Nature Natters April 2017

Here is the full article sent to the Warrington Guardian in April 2017


If you are interested in nature or have ever wondered who to contact if you have concerns about threats to wildlife near to where you live, then the Warrington Nature Conservation Forum is a group that can help.

Established in 1992 as part of Agenda 21, which was itself a spin-off from the United Nations Rio Summit on the Environment, the Forum’s aims are to involve local people in decision making on matters affecting the natural environment and assessing Warrington’s natural wealth through surveys and recording.  In addition, our aim is to enable the improvement and management of wildlife habitats in the Borough of Warrington and provide better access to nature alongside our Wildlife partners

It may come as a surprise to some that Warrington has many nature reserves that are of regional and national importance for wildlife such as Risley Moss, Woolston Eyes, Moore Nature Reserve and Rixton Claypits.  These are all Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), with Rixton Claypits and Risley Moss also having a higher, European, designation.  These sites are known to local people who visit, but not to all Warringtonians.  Warrington’s best sites are visited by many people from outside the area, attracted to Woolston Eyes for example as the main breeding site in the U.K. for a very rare grebe.

Forum members have interests in all types of wildlife and are passionate about protecting our natural assets. The Forum has worked closely with Warrington Council for nearly 25 years, providing support and expertise to the Council’s Natural Environment Officer, and contributed greatly to the Nature Conservation Strategy that the Council adopted some years ago.  This worked well until recently, but with cuts to Local Authority budgets the Environment Officer post has been lost along with our web page and the Ranger Service reduced to a fraction of what it once was.  As a result, care of our parks and some of our wildlife sites have suffered, as has scrutiny of planning applications that could have a detrimental effect on our wildlife.  Housing developments and HS2 pose other threats.

The voice of the Forum is therefore more important than ever and we would be pleased to welcome anyone with an interest in wildlife to become a member of the Forum.  You do not have to be an expert and will receive a friendly welcome and hopefully learn more about the great wildlife that shares Warrington with us.  No-one will forget the amazing Starling roost at Woolston Eyes (estimated to be 400,000 birds) a few winters ago, that astonished those who saw it and even attracted a well-known BBC presenter!

If you would like to know more about the Forum please visit the Warrington Nature Conservation Forum website and to contact us through the page or through our e mail address:, or see our Facebook page. We meet quarterly, almost always with a speaker and we also arrange outdoor meetings at local sites.  We are in the process to developing a new website that will be up and running very soon.

With Spring now almost with us migrant birds are beginning to arrive and closer to home frogs are spawning in ponds.  Already an Osprey has been seen over Warrington and the first Sand Martins and Chiffchaffs are back. Resident birds are singing loudly, a foretaste of what is to come.  The Blackthorn bushes have almost finished flowering, and Coltsfoot, early Dandelions and Crocuses are attracting Bumblebee queens.



reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)
Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)











Why not join us in the Forum, discover the richness and diversity of Warrington’s wildlife, and help contribute to its protection?  For further details please email


Brian Martin