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Size:

20.18 ha (49.86 acres)

Grid reference:

SJ550822

Map reference:

Explorer 276

OS Landranger 108

Once part of Norton Priory estate, Windmill Hill is an oasis of mixed woodland and a haven for a varied range of wildlife. The wood is just one of a cluster of our sites in the immediate area, including Big Wood and Fountains Wood.

Features

  • Parking nearby
  • Public access

How to get to Windmill Hill

Windmill Hill is located just east of Runcorn and south-east of Warrington. The 22.8-hectare (56.34-acre) woodland also includes St Berteline’s Wood.

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 on to Manor Park Avenue, and at the next roundabout take the second exit on to 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. Finally, turn right onto Broadfields, where there are two entrances.

The nearest train station is Runcorn East, 2.1km (1.3 miles) from the wood, and Runcorn, 8.7km (5.4 miles) away.

Visit National Rail for more information

There are a number of buses from Runcorn which stop by the shops on Windmill Avenue and on the busway running adjacent to the north and western boundaries of the wood.

It is just a short walk from the bus stops into the woodland itself and entrances are clearly visible.

Visit Traveline for more information.

Facilities and access

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 mobility 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 1km (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.

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.

Parking is available at local district shops and for customers of the Windmill Pub (WA7 6QZ). Alternatively, roadside parking is permitted in the housing estate close to the wood.

The closest public toilets are at the Halton Lea shopping centre to the west of the wood. Opening hours are 9am-8pm Monday to Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday.

Wildlife and habitats

Animals

Windmill Hill provides a wooded oasis for local wildlife. The woodland is alive with birds, including owls, woodpeckers and brightly plumed chaffinches, while the ponds are home to frogs, toads and newts.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

Windmill Hill is diverse, secondary woodland which hosts a wide range of tree and plant species.

Look out for:

Habitats

The mixed woodland and ponds at Windmill Hill boast a wide range of vegetation, creating important habitats for local wildlife.

Explore:

History of Windmill Hill

Windmill Hill was once part of the estate attached to the Augustinian monastery of Norton Priory. After the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century, the estate was bought by Vice Admiral Sir Richard Brooke.

Windmill Hill was donated to the Woodland Trust in 1995 along with a number of other woodlands in Runcorn. Since then, we have worked with local groups, including the Windmill Hill Residents’ Association and Windmill Hill Environmental Forum, to improve the site for the benefit of local people and wildlife.

St Berteline’s Wood was added as an extension to Windmill Hill in 1997 when the Commission for the New Towns gifted the land to the Woodland Trust. Approximately 1.7 hectares (4.2 acres) of native broadleaved trees were planted in 1998/9 as part of our millennium project, Woods on your Doorstep (WOYD).

Things to do in Windmill Hill

Walking

There are fantastic opportunities for lovely woodland walks of various lengths, taking from 20 minutes to one hour. A permissive bridle path runs through the wood from the canal towards Norton Hill and the 35.4km (22-mile) long distance Timberland Trail passes through the wood also from the canal towards Norton Hill.

Windmill Hill - Management plan

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Windmill Hill Management Plan

PDF  (158 KB)