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Marshall's Arm Local Nature Reserve

With woodlands, meadows and the River Weaver, Marshall’s Arm LNR is the perfect location for an afternoon of exploring the local wildlife.

It was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 1998, for wildlife and people. The arm refers to the arm of the river that is in the reserve, they are the old meanders of the river before it was straightened for the movement of salt in 1700’s. The Marshall family owned the Hartford Manor estate from the 1700’s to the early 1900’s, and so Marshall’s Arm.

Walk through the three fingers of woodland, in spring and see a magnificent carpet of Bluebells, with Wild Garlic also prominent, dotted with Wood anemone and Lesser celandine. Three species of woodpecker make their home in the woods, listen out for the ‘drumming’ sound, as they search for food.

At the east (bottom) of the woods, the reserve opens out to reveal the meadows and the River Weaver, and its man made ox bow lakes.

The bird and insect life here is brilliant. Sit and watch for the characteristic brilliant blue flash of a Kingfisher, or the slow and elegant Mute Swan. Soaring above the woods you may see a Buzzard being mobbed by Crows.

The rare Hairy Dragonfly may be seen, along with many other species of dragonfly and damselfly. The Common Darter, likes returning to the same resting place, so sit and watch and you may get a close up view of this fascinating red flying machine. In early summer look out for the beautiful Banded Demoiselle, a damselfly with a blue body and dark wings which flits around the waters edge, almost butterfly like.

The site is a favourite with dog walkers and fisherman, why not bring a picnic, explore the woods and river, then sit on the meadow under the shade of an oak tree and enjoy the beautiful surroundings that is Marshall’s Arm Local Nature Reserve.

The reserve has an active Local management group and friends group who organise events, practical tasks and training. They are always looking for new members.


Access via Stones Manor Lane, Hartford, Saxons Lane Northwich or via the tow path from the ‘Blue bridge’ off the A556. There are several small entrances off the Hartford Campus.


The main path through the site is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, a radar key is required to enter off Saxons lane. All other entrances have sloping paths and some steps. There is no car park.

Exploring further afield

To the south along the river weaver footpath is the ‘Blue bridge’, to the north is Hunts Lock. Northwich Woodlands are within walking distance.

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