This page provides brief information on the following sites -
|Venus Pool||Haughmond Hill||Whitcliffe Common||Wood Lane Nature Res.|
|Wall Farm||Chelmarsh Reservoir||The Long Mynd||Monkmoor Pool|
|Priorslee Flash||Priorslee Balancing Lake||Severn Valley Country Park||Chetwynd Pool|
|Howle Pool||Polmere Reserve|
Venus Pool (NGR SJ549061)
A large, shallow pool, managed as a wetland site for waterfowl and waders is owned by the Shropshire Ornithological Society. 5 miles to the south east of Shrewsbury with access off the A458 Shrewsbury to Much Wenlock road. Two public hides giving excellent views over the main pool, also two small members hides. Car park and access for disabled with wheelchair ramp into the main hide. Gate to car park may be locked if no members are present. Non-members, especially disabled visitors, who wish to use the car park should contact Geoff Holmes in advance if making a special visit.
For more detailed information about this site click here
Haughmond Hill (NGR SJ545148 - car park)
This site is owned by the Forestry Commission who manage the land as coniferous woodland. However, the steep slopes overlooking Shrewsbury with distant views of the south Shropshire hill country are more open grassland with some deciduous woodland. The FC maintain a series of marked trails including an "all ability" trail suitable for wheelchair users although this trail does not go as far as the escarpment. Much of the woodland is coniferous with Goldcrest, Coal Tit and occasional Crossbill. There are some areas of deciduous woodland with Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Kestrel, Raven and Peregrine are occasionally seen. Woodcock display over the woodland on a summer evening.
Whitcliffe Common (NGR SO506743)
Close to the town of Ludlow it is a popular dog walking area for the locals but is worth a visit for both birding and the view from the common looking over the Teme valley to Ludlow Castle. The main habitat is woodland with the River Teme flowing below in a steep sided valley. There are several paths around the common and in the woodland which will produce most of the common woodland birds appropriate to the time of year and the walk along the river is the the most productive. This site is well known among birders for its wintering flock of Hawfinches. This elusive finch can be found feeding in or under the hornbeams that grace this site and you stand a good chance of seeing them if you stand by Dinham Bridge and look back towards the common. While you watch, check out the riverside alders for Siskin and Redpoll. The river may hold interesting birds such as Dipper and Kingfisher, check the areas near to the weirs - Mandarin Duck have been noted here in recent years. If you visit in spring you may locate Wood Warbler among the beeches on the Common. In summer the area can be very busy with visitors taking the air and this is the least interesting time for birders but still worth a visit if you are in the area. By autumn the tit and finch flocks will have built up and the winter thrushes will be starting to arrive. To get to the area leave Ludlow going south on the B4361 and after crossing the Teme at Ludford Bridge turn right into Wigmore Road. Park in the designated car park on the left or on the road adjacent to the Common. Note that the paths down to the riverside are steep in places and can be slippery in wet weather. (based on notes by Andy Latham)
Wood Lane Nature Reserve (NGR SJ421331)
This wetland site has been created from part of a large sand and gravel quarry complex and contains a series of pools, some shallow and some deep, which attract a range of wildfowl, waders and many passerines. It is one of the best places to see Shelduck which now breed in the area.
There is a small car park and two hides overlooking the best pools (the picture to the left is the view from the small hide).
A grass meadow has been created which attracts butterflies in the summer.
Access is by permit which can be obtained from the Shropshire Wildlife Trust. Wood Lane has an excellent website with much information (see our links page)
Wall Farm on the Weald Moors - north of Telford (NGR SJ681178).
is situated on the Wealdmoors near Kynnersley Telford at Grid reference
It is a
working farm and is farmed under the Countryside Stewardship to a plan set out
by the RSPB. Its aims are to encourage wetland breeding birds such as Lapwing,
Redshank, Curlew and Snipe. A hide has been built, at Grid reference SJ677181,
overlooking a marsh and pools created by reversing the pumps, previously used to
dry the land, to pump water from the Strine brook onto the
marsh. The surrounding farmland is mostly pasture and hay meadow for beef cattle
birds on the marsh, as well as Lapwing and Snipe, include Little Grebe, Tufted
Duck, Water Rail and Black-headed Gull. The surrounding fields and hedgerows
hold breeding Grey Partridge, Tree Sparrow and Little Owl. Barn Owl are also
present being actively encouraged to breed by the provision of nest boxes by the
Shropshire Barn Owl Group. Buzzard, Raven and Corn Bunting also breed in the
surrounding area and are regularly recorded.
