Category Archives: News

Best Feet Forward

It is nearly 6 months since arsonists burned down the Risley Moss Cruden Observation Tower and there has been much discussion as to what should replace it.  The good news is that Warrington Borough Council are committed to replacing the old structure, but with what is uncertain at this stage.  Consultations are ongoing and in the New Year there will be a public consultation on the proposals which Risley Moss Action Group (RIMAG) will make public as soon as possible.

Left to right: Paul Speake, Chair of Risley Moss Action Group; Jenny McIntyre, Spectrum committee member; Mark Cozens, Warrington Borough Council Ranger Service and Janet Redpath, Race Director 2017.

RIMAG are coordinating the fund raising efforts of the local community and many donations have been channelled their way.  One such donation came from Spectrum Striders, who used  income from the Birchwood 10K in August to raise a donation of £500. Janet Redpath, the 2017 Spectrum Striders Race Director, along with committee member Jenny McIntyre, presented a cheque to the rebuilding fund. The Race Director said this was a way of the runners putting something back into the community.  The cheque was received by Mark Cozens of the Warrington Borough Council Ranger Service and Dr Paul Speake, Chair of RIMAG.

Groups have also raised funds by completing the Three Peaks Challenge of Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis or donating to the fund via a GoFundMe page, along with donations from the Friends of Birchwood Forest Park. Specific fund-raisers have been organised by RIMAG and a trio of local Mums, Emma, Sian and Karen known affectionately as the Coven, who organised the Halloween Event raising £2,500.  The total for the fund now sits at over £7300 and RIMAG intend to organise more events in the coming months.

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Risley Moss Tower Replacement; a straw poll.

The Tower, as it once stood in all it’s glory.

We at RIMAG where wondering what would be the best structure to replace the Tower  at the reserve.  But then we thought what do the local people want to see and what would best serve their needs.  So we would like your input. Do you have a drawing or suggestion as to what could replace the tower to best utilse and enhance the view?

Any Ideas can be e-mailed to us at

Thanks you any input will be greatly received and put forward to the council as to what the public would like to see.

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Risley moss Action Group and the Tower Fund


Risley moss Action Group and the Tower Fund

Risley Moss Action Group are liaising with Warrington Borough Council and their Rangers in order to raise money for the refurbishment of the iconic fire damaged observation tower.  If any one wishes to donate to this fund cheques made payable to Risley Moss Action Group can be handed into the rangers at the moss or deposited in the donations box in the visitor centre at the moss.  Any donations will be administered solely by Risley Moss Action Group and passed on to the council as and when the plans for the Tower come to fruition.  As RIMAG is a registered charity (No: 1041935) and if you are a current tax payer then we can claim monies from the Government under the flag of Gift Aid, to supplement your donation by 25%.  Please download (Gift Aid Declaration) and return the signed form with your donations.

We are also working on setting up a donations page on our website through the medium of PayPal when this is established we will post more information.

If anyone has any idea as to what they would like to replace the tower then the Rangers, RIMAG and the Council are open to any suggestions.  We are currently working in the framework to produce something that would be iconic but it would have to conform to full disability access as well as being iconic to fit in with current building regulations.  If you have any ideas then e-mail us on


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Garden Bumble Bees George Pilkington 11/03/17 11am

Garden Bumble Bees

Saturday 11th March

Risley Moss Local Nature Reserve

11.00am – 12.30pm

A talk by local expert George Pilkington on the ecology of bumble bees, their pests and his own innovative bumble bee nest boxes

Cost – £3 per person – Includes light refreshments

George is kindly donating any money generated to the Risley Moss Green Safari Fund

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Risley Moss Fungal Foray 09/10/16



Sunday 9th October 2016

Tom Ferguson


Basket of fungi collected on foray Sunday 9th October 2016
Basket of fungi collected on foray Sunday 9th October 2016



The foray took place at Risley Moss near Warrington which is an SSSI managed by the ranger service of Warrington Borough Council with voluntary support from the local community Action Group. The main part of the site is the former Lancashire mossland which is being restored to its former glory. However the foray took place within the predominantly Birch woodland which surrounds the moss

Fifteen people attended the foray including the Chair of the Action Group and two young enthusiasts who were invaluable in searching out fungi from the more impenetrable parts.

