Know before you go
Please note the new Orange and Purple trails which cross privately owned land are currently not open to the public at the landowner’s request. Please follow the original trail links below to walk around the whole site. The shorter Green trail is still fully open.
Some parts are accessible such as the woodland.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitAll year round
About the reserve
This site, situated in the heart of the Swettenham Valley near Holmes Chapel, really is one of Cheshire’s hidden gems. It comprises a mosaic of habitats including ancient woodland, a network of wildlife rich ponds, scrub and series of species rich meadows intersected by numerous wet springs and flushes adding to the diversity of the area. Together these habitats support an abundance of wildlife most notably valuable populations of 14 resident species of butterfly.
Management of the reserve is focussed around the herb rich pasture and meadows. Most of the land is steep and inaccessible to machinery and is therefore managed by means of a sympathetic grazing regime during the spring and autumn in partnership with a local farmer. Over the years this management has given rise to an abundance of wildflowers including; betony, knapweed, devils-bit scabious, birds-foot trefoil, ragged robin, cuckooflower and common spotted.
In 2016 our reserves team undertook an ambitious restoration project on a 2.4 ha meadow at the reserve. Green hay, which we harvested from nearby Dane-in-shaw Pastures, was strewn across the meadow in an attempt to introduce further botanical diversity. This work has been successful in diversifying the meadow with species such as yellow rattle, lesser trefoil, ribwort plantain and catsear all now abundant.
From the Swettenham Arm’s car park a network of footpaths can be accessed which accommodate a range of abilities and include a walk through Tatton Garden Society’s Lovell Quinta Arboretum