The Friends of Willaston Meadow foster and promote the conservation and management of Willaston Meadow and Woodland adjacent to the Willaston Recreation Ground for the benefit of the community.
However, a botanical survey revealed it to be mostly neutral grassland (unimproved for agriculture) and consequently rich in native flora such as pignut, yellow rattle and knapweed. It also provides a habitat for butterflies, insects and birds.
It is named on the Tithe Map of 1848, and was probably always used as a traditional hay meadow.
A public meeting was held on 3rd November 2004 to establish the Friends Group. The original members were Hilary Morris (Chair), David Nind (Secretary), Max Kirby (Treasurer), David Morris (Newsletter Editor), Elaine Mills and Pam Irving. The Group manages the area in association with Cheshire West and Chester Council. A Lottery grant in 2004 enabled the acquisition of gates, fencing and a notice-board.
Volunteers from the Friends and local community, including pupils from nearby Willaston Primary School, have planted new hedges, native trees and native wild flowers. The meadow is cut annually by Cheshire West and Chester Council.
An orchard, mainly of apples, but also containing pears and damsons, was established in 2004 with the support of the local Women’s Institutes. Since then, more fruit trees have been added; most of them are old varieties, some associated with Cheshire.
Big Meadow is a tranquil place in which to enjoy the natural world and find peaceful relaxation.
In 2023, students from Ellesmere Port CE College made a video about the Meadow which can be seen here:
The maintenance costs of Big Meadow are covered by the small annual subscription of the Friends Group, with the assistance of donations. For a copy of a membership form, click Membership form 2023
You can follow our activities and the latest information about the Meadow on our Facebook page.
We have volunteer days, normally on the first Sunday of the month, meeting at 10.30am when we tidy up the Meadow, cutting down brambles and planting. Everyone is welcome.
We have a small team of volunteers who visit the Meadow each month to see what birds are visiting us. In 2023, they spotted 43 species. Regular visitors, seen at least ten of the twelve months include blackbirds, blue tits, crows, great tits hedge sparrows, herring gulls, jackdaws, magpies and robins. Rarer visitors, spotted only once this year included Canada goose, feral pigeon, goldcrest, heron, house martin, kestrel, lesser black backed gull, pheasant, pied wagtail, redwing, stock dove and swift.
For the full details:
In April 2021, we had a newt survey done in Jackson’s Pond and found evidence of both Great Crested Newts and Smooth Newts.
Click on the links below to see our documentation.