Fungi were a bit few and far between but thirty five species were identified. These were used to describe aspects of fungi such as their form, what to look for when identifying them, where they grow, mycorrhiza, the importance of mycorrhiza and their role in the ecological cycle.

The highlights included the Earthstars and Stinkhorn eggs and the BMS Pocket Guide was helpful in revealing what it looked like when mature. These along with the Saddles, Jelly Ear, Stagshorn, Woodwarts  and various brackets helped to demonstrate the great variety of shapes and sizes.

The most dramatic of the gilled fungi were Sulphur Tuft and Glistening Ink-cap which were seen in prufusion bursting out of several decaying tree stumps.

RISLEY MOSS Species list

October 9th 2016

Agaricus (sylvaticus)                                                   Wood mushroom

Annulohypoxylon multiforme                                Birch Woodwart

Auricularia auricula-judaea                                      Jelly Ear

Boletus badius                                                                  Bay Bolete

Chlorociboria aeruginascens                                   Green Elf Cup

Clitocybe (fragrans)                                                        Fragrant Funnel

Clitocybe (metachroa)

Coprinellus micaceus                                                   Glistening Inkcap

Coprinopsis  atramentarius                                      Common Inkcap

Daedalea quercina                                                          Oak Mazegill

Entoloma sp                                                                        Pinkgill

Ganoderma australe                                                      Southern Bracket

Helvella crispa                                                                   Common Saddle

Hypholoma fasciculare                                                  Sulphur Tuft

Inocybe geophylla                                                            White Fibrecap

Laccaria laccata                                                                  The Deceiver

Lacrymaria lacrymabunda                                          Weeping Widows

Lactarius tabidus                                                              Birch Milkcap

Lepiota cristata                                                                 Stinking Dapperling

Lepista flaccida                                                                  Tawny Funnel

Lycoperdon perlatum                                                    Common Puffball

Lyophyllum decastes                                                      Clustered Domecap

Mycena galericulata                                                        Common Bonnet

Mycena vitilis                                                                     Snapping Bonnet

Paxillus involutus                                                             Brown Roll-rim

Phallus impudicus                                                            Stinkhorn

Pholiota squarrosa                                                          Shaggy  Scalycap

Piptoporus betulinus                                                      Birch polypore,                                                                                                                      Razorstrop Fungus

Psathyrella multipedata                                              Clustered Brittlestem

Russula ochroleuca                                                         Ochre Brittlegill

Scleroderma citrinum                                                     Common Earthball

Scleroderma verrucosum                                             Scaly Earthball

Trametes versicolor                                                        Turkeytail

Xylaria hypoxylon                                                            Candle nuff/Stagshorn

Tom Ferguson

10 October 2016

Brackets are most likely but not absolutely certain identifications

Many thanks for Tom for this report on the species seen at risley moss on Sunday and I hope all who attended had a good time and came away with more appreciation of the Fungi around us.

Paul Speake

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What to See at Risley Moss in October 2016

October News

Although there can be some lingering summery weather in late September, we are definitely into autumn in October. Even so, you may still see the odd butterfly on warmer days; these are likely to be species such as Peacock that over-winter as adults and will be the first to appear in spring. Unfortunately, this is 5-6 months away, so enjoy them while you can.  There are also still some late dragonflies around, in fact i saw a few darters there on Sunday.

Most of the summer migrant birds have now left and we can look forward to the arrival of the winter visitor birds. Usually, the first are flocks of Redwing, which often arrive during the night but can be detected by their thin, high whistle. Often they can arrive in large numbers that are very hungry and can strip berry bearing trees such as hawthorn in a few hours.


The Redwing is slightly smaller and darker than the Song Thrush and easily identified by the red mark under its wing. If you see a flock of thrushes feeding in bushes or on fields, they are almost certain to be Redwings.

As the leaves start to fall, you can see fungi around the site, especially after damp weather. Some of the fungi such as the Birch Bracket fungus can be seen all through the year but is far more obvious in winter. You can see them on the branches and trunks of many dead birch trees around the site. If you are lucky, you may also see the classically coloured Fly Agaric on the woodland floor. This species is poisonous, as are several others so if in doubt, don’t pick them!

