Gowy Meadows Nature Reserve, which is managed by Cheshire Wildlife Trust, covers 166 hectare on the eastern bank of the Gowy floodplain, close to the river’s confluence with the River Mersey at Stanlow.

Two-thirds of the site comprises rushy pasture on the floodplain itself, with the remaining third, along the eastern side, being on drier mineral ground.  A network of straight open ditches drain the peaty soils of the former tidal marshes. Many small ponds are also scatted across the reserve.

Gowy Meadows has been identified as a Flagship Pond site by the Freshwater Habitats Trust due to presence of several aquatic species classed as rare or uncommon in Cheshire, including the Lesser Silver Water Beetle Hydrochara caraboides and Pond Mud Snail Omphiscola glabra. It is also home to more than half of the dragonfly and butterfly species recorded across Cheshire and the network of ditches that intersect the meadows host a superb assemblage of aquatic plant species. Otter Lutra lutra have been recorded along the River Gowy and Water Voles Arvicola amphibius are known to use the extensive ditch system on the reserve.

Location: Cheshire

Accessibility: Some Flagship Pond sites are accessible to the public, and some are not. If in doubt, consult maps for rights of way, look online for site information, or contact the site manager, and follow any instructions on site. It is up to you to check whether you require permission to visit and access the ponds on a site.

Site owners/managers: Cheshire Wildlife Trust