Carr Mill Dam, St Helens

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Carr Mill Dam is the largest body of inland water in Merseyside and attracts large numbers of breeding great crested grebe in addition to many other species, including grey heron, common tern, little grebe and kingfisher. Several exciting 'accidental' visitors have been recorded in the area (for more information I understand that interesting species of wildflowers and insects are also to be found around the dam.

Although the occasional venue for powerboat racing or water-skiing competitions, the dam is generally tranquil, the loudest noise often being a soft 'plop' as a nearby angler makes a new cast. Even during racing, the top end of the dam is still reasonably secluded, when many of the birds congregate behind the viaduct for shelter.
Especially in sunny weather, the walk gives fine views of the lake and surrounding farmland and it is usually possible to find a reasonably secluded spot for a picnic or a gentle doze, away from the pressures of 'real' life.

The main path round the lake is in good condition, compacted surface between wooden retaining strips. This path can probably be walked in training-shoes without much problem, unless the recent weather has been particularly awful. 'Alternative' paths exist in many places and while these are generally in pretty good condition, they tend to be less even and are inevitably muddier, especially in the wrong sort of weather.

There are a few stretches of fairly steep climb, but only for short distances. The entrance / exit to the viaduct (Waymarks 04 and 05) is a little uneven, but should not cause serious difficulties. There is a shallow set of steps about halfway round (Waymark 07), which should be navigable by most, except possibly by unattended wheelchair users. There is also a fairly narrow footbridge a little further on (Waymark 08) which is just wide enough for one person to walk across easily, but might cause difficulty for some pushchairs or wheelchairs (sorry, I didn’t think to measure it!)

(Note that if you carry straight on instead of turning right across the viaduct at Waymark 04, a short, slightly muddy stretch of track (about fifty yards?) brings you to a rough unsurfaced lane at SJ 524986 with motor car access from the A571, though parking is technically not allowed).

England - North England - Merseyside - Countryside


Birds, Good for Kids, Great Views, Industrial Archaeology, Lake/Loch, Mostly Flat, Pub, Public Transport, Wildlife, Woodland
17/12/2022 - Ken McCabe

The car park at the Waterside is now private and has a charge (£3 I think) unless you use the restaurant or pub. If you drive past the pub around the bend you can usually find places to park at the side of the lake. The Lancashire Powerboat club is now open to the public too and provides bar food and refreshments.

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