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What to See

There is so much of interest in the linked areas of Fletcher Moss Park, the Alpine Gardens, Parsonage Gardens, and the Nature Reserve of Stenner Woods, Millgate Fields and the River Mersey. Whether it be trees and shrubs, flowers or birds and small mammals that you are interested in, the area will give you so many opportunities to enjoy your visits, to develop our knowledge, and to share your knowledge with others. The “Friends” welcome feedback on your visits and observations which can be added to this website to better inform all who use the areas.

We encourage visitors to contact us, either with information they have of what they have seen and enjoyed, or with queries – we are very good at answering them, as we have a lot of friends and supporters who know a lot about the area! Please see FAQs or email us.


As well as our resident species, we also have the usual summer migrants, mostly from Africa.

A large pink blossom tree standing on a patch of grass, hanging a bench-lined path


There are a number of interesting (and some rare) trees to see both in the Park and in Parsonage Gardens.


You can find an abundance of beautiful butterflies across Fletcher Moss Park and Parsonage Gardens.


The wildlife group aims to conserve habitats in Fletcher Moss, Stenner Woods & Millgate Fields.

The Woods and the Meadows

Spring and Summer in the Nature Reserve (Stenner Woods and Millgate Fields)

As well as our common resident species of birds (blue and great tits, flocks of long-tailed tits, wrens, nuthatch, tree-creeper, robins, blackbirds, thrushes, dunnocks, etc) we also have the usual summer migrants, mostly from Africa. These include chiff-chaffs, willow warblers, sand martins, swallows, house martins and blackcaps, and occasionally a whitethroat can be heard singing in various areas. There is the common and unmistakeable presence of swifts, a wonderful sight along the river when they are active. For many years swallows have nested under the arch in the sluice gate beyond Millgate Lane, amazing to think they can return to the very same nests after a winter round trip to South Africa and back of some fifteen thousand miles.

Ring-necked parakeets are a recent arrival all around the park and surrounding areas, particularly in Stenner Woods. These birds have established themselves very rapidly and are to be found in most south Manchester parks. They are very loud and noticeable. Some people love them; for others they are a nuisance to be ranked with Magpies in the dislikability stakes. Whichever way you feel it is confidently predicted that in a few years’ time they will be the most numerous of all species in our parks.

Along the river banks Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)  is  growing prolifically; as its name suggests its old-time use was to wrap and store butter. On ‘our’ bank of the river, near ‘the beach’, is a lovely display of Stitchwort, not the more usual Greater Stitchwort but the broader-leaved Wood Stitchwort with white star-shaped flowers. All along the river, and in other places, (eg Stenner Lane) there is an abundance of Ramsons (wild garlic); if you use the leaves, raw or cooked, beware – it can be surprisingly strong! The (yellow) Lesser Celandines are also very evident. This cheerful little plant is often seen as a pest by gardeners and a pleasure to nature lovers. Wordsworth wrote two poems in praise of Celandine. You will find yellow Kingcups (Marsh Marigolds) around the edges of the ponds along the east side of Stenner Woods (the ‘Willow Carr’ area). However, the challenge, particularly in areas where water lies or where it is boggy, is Himalayan Balsam, an invasive plant which if left to propagate, will kill off all indigenous and existing plants. During Summer 2022, there has been a concerted effort to reduce this menace. “Balsam Bashing” will need to be an annual feature of summer activity over several years if the natural look of the area is to be retained. Do please get in touch if you have any sightings of the wildlife or flora in the area which can be added to these pages.