Murdishaw Wood

2.2 miles / 3.5 km
1h 30m
Nature reserve entrance, Murdishaw Avenue, Murdishaw
OS Explorer 275 Liverpool
Some steep gradients and unsurfaced paths
Three flights of steps
Category 5 Explain

Halton Borough Council: 01928 583905

Murdishaw Wood, owned by the Woodland Trust, is on a gentle, north-facing slope and through it run three streams in steep-sided valleys. The wood is dominated by sycamore which appears to have colonised after clear felling some time ago. However, it has a ground-flora indicative of ancient woodland and includes honeysuckle, wild rose, wild millet, wood melick, lady fern, wood false brome, enchanter's nightshade, giant fescue, meadowsweet, ground ivy, wood sorrel and herb Bennett. There is a small area of damp, unimproved grassland to the south of the wood which is well used for recreation by the local general public.

Murdishaw Valley is less well documented. In the mature woodland, there are trees over 100 years old, including oak and beech, with some ash, alder, cherry, hawthorn and sycamore. There is evidence of coppiced hazel, ash, willow and alder. Most of the grasslands show a diverse flora including grasses, wildflowers, rushes and sedges. There are blocks of structure planting to provide a screen with the Murdishaw housing area. These plantings are now 20 years old, containing mixed native species and a few conifers. Wetland areas consist of the stream and some associated alder carr habitat.

The valley is excellent for woodland birds. Great spotted woodpecker is readily found among the stands of mature timber, as are nuthatch and treecreeper. Marsh tit is an increasingly scarce bird in the region but can still be found in the valley alongside its close cousin the willow tit.

  1. Take the path into the woodland opposite Rose Close on Murdishaw Avenue.

  2. Bear left, crossing the stream twice and passing close to the busway.

  3. Bear right away from the houses.

  4. Cross the footbridge over the busway.

  5. Turn left then bear right at the fork.

  6. Bear right down to the stream again. Do not cross it on the footbridge to the right, but on the one straight on.

  7. Turn left and recross the stream.

  8. Turn right then bear left to follow the edge of the housing estate.

  9. Turn right at Murdishaw Avenue.

  10. Take the path on the right opposite the Bridgewater Canal marina.

  11. Turn left to begin retracing your steps.

  12. Turn right along the stream.

  13. At the next junction turn right, diverging from your earlier route.

  14. Turn left just before the busway on the tarmaced path.

  15. Recross the busway footbridge.

  16. Turn left away from the houses, remaining beside the busway.

  17. After crossing the stream, bear left towards the motorway.

  18. Bear left then right.

  19. Follow the path round to the right just before the playing field to avoid leaving the woods.

  20. Follow the path round to the left.

  21. Turn right at the T junction to return to Murdishaw Avenue.