Places to see birds

Northwich Community woodlands - Marbury Country Park and the Flashes

Northwich Community woodlands - Marbury Country Park and the Flashes
Neumann's flash -Laura Bimson

Northwich Community Woodlands is a huge area, nearly a 1,000 acres from it's northern boundary formed by Budworth Mere to Northwich in the south. Marbury Country Park, Anderton Nature Park, Ashton's and Neumann's Flashes, Dairy House Meadows and at least five other woods form the area. The area covers a variety of habitats which provide a rich haven for a host of wildlife such as over 220 species of birds, 19 dragonflies, 30 mammals.

Marbury Country park is home to a mature ancient woodland with small areas of open park/grassland and interlaced with Streams. A large natural lake, Budworth mere forms part of the northern boundary of the park. Some of the birds you will find on the mere are Mallard, Coot, Tufted duck, Great Crested and little Grebe, Canadian Geese, Wigeon, Shovelor, Moorhen, Common, Black headed, Gt Black backed gull,and Herons. Rare Bitterns have been found wintering in the reed bed, other migrant waders such as Dunlin, Redshank, Lapwing, Ringed plover search the mere mud. A large hide overlooks one end of the Mere, where the reed-bed is thickest, and allows good views of many of the water birds, including occasional views of Water rails and Kingfishers.

Dependant on the season, the mature woodland and open fields are home to most of the commoner birds; Great, Blue, Long tailed and Coal Tits, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Jay, Nuthatch, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Pied wagtail, Stock dove, Song thrush, Lesser redpoll, Redwing, Fieldfare, Robin, Blackbird, Wood pigeon Siskin, Goldfinch, Meadow pipit, Treecreeper, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Great Spotted Woodpecker, and the rarer lesser spotted has been recorded. Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher have been seen in the wetter areas. There is a woodland hide with a feeding station in winter, it is frequently visited by lots of birds as well as the local squirrels. In 2007 an albino squirrel was seen feeding in the park!.

Marbury Country Park is a beautiful place, well worth a visit for a pleasant walk alone. But it's easy to find yourself wandering further a field.

Anderton Nature Park featuring the Anderton Boat Lift is now a haven for wildlife noted in particular for its wild flowers. Wildflower Trail leaflets are available from the Rangers' Office and th6e Boat Lift Operation Centre. The site is home to a Dragonfly pond where you may see Banded Demoiselle, Common Darter, Black-tailed Skimmer, Emperor Dragonfly and Southern Hawker to name a few. Smaller ponds on the reserve are home to common toads and frogs, smooth and great crested newts.
Why not combine your county walk with a ride on the Anderton Boat Lift a unique experience of being transported 50 feet on a hydraulic lift system, which transports narrow, working and trip boats from the Trent and Mersey canal to the River Weaver.

Once farm land Dairy House Meadows retains some of it's old hedgerows as boundaries, important corridors for wildlife that need to be preserved. It now provides habitats for some of Britain's rarest amphibians such as the Great crested newt. A footpath winds around the meadows and at a high point there are lovely open views across Forge Pool and to Marston Meadows beyond.

Ashton's and Neumann's Flashes are excellent areas for shorter walks or including in wider circular walks of the area.
Unique site conditions here allow many unusual species to thrive; the presence of salt and lime from old industrial workings, has allowed several seaside plants to establish, and attract rare butterfly species such as the Dingy skipper. A variety of bird species including waders and water fowl can be observed on the smaller Ashton's flash from three viewing points. Neumann's Flash has 3 bird hides and is home to a variety of common wildfowl. Swans, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Mallard and Tufted duck are present. In spring and in particular autumn, it is more interesting as there is a greater volume of waders passing through at these times, Curlew sandpiper and Red necked phalarope have been recorded here. It is also a good place for of Reed warblers, Sedge warblers and Common whitethroats .

All paths link in with routes in the wider Northwich Community Woodlands area.

Toilet facilties on site

Marbury Country Park,
Comberbach, Northwich,
Cheshire, CW9 6AT