeding stations and viewing points are provided throughout the nature reserve.

The site has also a varied mammal population. Foxes are seen regularly, Brown Hare can be seen on local farmland and several water bodies hold numbers of Water Vole. At least six species of bat have been recorded. Recently there has been increasing evidence of Muntjak deer and possible Polecat on site.

The site also supports 22 species of butterfly including Brimstone and Purple Hairstreak and 16 species of dragonfly including Emperor, Migrant Hawker and Black-tailed Skimmer. Grid Ref : SJ 570852  

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I wonder how many different types of birds, butterflies and dragonfly you will spot on your visit?

For more information, contact
Moore Nature Reserve, Arpley Landfill Site, Forrest Way, Sankey Bridge, Warrington WA4 6YZ
Telephone: (01925) 444689    www.wrg.co.uk/moorenaturereserve

How to get there:
Take the A56 (Chester road) from Warrington or the M56 J11, and turn off at the traffic lights signposted Moore near the Walton Arms pub. From Moore village turn right into Moore Lane, over the Manchester Ship Canal and into Lapwing Lane.

Orford Park                     

Orford Park is set in 18 acres that once formed part of the land and gardens of the no longer existent Orford Hall.

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Whether you want a gentle stroll, a game of bowls, or to attend one of the events organised by the Ranger Service, the park has something for all the family. The park has easy access for all, with tarmac-covered paths suitable for wheelchairs and buggies. There are large open spaces with picnic benches positioned adjacent to the children’s play areas. Car parking is available from Alder lane. The pitch and put golf featured in the photo, right, is no longer available.

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The park supports a rich variety of wildlife. Trees, shrubs and hedgerows provide food, shelter and nesting areas for birds such as sparrow hawks, blue tits and song thrushes.  

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At the centre of the park a wildlife pond has been created to allow nature to live right at the heart of a residential area.

Pond dipping reveals an underwater environment teaming with water life which includes six species of dragonfly, four species of damselfly, water boatmen, great diving beetles and water snails. Larvae of a special rarity - the Emperor dragonfly - have been found in the pond.  

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In the summertime wildflowers attract and provide food for many species of insects such as butterflies, beetles and bees. In the northern section of the park there is a wildflower meadow.  

History of Orford Park

Until 1935 a hall had stood in the park grounds since the 13th century.  

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The first hall was a timber and plaster building with ornate chimneys and a thatched roof. It was built for the Le Norris family in 1232. The Norris family remained in the hall until 1595, after which it was purchased by Thomas Tildesley who rebuilt it in a Jacobean style.

In 1639, owing to debts incurred during the rebuilding works, Richard Tildesley was forced to sell it to Thomas Blackburne.  

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By 1716 the hall had been greatly enhanced and it was during this period that it became renowned for its outstanding collection of rare plants, trees and unusual animals. The ‘Hothouse’ in the grounds was the first in the country to grow pineapples, coffee, tea and sugarcane. The hall grounds also boasted an orangery where citrus fruits were grown.

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In 1833 William Beaumont, the first Mayor of Warrington, leased the hall. After his death his wife continued to live there until she died. For a short period of time after her death the hall was used by the Warrington Training College but then fell empty.

In 1916 the hall and 18 acres of grounds were purchased by a group of local gentlemen for the sum of £3,600 from Colonel Robert Ireland Blackburne as a gift and memorial for the town of Warrington – for "…the lads of Warrington who had fought and died in the Great War".

The grounds were opened as a public park on 4 August 1917.

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By 1935 the hall itself was in a state of disrepair and the costs of restoration were thought to be too high and it was sadly demolished. A photograph of the hall can be viewed in the heritage section of the Council’s website.  
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The wildflower meadow in the northern section of the park.

Directions

Take the A49 north out of the town centre. Go past the McDonalds restaurant on your left. Take the 2nd right turn, crossing the dual carriageway into Alder Lane. The car park is half a mile down on the left.

From the M62 motorway, leave the motorway at junction 9. Follow the signs for Warrington towards the town centre along the A49. Take the first left after Warrington Collegiate into Alder Lane. The car park is half a mile down on the left.

The No.22 bus from Warrington Bus Station leaves at 20 minutes past the hour and stops at Hallfields Road. The No.25 bus from Warrington Bus Station leaves at 10 minutes to the hour and also stops in Hallfields Road.

How to Contact The Rangers  

Tel/Fax: 01925 658098
Email the Rangers

Ranger Cabin, Orford Park, Alder Lane, Orford, Warrington, WA2 8AG

Click here for Part 2

 

Warrington - A Town of Many Industries

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