visitors include Hobby, Quail, Yellow Wagtail, Redstart,
Sedge & Reed Warbler, Common & Lesser Whitethroat as well as the
birds include Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Ruff, Green Sandpiper and Common
the arrival of wild fowl to the marsh, including large numbers of Teal, also
Wigeon, Shoveler and Pintail. Stonechat are also regular Winter visitors . A
Bittern gave good views from the hide when it visited the marsh in November
2002. A female Hen Harrier was recorded in January and November 2001 also
regularly recorded from October 2002
through to January 2003 with a male recorded
occasionally. While the
surrounding fields and hedges attract large flocks of Fieldfare, Starling and
Woodpigeon that attract the attention of Peregrine and Sparrow Hawk. While
flocks of Linnet and Skylark are pursued by wintering Merlin.
list for Wall farm since the hide was opened in November 1998 numbers 135
species. Rarities include Little Egret with 1 on 27th August,
3 on 25th/27th July 2001 and 2 on 19th
May 2002 also Spoonbill 18th to 23rd June 2001 and a year
later on 24th/ 25th June 2002. Whooper Swans
maximum of 5 were recorded
in November 2000 and 2 at the end of December 2001. The only record of
Bewick Swan was 2 on 26th December 2001.
Access to the site is permitted to SOS members by kind permission of the owners Neil and Stephanie Dobson. Wall Farm can be found by taking the road to Preston upon the Weald Moors off the Leegomery island on the A442 in Telford. Just after the Queens Head pub turn left into the village of Preston upon the Weald Moors then on to Kynnersley. On entering Kynnersley village turn right by the telephone box and proceed with care as there are a few sharp bends and the road is very muddy in the winter. After about a mile you will pass the Wall Farm cottages the farm is the next on the right. Park in the farm drive, not on the road side verges, close to the wall to allow access to tractors. To get to the hide walk back towards Wall Farm cottages until you come to a wicket gate on your right, the hide is through the gate down the field and along the footpath running alongside the hedgerow. The hide can be rather busy at weekends but you will probably have the hide to yourself in the week so please record your sightings in the log book provided.
Chelmarsh Reservoir (NGR SO726881)
This reservoir, operated by South Staffordshire Water Authority, draws water from the nearby Severn which keeps much of the water surface open in severe weather when most other pools are frozen. One of the best places for wildfowl in the county and the marsh at the north end has an impressive species list - an excellent place to see Water Rail and a colony of Reed Warblers. Chelmarsh is a good place to see Osprey passing through on passage especially in the autumn. The gull roost is also worth a visit during the winter months with over 10,000 birds regularly recorded including a selection of the rarer gulls. Access is currently restricted to the public rights of way pending a future agreement between the SOS and the Water Authority
Long Mynd Hills (NGR SO 415944)
The grid reference is for Pole Bank on the top of the Long Mynd, a large area of upland 6km wide in the north and extending 10km southwards gradually narrowing down to the tip at Plowden. Much of the area is managed by the National Trust who have a visitor centre in Carding Mill Valley (SO443946) close to Church Stretton. A few roads give access to the upper land where there is limited parking but the country is best seen by walking up one of the many valleys which intersect the hillsides. Carding Mill Valley can be busy with visitors but most visitors stay in the lower parts of the valley. Together with the Stiperstones to the west these hills are a good place for upland species like Meadow Pipit, which are common, and Merlin which is rarer. Ravens are increasing in number, Buzzard and Kestrel are regularly seen whilst Hobby is often noted in summer. The upper slopes of the Long Mynd are the home of the Ring Ouzel but this outpost population has decreased in numbers in recent years and they are the subject of a special study. Hen Harrier occasionally turn up, especially on passage, as do the Dotterel, mainly on spring passage but numbers vary from year to year.
Monkmoor Pool (NGR SJ524134)
This small pool is part of the Shrewsbury Sewage Works complex but, as the final pool in the sequence before returning the treated water to the river, it appear like any other small pool in the area. The site is secured behind locked gates and access can be difficult as a limited number of keys are available. Initial enquiries should be made to the Shropshire Wildlife Trust in Shrewsbury (01743 284280) who can advise if any keys are available. Good for waders and wildfowl but the numbers of hirundines have dropped off since the sewage beds were netted to control the flies that were a good food source for the birds but were annoying the residents of the new estate built on the south west of the site. If you can get a key the site is worth a visit but access is restricted to a short path leading to a comfortable hide, maintained by the SWT's voluntary warden. The hide gives good views over the pool.
For more information on this site click here
The Priorslee Flash (NGR SJ711102)
This urban lake has been in existence for about 20 years and is man made from three natural ponds. Access can be gained from Priorslee Avenue onto Derwent Drive by car and / or via underpass on foot from the A5 side which splits Priorslee and St Georges. The best viewing areas are from the south and north shores (away from the picnic area on the west shore). The island is the main breeding site for waterfowl. Birds seen include Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Mandarin, Ruddy Duck, Pochard, Goldfinch, Jay ,Sparrowhawk, Blackcap, Wood Warbler and Chiffchaff. Gulls are occasional. The woods on the south west and north east have many small birds. A good site for birding all year round.
Contributed by Swaran Jagdev.
