Sankey Valley Park
Sankey Valley Park, a pleasant linear park in Warrington, which links to the Trans-Pennine Trail, follows a stretch of Sankey Brook and the old Sankey Canal. The Sankey Valley Park forms a lush green corridor which runs which stretches 1½ miles between Sankey Bridges in the south and Callands in the north. The park provides amenities for walkers, cyclists and anglers and the central section of the park is family orientated with children's play features, a maze and lawned areas and mature woodland.
The Sankey Valley follows the course of the Sankey Canal, the first canal to be cut in England, and stretches for 15 miles (24 km) from St Helens through Warrington to Widnes. The canal was opened in 1757 to carry coal from the mines around the St Helens area to the markets of Liverpool and Cheshire, it pioneered the canal age. The canal was responsible for shaping the valley, its environment and development from the late 18th century to the early 20th century.
The decline of the canal system was the result of the advent of the railways but the stretch of the Sankey canal that Sankey Valley Park now occupies remained open until 1963. Today the local authorities of Warrington, St Helens and Halton along with the Sankey Canal Restoration Society, are developing the Sankey Canal Trail as a 15 mile (24 km) greenway either side of the park, whilst working towards the restoration of a navigation route.
The park is home to a wide range of wildlife, including squirrels, swans, butterflies and woodland birds. Nocturnal inhabitants include foxes, owls, mice, hedgehogs and bats. In late spring, wild orchids can be seen in the meadow, whilst a wealth of butterflies visit during the summer. Most of the mature woodlands within the Valley are owned by the Woodland Trust who safeguard woods within the landscape, protect habitats for the benefit of wildlife and encourage public access and enjoyment.
The permanent orienteering course offers a challenging way to discover the park. Suitable for people of all ages, capabilities and levels of experience, orienteering packs are available from the rangers at £2 each.
Bewsey Old Hall
On the western side of the Sankey Valley Park lies Bewsey Old Hall.
The hall dates from Jacobean times and is surrounded by a moat which was dug in the fourteenth century. The moat only partly holds water today.