Woolston Eyes Nature Reserve

An S.S.S.I. Managed by Woolston Eyes Conservation Group

Things to Know Permits, Group Visits and Renewals Directions Reserve Map & Paths

Things to Know

Access to Woolston Eyes Nature Reserve is by permit only. Permit holders have the loan of a key to negotiate the locked Reserve vehicle entrance and individual access gates on the open No.3 and No.4 beds. The Reserve is accessible, only with a key, 365 days a year during the open hours 08:00 to 20:00 from 1st April until 31st October and 08:00 to 16:00 from 1st November to 31st March. Beds No.2 and No.1 are working beds and are not accessible to any visitors.

Permits and arranged Group Visits are obtained only by postal application although online payment is available and there is no facility for on-the-day payment visitors.

If you are visiting by car please note; the canal side access track from the locked barrier at the end of Thelwall Lane to No.4 and No.3 bed parking is a compacted hardcore track which develops many potholes. It is very popular with cyclists, walkers and dog walkers. Drivers should proceed slowly and with caution especially in wet weather when the potholes are not visible.

Footpaths are natural mown grass which can become waterlogged and muddy in places in wet periods. All the viewing hides are accessed by flights of steps, a necessity to view over the high reedbeds, and are not regarded as wheelchair accessible.

Besides not venturing onto the top of the bunds and disturbing the wildlife the beds contain dangerous areas of deep fluid silt and water depth changes and the south-east part of No.4 bed is still in use for dredging deposits so it is important not to venture from the marked paths. When parking please do not obstruct the Canal Track as this is regularly used by heavy vehicles. Please close all windows and doors when leaving the hides and lock all the gated entrances and barriers after entering and leaving.

Please carry your permit with you and if requested show it to our wardens or MSCCo officials on request and we would appreciate you reporting interesting sightings to the Recorder, Brian Martin Tel. 01925-264251 or login to our sightings page and leave the record on the website.

Permits, Group Visits and Renewals

Permits allow visits to No.3 and No.4 beds 365 days per year. Our permit prices are £20-00 for a single individual permit and £30-00 for a family permit. All permits are renewed on 1st April each calendar year irrespective of when they were purchased except those purchased after 1st January to 31st March which will be valid until 1st April the following calendar year. Permit application is by post only to facilitate return of the permit and access key although payment by bank transfer an be made.

Download a Permit Application Form

Woolston Eyes has become a popular venue for visits by bird watching groups and groups are required to book a visit date via our Group Visit Booking Form. Prior to booking it is advised you check the intended date is free on our Group Visit calendar 2024 Booked Group Visits Calendar which is reproduced in our Latest News Section on our Homepage. Please send the completed Booking Form to Mrs Rosalind Martin, 45 Albert Road, Grappenhall, Warrington, Cheshire,WA4 2PF, enclosing an SAE. Please Note: We are no longer able to offer the services of a warden for escorting groups around the Reserve. We can offer maps of No.3 and No.4 beds showing the entrance points, footpaths and sites of the viewing hides and your access on and off the Reserve will be discussed and agreed in the booking process. The cost of a visit is £3.00 per person. If any of the group are existing Woolston Eyes permit holders there will be no charge for that person. There is a minimum charge of £20.00 for any visit which we require in advance as a non-refundable deposit. We understand the exact size of the party may not be known until the day of the visit so please make the final payment as agreed during the booking process or by cheque payable to W.E.C.G. and sent to Rosalind Martin at the address given above.

Download a Group Visit Booking Form

Your permit fee along with grants we pursue enable us to retain the full-time services of an Estate Worker. Buying in their services from the RSPB has enabled us to tackle many of our habitat management tasks, to the benefit of both wildlife and visitors.


By Car – Access by all vehicles is via Thelwall Lane to the west of the Reserve alongside the north bank of the Manchester Ship Canal at Latchford Locks. Use Sat-Nav Post Code WA4 1PD. Your Reserve key will open the track barrier to reach the parking areas for No.4 bed and No.3 bed.

On Foot - You can access on foot by the vehicle route from Thelwall Lane and additionally from the east via a public footpath which runs from the end of Weir Lane across Woolston Weir up the hill and down to the Ship Canal track with the entrance to No.3 bed on your right. Please do not use Weir Lane to park vehicles as it restricts access for residents.

Location of Woolston Eyes on Google Maps

By Train – Warrington Central and Bank Quay Stations are 4km and 4.5km west of the Reserve with the bus interchange directly opposite the Central Station.

By Bus - Anyone intending to visit the reserve using public transport is advised to check up to date information from Warrington Transport before setting out. Buses do run regularly to within ¼ mile of Latchford Locks on the western side and close to Weir Lane on the north-east side from the interchange opposite Warrington Central Station. The Warrington bus travel website address at 1st Jan 2024 was; https://www.warringtonsownbuses.co.uk/services