Basket of fungi collected on foray Sunday 9th October 2016
Basket of fungi collected on foray Sunday 9th October 2016


Phil Rees

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What to See at Risley Moss in September

September News

The larger Hawker dragonfly species become more noticeable as we go into September although there are still many smaller Darter dragonflies around.

Migrant Hawker
Migrant Hawker

One of the rarer species on the site, the Migrant Hawker, starts to appear in September. This species is unusual in that the adults are comparatively tolerant of each other whereas the other species are constantly tussling. So if you see several large dragonflies that are flying together, they could be Migrant Hawkers like this one.

There are still some large butterflies about in September, particularly those that will eventually over-winter as adults or those that are migratory and only arrive in late summer here. One fairly common migratory species to look out for is the Red Admiral and, if you are very lucky, you may see a Painted Lady.

Red Admiral
Red Admiral
painted lady 2
painted lady

Many of the summer birds are now leaving for warmer over-wintering locations. Although their songs make them very obvious when they arrive, they mostly slip away quietly and un-noticed. The main exception to this is the Swallow. On occasions it will be possible to see hundreds passing through. Risley Moss can also be a ‘drop-in’ for birds on passage from more northerly breeding areas so there is always the chance of unexpectedly seeing rare species.

September is also when fungi start to appear. The large white cone-shaped ones you can see along the paths are likely to be Shaggy Ink-caps. This species is edible but, unless you are an expert, do not take them as some species are very poisonous.  Also if you want to learn more about Fungi come to an event in October :

Sunday 9th October  10.00am to 12 noon


Bring all the family along and join our local enthusiast on this introduction to mushrooms and toadstools and learn some funky fungus facts and some foraging skills in the woodland.

Places are limited so please book in advance on 01925 824339

Phil Rees

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What to See at Risley Moss in July

This month is when the main Dragonfly emergence takes place. By far the most common small dragonfly you will see will be the Black Darter, which is a species associated primarily with peaty areas such as Risley Moss. The other species comparatively frequently seen is the Common Darter. One of the best places to see both species is the ‘Wild Flower Patch’ where they regularly perch on the seat and the “Do not pick the Wild Flowers” sign.

Male Black Darter
Male Black Darter
Female Black Darter
Female Black Darter






Male Common Darter
Male Common Darter
Female Common Darter
Female Common Darter






The dragonflies are so numerous that they become the main food source for that most elegant small falcon, the Hobby. On a sunny day you can see from the Tower up to 3 or 4 of them flying over the mossland, catching Dragonflies in mid air, in fact last year there were uo to 7 on some occasions.  If you are lucky they may fly really close to the observation tower from where you will get a fantastic view.

hobby in flight
hobby in flight
hobby in tree
hobby perched in a tree

There are also some small butterflies (less than 3cm wing span) around. One regularly seen is the moth-like Large Skipper which is found around blackberry flowers. There are two small blue butterfly species on the site, but if you see one, it will probably be a Holly Blue. However, the most common butterfly is the medium sized Gatekeeper, which can be seen all around the site.


Large Skipper
Large Skipper
holly blue
holly blue


Phil Rees


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Bird Shout Bingo Winner

The winner of the Bird Shout Bingo at this years’ Risley Moss Summer Open Day (26th June) was Roman Smajkiewicz.

The winner of the Bird Shout Bingo was Roman.

Here he is with his Gran enjoying the Tin Can Ally run by the 12th Warrrington East Scout Group.  He is said to have really enjoyed the day and is now the proud owner of A Nature Explorer Bug House.  Congratulations from all of us at RIMAG and the Warrington Ranger Service.

ranger servicelogo 2015warrington-borough-council

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Wildlife Gardening by George Pilkington

Tuesday 14th June

Risley Moss Local Nature Reserve

7.00pm – 8.30pm

This is the third in a series of talks by naturalist George Pilkington.

Find out how you can attract wildlife to your garden

Cost – £2 per person – Includes light refreshments

George is kindly donating any money generated

to the Risley Moss Green Safari Fund

Places limited – please book in advance on 01925 824339

or email the rangers at

Click on the link below for more details

 Wildlife Gardening poster 14th June

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