Maghull – That pond/grotto on the former Ashworth South Site

Not so long ago I had a good look around the Poppy Fields new housing site adjacent Maghull North Station.

I was particularly looking to see what had happened to the pond/grotto that had long been within the grounds of the former Moss Side Hospital/Ashworth South Hospital. I found it and took this shot through a building contractor’s fencing:-

I recall my old former Maghull Town Councillor colleagues John Sharman and Bill Chambers talking about it, as at the time they both worked at Ashworth Hospital. I refer of course to before the Ashworth South Site closed.

I then went searching for some background information about it and came across this in a Ecological Impact Assessment of the Ashworth South Site conducted by Atkins in May 2014 as part of the planning application process for the house building*.

‘Pond 3.4.5 A large pond is located within the woodland and is approximately 400 m2 in size and considered to have poor suitability to support great crested newts (HSI score 0.47, rated poor). At the time of the survey mallards were present in the pond as well as wrapped straw bales located within the pond which are understood to be a method of controlling pond algae. A stone built grotto approximately 10 metres long is connected to the pond (TN 29). The grotto has high bat roost potential and is a known bat roost (see 3.5.2 for more details). Peacock butterfly and moth species were recorded in the grotto at the time of the survey. No evidence of bats was recorded.’

* There had been a previous planning application process as the original intended use for the site was to have been for a new prison. Indeed, the access road into the site and the traffic island on School Lane were both constructed for the new prison. However, government changed its mind and decided to stop the prison construction with the site being sold off for the housing, which is presently being built.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

11 thoughts on “Maghull – That pond/grotto on the former Ashworth South Site

  1. Frank says:

    The grotto, in my opinion, is probably one of the most beautiful parts of Maghull that very few people have ever seen due to the situation within the old secure Moss hospital. Consequently, it will be brilliant when it is restored and opened up to the general public within the next 18 months.

    The grotto was created by the Harrison family in the 1800’s and there is a picture of the ladies of the house strolling near the mansion and the grotto. I think we chose this picture to be situated on the history board at the Maghull North train station platform, but if my memory is wrong, I can send you a copy if you are interested.

    • Thanks Frank, I would love to see the photo.

      • Anne Sinnott says:

        Dear Mr. Robertson,
        I had been searching for information about the pond near Ashworth Hospital which I remembered from an open day there some years ago. I deplore the lack of facilities in Maghull for spending peaceful afternoons near water and have been travelling to Kirkby to Mill Farm Park which has a pretty lake with fishing facilities and an adventure park for children. It is better cared for than the lake in Ormskirk Park which is covered in duck droppings. Why can’t we have something like that in Maghull? Could you take it up with the council and see if
        we are likely to get access to the Ashworth pond. What it particularly nice about the lake in Kirkby is that there is a car park which overlooks the lake. People who are disabled can sit and enjoy the water whilst the more able bodied can walk around the lake and enjoy the rest of the area. Why is Maghull the poor relation in Sefton? Can you help. I’m very hearing impaired and cannot make phone calls myself.
        Anne Sinnott.

  2. Graham says:

    I have been looking forward to pond area opening developers have put new fencing around and are landscaping with meadow turf – however is already being blighted by youths fishing (which may or may not be illegal and leaving in a terrible mess with beer bottles and take away food cartons everywhere
    What can be done about this ?

    • It may come down to what the developers have agreed to via their planning application process. I suggest you take up with Sefton Council’s Planning Dept. to try to get to the bottom of how the long term management of this pond area is supposed to work and who enforces the management. You could also contcat Frank Sharp a local independent councillor who knows a huge amount about Ashworth and it’s former land holdings.

  3. I’m not taking any further comments on this posting as I seem to find myself in the middle of a dispute I know nothing about and have no ability resolve.

  4. Kerry says:

    I must say I’ve been reading old documents inli e about whinney Brook and Councillor sharman who you mentioned Tony was also leader of a “whinney Brook volunteer” group and won a kingfisher mersey basin award at the time over the work this little group of volunteers did, what happened to “whinney Brook volunteers????? Anybody know?

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