THE 'HORWICH' MOORS
Part 3: Burnt Edge Moor and Holdens Farm
by Ian McKerchar
CLICK ON THE ABOVE THUMBNAIL FOR THE SITE MAP
Perhaps the most productive and varied habitat in the site, Burnt Edge has moorland, a fairly extensive conifer wood, a small Beech wood and areas of Hawthorn hedge, rough grassland and young deciduous plantations. It can be accessed via footpaths from Mast Road to the north or by parking at two locations:
Above: At the junction of Matchmoor Lane, Edge Lane and Burnt Edge Lane there is parking for only a few cars along the latter lane (seen here). Parking is available further along Burnt Edge Lane but again, it is very restricted. Parking at the junction seen here is an excellent starting point for checking New Fields (see below) and then for exploring the entire Horwich Moors are beyond.
Above: The track to New Fields from the road junction in the image above. The track is a public footpath and leads to the left of the house.
Above: New Fields is a small, isolated copse of mature deciduous trees that has provided some quality county birding an is worth spending time viewing into. New Fields Plantation lies in a small valley running off to the left of picture and has also harboured interesting migrants.
Above: Looking south-east down Burnt Edge Valley towards Walker Fold Woods at the bottom. The moor here is has proved very productive for Ring Ouzel and does well for pipits including once an overflying Richard's.
Above: Looking down Burnt Edge Valley again. Standing on the rocky sided escarpment to the right (there is in fact a bench to sit on there!) affords an excellent view over the entire moor below and also across Smithills Moor to the north. From here is an excellent spot to scan for raptors, specifically Harriers quartering the moors but Red-footed Falcon has twice graced Burnt Edge so keep your options open.
Above: The southern end of Burnt Edge Moor with the beginning of Walker Fold Wood. The small area of deciduous trees and bushes in the centre of the picture on the valley floor can attract migrant passerines and has included both Spotted and Pied Flycatchers whilst the valley itself (often particularly the steep side) can hold Stonechat, good numbers of Meadow Pipits and often Tree Pipit during passage.
Above: Looking north-west over Walker Fold Woods. The woods have resident Coal Tits and have proven reasonably productive for Crossbills. Centre picture is Holdens Farm with the Beech prevalent Holdens Plantation to it's left running up to the horizon. The area of Holdens Farm is superb and has proved very fruitful with it's combination of bushes, fence lines, small plantations and sympathetically managed rough fields.
Above: Holdens Farm is on the right of the picture and the plantation of the same name on the left. The few sparse Hawthorns just to the right of centre in between the farm and plantation, mark the footpath and both they and the grassy fields directly to the north and south can be very attractive to birds. The area of planted rough grassland and saplings actually around the farm itself can also be particularly productive and has been provided for the benefit of wildlife. Immediately behind Holdens Farm is a another area of cover (along with a bee hive) which can harbour birds but is more difficult to view.
Above: At the very north of Holdens Plantation there is a small juncus reedbed. The path continuing north from here takes you back to Mast Road.
Ian McKerchar, December 2009 (revised October 2010)