16.82 ha (41.56 acres)

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Map reference:

Explorer 276
OS Landranger 109

Gorse Covert Mounds is a haven for wildlife and local residents looking to escape the bustle of the urban environment. A mix of habitats, it supports a huge variety of flora and fauna. Its network of accessible paths means you can easily enjoy both woodland and waterside walks, and take in the stunning views from Pestfurlong Hill.


  • Parking at site
  • Public access
  • Grassland

How to get to Gorse Covert Mounds

Gorse Covert Mounds is a 19.6-hectare (48.4-acre) wood in the suburbs of Birchwood, 9.7km (6 miles) east of Warrington and close to Junction 11 of the M6. It forms a long, narrow ridge of green space running roughly south-west to north-east, and is sandwiched between the A574 (Birchwood Way) and the M62 to the north, and Gorse Covert housing estate to the south.

The site is part of the Mersey Forest, an expanding network of woodlands across Merseyside and North Cheshire, and is around 1.5km (0.9 miles) from the Risley Moss Local Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

From Warrington, take the A574 eastwards, towards Birchwood. At the roundabout after Birchwood Forest Park, take the third exit onto Moss Gate. At the next roundabout, take the first exit onto Fisherfield Drive, and then turn left for Gorse Covert Road where you will find the car park.

The nearest train station is Birchwood, 4.8km (3 miles) from the wood.

Visit National Rail for more information.

The nearest bus stop is situated close to the main entrance to the wood. The number 25 bus runs from Warrington and stops on Gorse Covert Road.

Visit Traveline for more information.

Facilities and access

The main entrance and car park is off Gorse Covert Road. The site is relatively flat and accessible, and has 3km (1.9 miles) of paths, most of which are stone surfaced, with access through kissing gates. The main path runs along a ridge so requires some up and downhill walking. Cycling is allowed along marked permissive routes.

The paths link to a wider network of footpaths and bridleways connecting the site to Birchwood Forest Park and the Woodland Trust-owned Pestfurlong Moss, a small woodland that contains remnants of the original peat moss land that once covered the area. This is easily visible from the path in the eastern section of Gorse Covert Mounds, although access into Pestfurlong Moss itself is limited.

There is a free car park at the main entrance to the wood.

The nearest toilets are at Birchwood Shopping Centre on Dewhurst Road, WA3 7PG, which have disabled facilities.

Wildlife and habitats


With such a wide variety of habitats, Gorse Covert Mounds is a haven for wildlife. Birdlife is plentiful, with 26 nesting species recorded on the site, including waxwing, siskin and blackcap.

The site’s many ponds come alive with frogs and toads. At least two of the ponds support the rare great crested newt. In summer, iridescent dragonflies and damselflies flit across the surface of the water, and at least 19 species of butterfly have been recorded. As dusk falls, you may also catch sight of bats darting through the air on the hunt for insects.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

In spring, the hawthorn, blackthorn and cherry are covered in white blossom. In summer, the meadows are sprinkled with wild flowers, such as daisy, buttercup, delicate pink herb-robert and the vivid violet of tufted vetch. Early autumn is a great time to gather juicy blackberries and watch the broadleaf trees changing to shades of russet and gold.

Look out for:


Gorse Covert Mounds is a mosaic of mixed woodlands, meadows and ponds, which supports an amazing variety of plants and wildlife.


About Gorse Covert Mounds

A century ago, the site was an expanse of flat bog, remnants of which can still be seen in Pestfurlong Moss, a small, linked woodland area also owned by the Trust.

During the Second World War, much of the bog was drained for the building of Risley Royal Ordnance Factory. The huge factory employed 30,000 workers, mainly women, who produced over a million mines and 500,000 high explosive shells. The factory was demolished in the 1960s and mounds formed from the spoil heaps.

In 2009, the Friends of Gorse Covert Mounds was formed to link the site with the local community as part of the Trust’s Woodland Communities Project.

Things to do at Gorse Covert Mounds


Gorse Covert Mounds has 3km (1.9 miles) of paths, which link to a wider network of footpaths and bridleways. There are a variety of walks available.


The Friends of Gorse Covert Mounds is a volunteer group which meets regularly on site, running practical conservation events and tasks.

Please email to get involved.


Gorse Covert Mounds Management Plan

PDF  (135 KB)