I'm a writer based in England's North West and love exploring new places, especially off the beaten track.
Also chronic illness blogger at www.sarahwarburton.com
Published April 5th 2021
Nature, peace and quiet alongside an intercity railway
Highfield Moss is a small nature reserve at just 12 hectares, located roughly midway between the towns of Warrington and Leigh. A rare example of a peatland environment, the reserve is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is managed by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust. It's a wild and beautiful place to spend a couple of hours watching nature and enjoying the peace and tranquillity.
We parked at Kenyon Hall Farm Shop where we picked up food for a tasty picnic to eat en route on our walk. Their pasties and pies are definitely to be recommended. From there, crossing the A579 Winwick Lane, you can access the reserve via public footpaths across the surrounding flat farmland.
The reserve is bisected by the Liverpool to Manchester railway and offers a good view of passing trains. In fact aside from dog walkers, the only other visitors I saw were a few keen trainspotters. Along the tracks lies a large bank of earth which is the result of the excavations to cut the railway. The mound is lined with gorse bushes and their vivid yellow flowers, and from the top, you can see right over the reserve to the farmland beyond.
Gorse flowers and pools at Highfield Moss
Much of the reserve is a peaty and marshy landscape covered by grasses, mosses and rushes. There are also two black, still, pools which are a focal point for walkers and dogs alike. In places, the paths were still quite wet and muddy but passable with care and decent footwear.
It's possible to do a circular walk around the outer perimeter of the reserve, then take public footpaths back to the Farm Shop. For us, the walk took just over two hours at a very leisurely pace but we did spend additional time picnicking and being entranced by a kestrel hovering and hunting for prey.
It was a lovely place to while away the time, and I will definitely return in the summer to explore more.