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Gowy Meadows

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

Lying in the rumbling shadow of the Stanlow oil refinery, Gowy Meadows is one of the Trust’s newer reserves and is at the heart of our Gowy & Mersey Washlands Living Landscape.


Covering over 400 acres (165ha) Gowy Meadows is often where you’ll see grazing animals working hard to create ideal conditions for wading birds such as lapwing and farmland songster the skylark. Almost 140 bird species have been recorded at Gowy Meadows, including great white egret, marsh harrier, rough legged buzzard and glossy ibis.


The reserve is particularly impressive for aquatic invertebrates including the lesser silver water beetle and pond mud snail and is home to more than half of the dragonfly and butterfly species recorded across Cheshire, with banded demoiselles a delightful feature from late-May. The network of ditches that intersect the meadows host a superb assemblage of aquatic plant species and 65 species of hoverfly and over 230 moth species have been recorded across the reserve to date.


Wheatear appear in the fields during spring migration and there's always the chance of a special spring visitor like a ring ouzel. Summer breeders may include reed and sedge warblers, with their scratchy calls rising from the ditches along with whitethroat in the hedgerows. When winter conditions are right, the wet meadows and ponds can play host to widgeon and our smallest duck, the teal. Gadwall are a becoming a regular sight on the ponds with jack snipe a welcome visitor along with green sandpipers and little egret.


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. Water voles are known to use the extensive ditch system on the reserve and latrines and feeding remains can be found dotted along the ditch banks and some of the more open pond edges.

Species and habitats

Farmland, Grassland, Meadow

Nearby nature reserves

Pickering's Scrape
6 miles - Cheshire Wildlife Trust
Hockenhull Platts
6 miles - Cheshire Wildlife Trust
Hunter's Wood
7 miles - Cheshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Thornton le Moors
Ellesmere Port
Map reference
SJ 435 740
Great for...
Insect spotting
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Opening Times
Open at all times
165.80 hectares
Living Landscape schemes
Gowy and Mersey Washlands
There is access to the site all year round. Unfortunately it is not suitable for wheelchairs.
Walking information
There are over 3km of footpath trails that cross the reserve and all key habitats
Parking in the lay by adjacent to Thornton-le-Moors Church off the A5117 Grid reference SJ44127 74557. Please keep to the public footpath and way marked permissive access paths.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Cheshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01948 820748