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The Murdishaw Valley is located on the south eastern edge of Runcorn new town adjacent to the M56.
The steep sided valley has been wooded for hundreds of years. Part of this ancient semi natural woodland still remains, there are trees which over 100 years old, including oak, birch and beech, with some ash, alder, cherry, hawthorn, pine and sycamore.
There are also areas of younger woodland, open glades, five ponds, wildflower-strewn meadows and a meandering stream that flows along the valley bottom.
The Valley, which is partcularly attractive in late spring when it is clothed with a spectacular carpet of bluebells, covers an area of 36 hectares.
There are also yellow lesser celandine to be found, patches of wood anenomes with their delicate white flowers, sweetly fragranced honeysuckle, wild rose, wild millet, enchanter's nightshade, lady fern, with its lacy, fresh green foliage, meadowsweet, giant fescue, herb bennett and pungent wild garlic. Along the streamside are large clumps of sunshine yellow marsh marigold, which bloom in mid June.
Brightly coloured damselflies and dragonflies may be spotted round the ponds. Wild orchids flower in the meadows in the summer months, both common spotted orchid, with its distinctive lilac pink spots and stripes and southern marsh orchids, identifiable by its dark, rose purple flowers with spread pale sepals and dark spots and streaks, it is also known as the ‘spotted orchid’ due to the dark purple blotches on the leaves. A wealth of butterflies and other insects are drawn to the flowers to gather nectar. Brightly coloured, slender damselflies and larger dragonflies are also seen at Murdishaw Valley.
Once known as Mottershaw Wood, meaning spokesman’s wood. It lay on the boundary of five parishes and was reputedly the site of local meetings. The valley is excellent for woodland birds. Great spotted woodpecker is readily found, as are nuthatch, robin, jay, fieldfare, great tit, willow tit, marsh tit and treecreeper. Owls, bats, squirrels and foxes also inhabit the woods.
Murdishaw Valley LNR is jointly owned and managed by Halton Borough Council and the Woodland Trust.