Back to reserve map

Hill Court Farm & The Blacklands

Primarily a wetland site, this is the biggest single conservation project the Trust has attempted.

Longdon and Eldersfield Marshes were once Worcestershire’s largest and most important wetland; haunt of otter, bittern, swallowtail butterflies and rich flora.

In late Victorian times the marshes were drained for agriculture.  Although remnants exist, much of their former glory has been lost.

In 1867 the naturalist Edwin Lee wrote:

“Longdon Marsh is covered with water in a wet autumnal season and at that time assumes the appearance of an extensive lake.  Even in summer a few days of continued rain inundates these flat meadows... In autumn the marsh is covered with geese, and the ground, white with feathers, presents a strangely barren aspect amidst the cultivated country that slowly advances on its lessening borders.”

The restoration of the marshes is being taken forward by acquiring land to establish core nature reserves.  Other landowners on the marsh are being encouraged to adopt more wildlife-friendly management of their land.

In 2001 the Trust purchased the 120 hectares of Hill Court Farm and the Blacklands.  At the time it was being managed as an intensive dairy and arable farm.  We’ve undertaken initial restoration works to recreate grasslands and to raise spring water levels but the habitats will take many years to develop and mature.

We aim to recreate the grazing marshes, wetlands and wildlife-friendly farmland to provide suitable breeding habitats and wintering grounds for birds such as lapwing, redshank, wildfowl and farmland birds like skylark and yellowhammer.

The reserve was named in honour of Andrew Fraser, the Trust’s Conservation Manager for almost 30 years, who sadly died in 2003.

The purchase and establishment of this reserve was made possible with funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund, English Nature, Worcestershire County Council, Severn Waste Services, the Environment Agency, DEFRA and Aquila Networks.

There is a screened viewing area reached via a hedged pathway.

 

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 Hill Court Farm a Flagship Reserve?

This site will be used to show best practice for reversion of a site from intensive agriculture to grassland and wetland habitats. This is an adventurous project with on site development of water management systems with no adverse impact on neighbouring sites.

The Trust has identified the Severn & Avon Vales area as one 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). Longdon & Eldersfield Marshes form the largest priority zone within the Severn & Avon Vales Living landscape area.

Nearby nature reserves

Duke of York & Ryefield Meadows
3 miles - Worcestershire Wildlife Trust
Poolhay Meadows
3 miles - Worcestershire Wildlife Trust
Hollybed Farm Meadows
3 miles - Worcestershire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Location
Near Upton
Upton upon Severn
Worcestershire
GL20 6BD
Map reference
SO 825 356
Great for...
birdwatching
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Permissive path open dawn to dusk
Size
120.00 hectares
Living Landscape schemes
Severn & Avon Vales
Access
No

No wheelchair access.
Walking information
Access to the reserve is restricted to a permissive path from Marsh Road to a viewing screen overlooking a scrape. As this site is managed for wetland birds, which are easily disturbed, we do not allow dogs on this permissive path or other parts of the reserve. There is also a public bridleway between Robertsend and Marsh Road, which runs along a high ridge, giving excellent views of the reserve and also run occasional special events allowing wider access. Muddy and slippery underfoot when wet, fields liable to flooding in winter and early spring.
Parking
2 or 3 spaces on Marsh Road by Longdon Brook.
Dogs
No dogs allowed
Grazing animals
Cattle and sheep
Reserve manager
Rob Allen
Tel: 01905 754919
enquiries@worcestershirewildlifetrust.org

Downloads

Factsheets and guides for your visit