Reed’s Moss is the triangle of farmland bordered by the Rainford bypass (A570),
East Lancs road (A580) and Blindfoot Lane (B5203).
Access is limited, but there are a few footpaths over the moss, notably at
Reed’s Lane, adjacent to the Bottle and Glass pub, just off the Rainford bypass, and also in
the southern section along Moss Lane, adjacent to Liverpool St. Helens Rugby
A number of farmland species that are nationally in serious decline still breed on the
moss in good numbers. The most obvious species are Skylark and Lapwing, and their song fills the
air on any spring morning. Corn Buntings, Yellowhammers, Little Owl and Tree Sparrows breed in
small numbers, and declining Grey Partridge can be seen with the released Red-legged Partridge.
The site holds locally important numbers of Yellow Wagtails, with at least four
pairs making it the best breeding site in St. Helens for the species. It is the only known
site for breeding Snipe in the borough, with around seven males drumming in spring. One to
three pairs of Oystercatchers breed, and a few Woodcock are seen roding in spring and early
summer. The latter species is best seen at Reed’s Lane, and on warm summer evenings it is
possible to sit outside the Bottle and Glass, and watch the birds roding over the
Common breeding species include Linnet and Whitethroat. In total 51 species are
thought to breed on the moss.
Up to 3000 Pink-footed Geese have used the moss in recent winters, and in
January 2001 they were accompanied by a single European White-fronted Goose. Raptors are at
their most numerous at this time of year, and this is one of the most important sites in St.
Helens for them (see below), especially Merlin and Hen Harrier. Flocks of finches, thrushes
and Lapwings use the moss, as do a pair of Ravens (which bred in St.Helens town centre for
the first time in 2001).
Regular migrants include White Wagtails, Wheatears, Yellow Wagtails,
Oystercatchers, Golden Plover and Curlew and rarer migrants have included Montagu’s Harrier
(see below) and Tree Pipit. Unconfirmed sightings have been of Red Kite and Red-legged
The area is particularly favoured by raptors and they deserve a special mention.
Up to five Buzzards can be seen regularly over the moss and they have been seen displaying
over woodland (only one or two pairs breed annually in St. Helens). Kestrels and Sparrowhawks
are a common sight and Hen Harriers, Merlin and Peregrine are annual winter visitors. In 2000
a Montagu’s Harrier was seen on the moss (Lancashire Bird Report 2000). This was only the
second record for St. Helens and the 21st for Lancashire / North
The moss is under recorded when it comes to wildlife other than birds, but a
moth survey was planned for 2002.
Butterflies tend to be of the migrant kind, with good numbers of Red Admirals, a few Painted
Ladies, and once a Clouded Yellow (less than 10 records ever in St. Helens).
Brown Hares are quite common on the moss.