Halton Borough Council: 01928 583918
This was a commercial plantation – effectively a tree factory – planted over 30 years ago. There had been a woodland at Daresbury in the 19th century, but this had mostly been cut down by 1910. The conifer plantation that we see now was planted in 1978.
The trees on Keckwick Hill behind Daresbury Firs are not part of the plantation. In this more natural woodland, if trees are cut down it is to let in light for wildflowers and young trees to grow, or to make the woodland safer and easier for the public to use.
Despite the name, there are no fir trees in the plantation, just three species of pine: Scots pine, Corsican pine and lodgepole pine from western North America. There are also some broadleaf trees, especially birches, which have seeded themselves.
Daresbury Firs is a good habitat for many creatures, though many are not obvious at first sight. The woodland also provides places for birds to roost in the security of the dense trees throughout the year. Relatively rare species such as goldcrests, coal tits and siskins have been spotted, and even crossbills, from the conifer forests of Scandinavia, occasionally find a winter home-from-home here.
Take the path into the site from Keckwick Lane about halfway between the main road and the roundabout.
Follow the path right then left around the field, climbing some steps.
Go straight on at the crossroads of paths, signposted 'View Point 1/3M'.
Turn right down the fill after about 300m (just before the viewpoint).
Turn right at the wide track.
Turn left at the major junction of tracks.
Turn right just before the kissing gate and follow the track round to the right.
Cross straight over a perpendicular track and follow the path up the hill to meet your former route near point 2. Turn left to return to the start.