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The Gwen Finch Wetland Reserve

A mosaic of scrapes, wet grassland and wet woodland on the River Avon important for wetland birds and otters

This 20 hectare wetland was created by the Trust in 2001 adjacent to the River Avon.  It was a legacy left by Gwen Finch to create a true haven for otters that initiated the acquisition and restoration of the site.

Prior to restoration the area was semi-improved rye grassland with little or no wildlife value.  Four large scrapes created the wetland area, three of which were planted with 100,000 reeds.  A former drainage ditch and sections of the river were re-profiled to create shallow areas.  Water from the Berwick Brook is pumped onto the site via 2 wind pumps with any excess returning to the river.

Within two years of the work, otters were already using the reserve.  It remains a regular haunt for them.

The pools and marshes also attract birds; redshank, water rail and reed warbler breed here while green sandpiper and other waders are regular passage visitors.  Hundreds of house martins and swallows are attracted by the insects over the reeds and pools.

Dragonflies and damselflies are abundant along the river and pools.  The margins of the pools have developed a rich and varied flora with purple loosestrife, marsh speedwell, soft rush, water plantain and brooklime.

Work in 2010 created a neighbouring reserve, the John Bennett Wetland.  Thanks to landowner Wimpy Bennett who wanted a nature reserve created on her land in memory of her husband, this is helping to expand the habitat created at Gwen Finch Wetland.

Purchase and establishment of the Gwen Finch Wetland reserve was made possible with funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund, Severn Waste Services, Severn Trent Water, Wychavon District Council, the Environment Agency and a legacy from Miss Gwen Finch.

Please note that because of the sensitivity of the reserve there is no access to Gwen Finch Wetland.  There is, however, a hide for visitors at John Bennett Wetland.  WWT do not manage the John Bennett Wetland  and visitors are advised to get the access code for the hide from our FAQ page before visiting. Visitors should park in the village of Birlingham and walk down to the reserve.


Flagship Nature Reserves

This is one of 13 flagship reserves.We believe that a landscape-scale approach to wildlife conservation is essential. Wildlife needs space to adapt and move to cope with the consequences of climate change. Practically, this means that to deliver our biodiversity vision, we need to develop a coherent network of large areas linked by corridors that can provide benefits for people as well as for biodiversity.


Why is Gwen Finch Wetland a Flagship Reserve?

This site is being used to demonstrate good wetland creation and management and will be used as a demonstration site to promote wetland creation along Severn and Avon vales, showing opportunities to expand through influencing neighbouring landowners and developing a wetland management system to ensure long term sustainability.

The reserve falls within, and is an important component of, the Severn and Avon Vales Living Landscape Area; one of seven priorities in Worcestershire for its Living Landscapes approach. Here, the Trust has been working as part of a broader partnership focused on the Severn and Avon Vales – the Severn and Avon Vales Wetlands Partnership, now called Wetlands West (WW).

Nearby nature reserves

Avon Valley
1 miles - Worcestershire Wildlife Trust
Tiddesley Wood - the Harry Green Reserve
3 miles - Worcestershire Wildlife Trust
Mill Meadow
4 miles - Worcestershire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Between Nafford and Eckington
WR10 3DJ
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Opening Times
The Gwen Finch Wetland is closed to the public.
20.00 hectares
Living Landscape schemes
Severn & Avon Vales

Access restricted to special open days or guided walks - can be viewed from the minor road between Nafford & Eckington.
No dogs allowed
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
David Molloy
Tel: 01905 754919


Factsheets and guides for your visit