Back to reserve map

Gowy Meadows

An extensive area of lowland grazing marsh covering a total area 165.8ha

Lying in the rumbling shadow of Stanlow refinery, Gowy Meadows is one of the Trust’s newer reserves and is at the heart of our Living Landscape. Covering over 400 acres (165ha) the Gowy is often where you’ll see our grazing herds of Longhorn cows and Hebridean sheep, working hard to create ideal conditions for wading birds such as lapwing and farmland songster the skylark.


The ditches criss-crossing the reserve are also home to water voles, and you may be lucky enough to hear the distinctive ‘plop’ as they drop from the bankside into the water. The reserve is particularly impressive for aquatic invertebrates including the lesser silver water beetle, and is home to more than a dozen types of both butterflies and dragonflies, with banded demoiselles a feature from late-May.


Wheatear can often appear in the fields on migration, and there's always the chance of a special spring visitor like a ring ouzel. Summer breeders include reed and sedge warblers, with their stcratchy calls rising from the ditches, and cuckoos can occasionally be heard too. When winter conditions are right, the fields can play host to small numbers of wigeon and our smallest duck, the teal, with jack snipe a rare but welcome visitor in some years.


Although seldom seen, our infra-red cameras have also recorded otters along the River Gowy, and field signs such as spraints are sometimes recorded by our staff on the reserve.


See the Gowy Meadows nature reserve Management Plan


Species and habitats

Farmland, Grassland, Meadow

Nearby nature reserves

Moston Community Nature Reserve
4 miles - Cheshire Wildlife Trust
Pickering's Scrape
6 miles - Cheshire Wildlife Trust
Hockenhull Platts
6 miles - Cheshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Thornton le Moors,
Ellesmere Port
Map reference
SJ 435 740
Great for...
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
165.80 hectares
Living Landscape schemes
Gowy and Mersey Washlands

Sorry, access to this reserve is not possible for those with limited mobility
Walking information
There are over 3km of footpath trails that cross the reserve and all key habitats
From the A56 travelling south, turn right at Bridge Trafford. Take the B5132 north. Go over the M56. At the end of the road turn left onto the A5117. Take the third road on your left, which is the main road into Thornton-le-Moors. Park next to the church. The footpath is opposite. The reserve is open to all, please keep to the public footpath
Dogs allowed
Grazing animals
Longhorn cattle, Hedridean sheep
Reserve manager
Cheshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01948 820748


Factsheets and guides for your visit

Buy for wildlife at Vine House Farm