OS Grid Ref:- SJ664920
Risley Moss is an area of peat bog situated near Birchwood in Warrington. The area is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a designated Local Nature Reserve with a Green Flag Award.
The moss covers an area of 210.5 acres (85.2 ha) and is one of the last remaining fragments of the raised bogs that once covered large areas of South Lancashire and North Cheshire. Natural depressions in the glacial drift left by the ice sheets which covered the Cheshire–Shropshire plain during the last ice age, 10,000–15,000 years ago, filled with water, forming the meres and mosses characteristic of the area today. In some cases, like Risley Moss, peat accumulation filled the depression, allowing colonisation by bog mosses such as the Sphagnum varieties, thus giving rise to the name "moss".
There are a number of pathways through the moss, winding through wooodland and meadows, which are suitable for prams and wheelchairs. The woodland comprises mainly of oak, ash and hazel. Fungi and many species of wildflower, including red campion and foxglove are abundant along the trail edge as well as in meadow areas that act as a haven for butterflies, bees and other insects.
The Observation Tower offers panoramic view of the mosslands at tree top height, As many as 60 species of breeding birds and 50 visiting species can be observed on the moss in a good year, from the Mossland Hide, the Woodland Hide or the Observation Tower including Kestrel, Buzzards, Sparrow Hawk, Hen Harrier, Harris Hawk, Short Eared Owl, Peregrine Falcon, Pheasant, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Jay, Yellow Hammer, Green Finch, Bull Finch, Chaffinch, Long Tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, and Swallows.
Dotted close to the footpaths, around the Reserve are many wooden sculptures created by artists and local people including a huge wooden newt sculpture.
Exit the M62 motorway at junction 11 and follow the A574 for around a mile until reaching a roundabout. Turn left, go straight on at the next two roundabouts.
A walk at Risley Moss
Distance- around a mile
* From the Risley Moss car park head for the visitor centre, from which point take the signposted Acorn Trail, passing a picnic area. Continue straight ahead at the footpath junction following the signs for the Observation Tower.
*When you have seen the tower, retrace your steps back to the path junction and turn left and following the signs to the Woodland Hide, turning right down a short path to reach the hide.
*From the Woodland Hide return to the main path then turn right. From this path follow along the Nature Trail on the path signposted as heading to the Mossland Hide. From the Mossland Hide retrace your steps along the path through the woods to the main Nature Trail path. When you reach the path turn left and continue along it.
*On reaching a path off to the left marked to the Visitor Centre via Minimoss Trail and Steps, turn left to return to the Visitor Centre.
Follow the Country Code
*Be safe- plan ahead and follow any signs.
Protect plants and animals and take your litter home.
Keep dogs under close control
Leave gates and property as you found them