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Once a country estate for the gentry, now a beautiful park for us
Marbury Country Park (Northwich)
Member Name: markos9
Marbury Country Park (Northwich)
Advantages: Plenty of activities and pretty scenery. Very cheap day out.
Marbury Country Park lies near the town of Northwich in Cheshire. It was once a grand country estate, with Marbury Hall at the centre of 200 acres of beautiful parkland. Today it is managed by Cheshire County Council for the benefit of the public. There is a large car park in the grounds; a small fee is charged to park all day.
On entering the park, the visitor can see signs of Marbury Park's stately history all around. The south end of the park is lush grassland, bisected by two magnificent avenues of majestic lime trees. An arboretum, near to the car park, has many exotic, strange looking trees, grown from seeds collected from all over the world.
The parkland is crisscrossed with many well laid paths, giving the visitor many miles of walks to explore. Cyclists and horse riders use the park, with the latter having their own trails to follow. Dog walking is popular, with bins provided for their waste, as is a dedicated field for them to do their 'business' in.
Much of the park is dense woodland, with many huge, ancient trees that tower over the people walking at their bases. Many of these will have been saplings when the last Marbury Hall was built in 1850 and would have been witness to its destruction, as mature trees, in the 20th Century.
In spring, a walk through the trees is enchanting; thousands of bluebells and wood anemones carpet the woodland floor giving a dazzling blue and white display especially when lit by some warm spring sunshine. In late spring, a tantalising smell of (to me anyway!) garlic sausage permeates the air. This is the scent of ramsons (wild garlic) that grows profusely in the woods.
The focal point of the park is Budworth Mere. This natural lake of around 80 acres is home to a superb head of coarse fish. Two different clubs own the rights to fish here (Warrington AA and Northwich AA). No day tickets are available, but season tickets, which allows this and other waters to be fished, can be purchased.
A path follows much of the south shore of the Mere, giving people wonderful views across towards the village of Great Budworth and its lovely old church. Children will be entranced to find that the ducks, geese, and even some of the swans are tame enough to be fed by hand. Be sure to take some bread with you and you could be surrounded by a noisy flock of up to 100 wildfowl!
The park also boasts an outdoor swimming pool, which is really popular in periods of nice weather (unfortunately not that frequent in this country).
Next to the car park is a children's play area which, although not huge, is nicely laid out and clean and tidy. An ice cream van is usually to be found near the car park, doing very brisk business in warm weather.
When the kids have finished playing, the picnic area close by, is a nice place to eat a pre-prepared open air lunch.
Marbury Country Park is justifiably famous for its bird life. There are two bird hides in the park, one overlooking the mere, the other overlooking a woodland bird feeding area.
During the winter, the very rare bittern, a sort of heron, takes up residence in the reed bed to the left of the bird hide and may give lucky bird watchers a glimpse or two as it creeps through the reed bed hunting for fish and frogs.
Lesser spotted woodpeckers, Britain's smallest and rarest woodpecker, live here all year round. This secretive little bird can sometimes be seen by the bird hide or in the mereside trees. Much easier to see are the kingfishers. These can be seen along the shore of the mere as they flash past on their way to catch a fish for their dinner; an electric blue streak in the sunlight.
In winter time, many species of duck congregate on the mere including tufted duck, pochard, teal, and shoveler. Unlike the semi-tame mallards, these are truly wild birds, which treat the bread laden visitors with disdain. Many other species of birds live in the park, so there's always something interesting to see.
The park is well looked after, by a dedicated team of rangers based on site. The grounds always appear neat and tidy, and litter is kept to a minimum. The rangers offer a series of guided walks, to introduce people to the special wildlife that share their home with so many people.
Marbury Country Park lies within Northwich Community Woodlands. The park's paths lead towards the other areas of the woodlands, which includes the bird rich areas of Neumann's and Ashton's flashes as well as Anderton Nature Park and its famous boat lift. Keen walkers can cover many miles in a day and not visit the same area twice.
Marbury Country Park with its beautiful woods, mere, and grasslands is deservedly popular with local people and visitors to the area. Although it can get busy on a nice day, the size of the park, its many paths, and wooded habitat, means that it never feels too overcrowded.
For the price of the car park fee (currently £1.50), visitors can easily find enough to do to while away a whole afternoon in lovely surroundings. A very healthy, enjoyable and economical way to spend the day.
Summary: A very popular, beautiful park for locals and visitors.
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