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More about Windmill Hill

This mixed broadleaf woodland was once part of the estate belonging to the nearby Norton Priory and then subsequently the Brooke family. Today, it’s a tranquil natural haven where you can escape the hubbub of town, look out for wildlife, and enjoy the changing seasons. The site is the largest of a cluster of Woodland Trust sites in the immediate area which include nearby Big Wood and Fountains Wood.

At Windmill Hill, you can wander among the sycamore, silver birch and oak, listening to birdsong and watching the antics of the squirrels. In spring, the woodland floor is carpeted with vivid bluebells and later in the year you’ll find colourful heather and bilberry in the small areas of open heathland. The diverse range of broadleaf trees provides some stunning autumn colour too.

The woodland is alive with birds, including owls, woodpeckers and brightly plumed little chaffinches, while the ponds are home to frogs, toads and newts.

Windmill Hill’s network of mostly surfaced paths link with longer routes in the area, so you can combine your woodland walk with a stroll along the Bridgewater Canal or visit the museum and walled garden at Norton Priory.

Setting

Windmill Hill wood is a 23ha (56-acre) urban woodland located to the east of Runcorn. It is bordered on all sides by housing, except for part of the western boundary which adjoins parkland and a bus route. Windmill Hill wood includes St Berteline’s Wood, an area of new woodland to the south west, which was planted in 1998/99.

OS Explorer 276, Landranger 108, SJ550822

Access and walks

The wood has more than 20 pedestrian entrances from the neighbouring housing estates, some of which are barrier free and others with either squeeze gap access or Centrewire kissing gates suitable for buggies and wheelchairs. There is barrier free access at the entrance off Broadfields, to the south of the woodland on the Norton Cross housing estate, at several entrances close to local shops on Windmill Hill Avenue West and from the Bridgewater Canal entrance at the northern end of the wood.

The main woodland has an extensive network of surfaced footpaths. Most are suitable for buggies and wheelchairs although they can be muddy in winter. There is a permissive bridleway of around one kilometre (0.6 miles), which is waymarked with posts. It runs from the northernmost entrance by the canal bridge to the western spur of the wood at Castle Park green space.

The footpaths link the wood to surrounding green spaces including Runcorn Town Park, Big Wood, Fountains Wood, the Bridgewater Canal and the Sandymoor Valley. The Mersey Valley Timberland Trail also passes through the wood.

St Berteline’s Wood is accessed from Broadfields in the Norton Fields housing estate or from Norton Lane. The site is gently sloping with kissing gates at entrances.

There are fantastic opportunities for lovely woodland walks of various lengths, taking from 20 minutes to one hour.

Directions

By car
From Runcorn, head east along the A533 and join the A558 (Daresbury Expressway). Take the exit towards Windmill Hill. At the roundabout, take the first exit onto Manor Park Avenue, then at the next roundabout take the second exit onto Windmill Hill Avenue North. At the third roundabout, take the first exit to Windmill Hill Avenue East. Turn right onto Norton Lane and then at the next roundabout take the first exit onto Norton Gate. Turn right onto Broadfields, where there are two entrances.

Roadside parking is permitted. Alternatively, the local district shopping centre on Windmill Hill Avenue West on the eastern side of the wood has a free car park.

By train
The nearest station is Runcorn East (2.1km/ 1.3 miles).

By bus
There are a number of buses from Runcorn, stopping at the shops on Windmill Avenue and on the bus route running adjacent to the north and western boundaries of the wood. For up-to-date information on public transport, visit traveline or telephone 0871 200 22 33.

Local amenities

Public conveniences
The closest public toilet is at Halton Lea shopping centre. Norton Priory café has a toilet for customers.

Refreshments
There is a café at Norton Priory – visit the Norton Priory Museum & Gardens website. Runcorn has a wide range of restaurants and cafés.

Accommodation and tourist information
There are a several places to stay in Runcorn. For more information, visit TripAdvisor. The Runcorn tourist information centre is at 6 Church Street, Runcorn, WA7 1LT.

Entry into our woods is free but please donate now to help us care for them.