Size:

1.08 ha (2.67 acres)

Grid reference:

SJ548826

Map reference:

Explorer 275

OS Landranger 108

Small, but perfectly formed, Fountains Wood is a hidden gem in an urban landscape. The wood is home to an abundance of wildlife, including the increasingly rare water vole, and once belonged to the nearby Augustinian monastery of Norton Priory. It links up with local recreational routes, so it’s a great place for a walk.

Features

  • Public access
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to Fountains Wood

Fountains Wood is a 1.1-hectare (2.7-acre) urban wood, lying within the Windmill Hill housing estate.

It is surrounded on two sides by housing and is bordered to the north by the Bridgewater Canal. The wood is connected to the wider footpath network by the Bridgewater Canal tow path.

From Runcorn, head east along the A558 and take the exit towards Windmill Hill. At the roundabout, take the first exit onto Manor Park Avenue. Then, at the second roundabout, take the second exit to Windmill Hill Avenue North. Finally, at the third roundabout, take the third exit for Windmill Hill Avenue West.

The nearest train station is Runcorn East, 2.7km (1.7 miles) from the wood.

Visit National Rail for more information.

The nearest bus stop is Southwood Avenue, which is on the housing estate around a five-minute walk from the wood.

Visit Traveline for more information

Facilities and access

Two sections of surfaced footpath skirt the eastern and southern boundaries of the wood, with the Bridgewater Canal towpath on the northern boundary.

There are three access points: one from the canal towpath, another from the playing field to the south, and a third opposite houses on Lockgate West on the eastern side of the site.

There is no car park on the site but it is possible to park in the housing estate or at Norton Priory Museum car park. Follow the signs to the Bridgewater Canal and Fountains Wood is immediately on the left after crossing over the canal at Green Bridge.

Norton Priory Museum, close to the wood, has a toilet for customers in its café. The nearest public toilet is at Halton Lea shopping centre, which is 2.5km (1.6 miles) from Fountains Wood.

Wildlife and habitats

Animals

While it might be small in size, Fountains Wood is hub of activity when it comes to wildlife. Great crested grebe, mute swan and Canada goose can be seen along the canal, as well as common hawker and ruddy darter dragonflies which flit above the water. The increasingly uncommon water vole also resides in this wood, as do the fox and grey squirrel.

Look out for:

Trees and plants

This small woodland consists of a variety of broadleaf trees, including semi-mature sycamore, oak, silver birch, ash, hawthorn and holly. Look to the ground during the spring time for a peek at the pockets of stunning bluebell and sunny lesser celandine sprinkled throughout the wood.

Look out for:

Habitats

Despite its small size, Fountains Wood still manages to offer several habitats which appeal to a variety of wildlife. Predominantly made up of broadleaved woodland, the wood also sits near the canal, which is home to dozens of water birds.

Explore:

About Fountains Wood

History

From 1134 until the dissolution of the monasteries, Fountains Wood was owned by the Augustinian monastery of Norton Priory. The site then became part of the Brooke family estate, and the Bridgewater canal, which forms the northern boundary of the wood, was built across the land in the 18th century. The family sold the estate in the 1920s. The site was given to us in 1995, along with a number of other woodlands in Runcorn.

Things to do in Fountains Wood

Walking

Although the wood is small in size, the unsurfaced footpath featured throughout links up with longer recreational routes in the area, making it the perfect place to enjoy a walk. You can extend your outing by taking a stroll along the Bridgewater Canal or continue on to the museum and walled garden at the ancient Norton Priory.

Norton Priory Museum & Gardens

The most excavated monastic site in Europe, Norton Priory Museum displays thousands of artefacts from its 900-year history.

Visit Norton Priory Museum & Gardens for more information.

Fountains Wood - Management plan

Download

Fountains Wood Management Plan

PDF  (123 KB)