Woolston Park covers an area of 56 acres and was officially opened in 1977. It was created from neglected farmland to provide a valuable refuge for people and wildlife amongst the rapidly expanding local community.
Information provided by Warrington Borough Council
Additional information, photos and captions Copyright © Gordon I Gandy
Thousands of tonnes of soil were used to create the park’s open spaces and sports pitches. There are three main habitat types on the park – wetland, woodland and grassland.
Spittle Brook forms the backbone of the park. Its steep banks are the result of engineering works carried out to reduce the threat of flooding to local housing.
The park is home to small mammals, such as the endangered water vole, and kingfishers can sometimes be seen. You might spot a grebe in the winter. Celandines offer a first sign of spring, while late spring sees the arrival of Sedge Warblers from Africa. Spittle Brook, the wildfowl pond and the fenced wildlife pond, along with seasonal wet areas, form the main wetland areas.
The wildfowl pond was excavated in 1997 to provide a habitat for dragonflies and amphibians. Trees were planted to form the woodlands we see today. It is home to a breeding pair of swans, mallards and moorhens. Stands of willow provide a link with the area’s agricultural past, when vegetables were grown on the peaty soils of Woolston Moss. Farmers carried their produce to market in wicker baskets made from willow grown on the wetter parts of the farm, with many areas along Spittle Brook being used as willow beds.
The woodlands provide food and shelter for many creatures and are colourful in the autumn. Woodland birds include bullfinches and jays.
Take the path through Meadow Wood or visit the Hazel Coppice. This area, close to the Community Garden is managed to produce long, straight poles for craftwork and to benefit wildlife. Also, don’t forget to visit Jubilee garden.
Some grass is kept short for sport and informal games but in many areas of the park the grass is allowed to grow long. This is to encourage many plants to flourish and benefits insects and small mammals. Look out for the cornfield in the summer, which is planted near the wildlife pond and the wildflower meadow, close to Meadow Wood, attracting many butterflies.
Friends of Woolston Park
The ‘Friends’ are local people with a common interest. They meet once a month to discuss park issues and plan practical tasks which will keep Woolston Park looking good, well maintained and beneficial for wildlife. The Friends also help at Ranger Service events, help plan the annual Woolston Show and arrange social and fundraising events. New members are always welcome. If you would like to know more please contact the Rangers.
Woolston Park makes an excellent base from which to explore the local countryside and rights of way network, including Birchwood Forest Park, Risley Moss Local Nature Reserve, Paddington Meadows or Woolston Eyes Nature Reserve via paths along the New Cut Canal and River Mersey or go further afield to Rixton Claypits or Black Bear Park. You could even link up with the Trans Pennine Trail and come back on the penny ferry. Grey Mist fishing pool is accessed from New Cut Lane off Manchester Road (A57).
Take the A57 (Manchester Road) from Warrington to Holes Lane traffic lights, sign-posted Padgate. Turn right at the mini-roundabout into Hillock Lane, first left into Somerset Way and then immediately right into the drive to the car park. There are numerous pedestrian entrances.
From Warrington Bus Station, take the No.3 to the Dog & Partridge on Manchester Road or, Monday to Saturday, the No.4 or No.104 to Green Lane or Hillock Lane.
Padgate and Birchwood stations are within a mile of the park. From Padgate follow Green Lane into the park. Blue road signs link the way from Birchwood Station to the park.
There is designated parking for orange badge holders within the car park. The park is mainly level with a good network of bitmac paths to the east of the brook. There are regular resting points and a wheelchair accessible picnic area just off the car park.
For more information on the park, see the Warrington Borough Council website.
Check with Warrington’s Own Buses for up-to-date information on bus timetables.