Plantlife

There are two woodlands in the reserve. Kitchen Wood, directly north of the hall, is so named because it was a garden supplying the hall with food in the 18th & 19th Century. Remnants of a vineary and greenhouses can still be seen on the pathways. Alkrington Wood is to the south and remains mostly undisturbed by human settlement apart from Wood cottage which is privately owned.

Some quite old beech trees remain in the oldest part of Alkrington Wood together with sessile oak, sycamore and horse chestnut. The area near the cottage was under-planted with stands of holly some 20 years ago. If you explore the trees along the river footpath you will see more introduced species including red oak, horse chestnut, sweet chestnut, European larch, fastigiate hornbeam, whitebeam, rowan cultivars and Norway maple.  

Underneath more recent plantations around the lodges wild garlic and bluebell  have been planted and some selective tree thinning has taken place to complement this work. There are naturally colonised downy birch and native rowan and goat willow in wetter areas.

Goat Willow (Salix caprea) at Sandy Beach Lake

The reserve has a fine range of grassland species occurring on the former tip by Manchester Old Road including goatsbeard, common spotted orchid, marsh orchid, tufted vetch, meadow vetchling, and creeping thistle. Wetland species have been successfully introduced around the lodges include purple loosestrife, meadowsweet, ragged robin, sweet flag, common reed, galingale, branched bur reed, soft rush and tufted hair grass.

An introduced wildflower area on the slope of big lodge includes cowslip, oxslip, ox eye daisy, red campion, orange hawkweed, black knapweed, and angelica.

Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza)
Hawkweed (Pilosella)