Priorslee Balancing Lake (NGR SJ726093)
This lake is used mainly by the Yachting Club so gets very busy in the summer but good for birding, mainly in the winter, for both water and shrubland species. Birds seen include Cormorant, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goosander, Ruddy Duck, Jay, Sparrowhawk and Chiffchaff. This lake is an exceptional roost for Gulls including Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed, Great Black-backed, Herring, and Common Gulls, also Terns occasionally. Can be viewed from the Dam on the East shore from J4 M54 onto Castle Farm Way and the lay by on the left or the south shore (SJ722094) entranced by walking the south shore or from Priorslee Avenue onto Teece Drive. Good all year but especially for gulls in the winter.
Contributed by Swaran Jagdev.
Priorslee Lake has it's own website
Severn Valley Country Park - Visitor Centre
at NGR SO753839.
site largely results from a massive reclamation project following the closure of
Alveley colliery in 1969; and is a short car or bus journey from Dudmaston
(SO745888) and Chelmarsh Reservoir (SO726881). The colliery bridge (SO748839)
does provides pedestrian access to both banks of the
extensive colliery spoil heaps have been landscaped with native deciduous
saplings and contain an unusual mixture of rural and wasteland flowers together
with terrestrial lichens more often found on heathland. Other habitats include
the river itself, birch woods, open scrub, meadows, formal grassland and a
private golf course.
common woodland species breed here; as do Willow Tit and occasional Lesser
Spotted Woodpecker. Raven breeds increasingly and Sedge Warbler is attempting to
colonise the riverside. Barn Owl nests nearby and Quail are occasionally heard
in the surrounding fields. Turtle Dove ceased to breed annually in 2004 but may
winter, the spoil heaps attract Meadow Pipit and sizeable Goldfinch flocks, the
riverside trees often contain good numbers of Siskin and Redpoll, and the river
often holds Goosander with occasional Mandarin and Dipper. Peregrine visits
increasingly - as does Hobby during the summer. Choice migrants are unusual but
Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail and Common Sandpiper appear to be annual.
recent years, the hide and small pools near the visitor centre (SO754839) and
Little London Farm (SO756836) have hosted Bittern, Stonechat, Woodcock,
Greenshank, Water Rail, Jack Snipe, Snipe, Wigeon, Shoveler, Redstart, Reed
Warbler and Little Grebe; but they are rarely productive unless visited
regularly. Kingfisher sometimes visits from the river; and a pair of Reed
Bunting usually breeds nearby.
include Club-Tailed and occasional Hairy Hawker. Wild Parsnip and Greater
Spearwort are rarely found elsewhere in the county whereas Common Spotted Orchid
is a more expected attraction. Toadstools include the bizarre Collared
Earthstar. Otter, Mink and Muntjac Deer are very occasionally reported.
park can be very busy in summer and at weekends. Wheelchair access is
theoretically good but ascents from the river would be very strenuous. There is
free parking near the Alveley visitor centre (SO753839) or, from Highley,
consider taking Barke Street (SO741834) and parking near the railway line.
Contributed by Keith Bates (revised July 2004).
Chetwynd Pool (NGR SJ742205)
Chetwynd Pool can be found to the North of Newport by taking the old main road out of Newport town centre towards Chetwynd church. As you are leaving Newport the pool is behind the wall on your left, at the end of the straight park on the right, just before a small wood. The car park is a favourite spot for dog walkers and there are footpaths along the field side of the wood and up the hill, to the east, by the side of another wood. To view the pool cross over the road and walk back towards Newport, the pool can be seen over the park wall for around a 100 meters. This can give very good views in winter, when there are no leaves on the trees, of Shoveler, Wigeon and occasionally Goosander. As well as the wildfowl on the pool other birds of interest include all three species of woodpecker, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Raven and Buzzard.
The park is owned by the Newport Agricultural Show Committee and is only open to the public, on Show days, for two days in July and at Whitsun for the Game fair. There is a public footpath along the southern edge of the park over a style on the right just after the park wardenís cottage. This footpath takes you to the B5062, which you can follow up the hill towards Edgmond. When you come to the park entrance gate turn right along a lane that will take you to Chetwynd church. Turn right and follow the footpath along side the park wall until you get back to the car park. This walk is about 3 miles long, so if you donít want to walk this far turn back when you reach the park wardens cottage and retrace your steps back to the car park.
Contributed by Martin Grant
Howle Pool (NGR SJ693236)
Howle Pool can be found by taking the A41 from Newport towards Hinstock. Turn left at the cross roads, just after the filling station at Standford Bridge. Follow the road for a mile until you see the pool on your right. Pull in on the left and view the pool from the roadside. Little Grebe and Ruddy Duck are regular breeders here.
Contributed by Martin Grant
Polmere Nature Reserve (NGR SJ41310939)
Polemere is about 6 miles south-west of Shrewsbury. This small pool in farmland is a private reserve but open to the public - for more information click here
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