Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

In order to take precautions to protect our staff, volunteers and supporters, we have implemented social distancing measures throughout our work. Please visit our contact us page to get in touch.

Update 14th October 2020

We are delighted to announce that, thanks the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Emergency Fund we are now in a position to re-open The Moors at Upton Warren on a restricted basis.  We are able to open for small numbers of people, based on our Covid-secure assessment, twice a week for members.  There will be two sessions a day and booking is now open on our events pages.  Visitors will be able to book two and a half hour sessions on Thursdays and Saturdays and will spend up to 40 minutes in each hide.  More information is available on our What’s On pages and, Government guidelines allowing, more dates will be released in due course.  The Flashes remains closed.  We know that more people will want to visit than are able to at the moment so we apologise to anyone who misses out and is disappointed.  We ask that everyone comply with our system to enable us to continue opening Upton Warren.

Update 16th September 2020

Thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund, we have funding to help support us and address some of the impact of Covid-19 on Worcestershire’s natural heritage.  As part of this fund, we are pleased to announce that we are recruiting short-term staff to help visitors to our nature reserves to fully appreciate and discover more about the wildlife that lives there. 

Upton Warren
Our intention is that our new temporary staff will help us to partially reopen Upton Warren, initially for two days a week under controlled conditions.  This will include a booking system to manage numbers.  We will provide further details on our website once our staff are in post. Upton Warren remains closed for now.

The Knapp and Papermill
We continue to ask visitors to this beautiful but delicate nature reserve to limit their visits as there is only limited parking and there has been a huge increase in visitors wishing to spend time in nature here.  The picnic area and toilet facilities remain closed.  Picnics are not allowed on the reserve and dogs should be on leads at all times.  Please keep out of the Leigh Brook.

Lower Smite Farm
The office, shop and nature trail remain closed.  We are hoping to re-launch visits to the farm for schools, to ensure that children still have access to green space and wildlife, so there is no plan to re-open the trail to visitors.  Please do not visit Lower Smite Farm.

Feckenham Wylde Moor & Broadway Gravel Pit
Birdwatching hides in these locations remain closed.

Update 23rd July 2020

We are aware that many people wish to visit Upton Warren, which currently remains closed along with Lower Smite Farm.  Whilst we recognise that people really want to get back to this wonderful nature reserve, we do not believe that it is currently safe to re-open it.  We need to consider the safety and protection of all our staff, volunteers, neighbours and visitors and our reasons for keeping Upton Warren closed, for now, include but are not limited to:

  • We lack the resources to regularly clean the hides to reduce the chances of Covid-19 transmission
  • We lack the resources to provide a booking system to ensure those who travel to Upton Warren will be able to spend time in the hides or will be able to socially distance in the limited viewing areas outside of the hides at both The Moors and The Flashes
  • We are unable to ensure that socially distancing and the wearing of face masks is taking place
  • We need to take into account the needs of Aztec Adventure, whose land has to be crossed in order to reach The Flashes

We understand that people may be comfortable with the personal risk they may encounter should we open the reserve.  However, as the legally responsible owner, we have to balance our ability to provide a safe place to visit based on our legal responsibilities and the capacity to meet those requirements.  At the moment, we don’t see an option to safely open Upton Warren.  As things change we will continue to review the situation and will advertise any changes here.

Hides at Feckenham Wylde Moor and Broadway Gravel Pit remain closed.

Thank you for your understanding.

Update 29th June 2020

Our Upton Warren Wetland Reserve is currently closed to the public and will remain so until we are confident it can be opened safely.  Government guidance is changing on 4th of July to allow some businesses to open with extra precautions, for the benefit of the economy. However, the Covid-19 epidemic remains a very real risk to life and the layout of paths and hides are such that until further restrictions are lifted, we do not believe it is safe to open the reserve.

We will continue to review our policy as official guidance changes and advise any change on opening on the Upton Warren reserve page. 

Lower Smite Farm is also closed. Can we please remind all visitors to our other nature reserves that these are very special places for wildlife. Please follow these simple steps to help the wildlife that our nature reserves are so vital for:

  • Keep dogs on leads. Even the friendliest of dogs can appear a threat to wildlife and may cause a bird to leave a nest altogether. It’s not just ground-nesting birds that are at risk – many species will nest in vegetation close to the ground alongside paths.
  • Stick to paths. Whether it’s a public right of way, a bridleway or a permissive path, please stick to these and don’t make your own way through. Only take horses or cycles on designated bridleways.
  • Stay alert. If a bird is calling ‘at you’, you’re too close to the nest.  If it’s carrying food, let it feed its young. Don’t pause and keep on walking.
  • Report bad or suspicious behaviour. If you see anything suspicious – wildlife crime, fly-tipping, fires or more, please report this using 101 (non urgent) or 999 (urgent)

Update 2nd June 2020

Following a trial opening at the weekend to see whether the safety of staff, volunteers, visitors and wildlife could be maintained, The Knapp and Papermill nature reserve is now open. However, due to the popularity of this sensitive site we would ask you to minimise visits. There is very limited parking available.

Update 26th May 2020

By Saturday 30th May most of our nature reserves that are accessible to the public will be re-opened. The exceptions are our nature reserves at Upton Warren, Lower Smite Farm and The Knapp and Papermill, which will remain closed whilst we work out further practicalities to ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers, neighbours and visitors.  The hides at Feckenham Wylde Moor and Broadway Gravel Pit will also remain closed. 

We remain committed to playing our part in reducing the spread of Covid-19.  We therefore ask everyone to minimise their visits to our nature reserves at this time. Please see individual nature reserves pages to find out whether a reserve has opened yet.

If you visit our reserves, please maintain social distancing and be considerate to our staff, volunteers, other visitors and the wildlife.  You can do this by trying to avoid narrower paths that have the potential to make social distancing difficult without damaging path-side flowers and ground-nesting bird nests.

Wildlife has got used to the peace and quiet while you’ve been gone so please follow these simple steps to help ensure the safety of the wildlife that our nature reserves are so vital for:

  • Keep dogs on leads. Even the friendliest of dogs can appear a threat to wildlife and may cause a bird to leave a nest altogether. It’s not just ground-nesting birds that are at risk – many species will nest in vegetation close to the ground alongside paths.
  • Stick to paths. Whether it’s a public right of way, a bridleway or a permissive path, please stick to these and don’t make your own way through. Only take horses or cycles on designated bridleways.
  • Stay alert. If a bird is calling ‘at you’, you’re too close to the nest.  If it’s carrying food, let it feed its young. Don’t pause and keep on walking.
  • Report bad or suspicious behaviour. If you see anything suspicious – wildlife crime, fly-tipping, fires or more, please report this using 101 (non urgent) or 999 (urgent)

We reserve the right to close any of our nature reserves again if it proves impossible to keep them safely open.

Thank you for your continued support and for your patience.  If you are visiting our nature reserves and are not a member, please consider joining us in order to help us to maintain these wonderful places for wildlife.

Update 11th May 2020

We’d like to thank everyone for respecting the closure of our car parks and nature reserves. Like you, we’ve been taking every opportunity that we can to stay connected to doorstep wildlife - the nature in our gardens and on our local exercise routes. Where it’s been essential to do so our reserves staff and volunteers have been checking our reserves and we’re delighted to report that wildlife seems to be doing well in our absence – with many birds foraging and nesting close to paths that they’d previously have avoided due to human visitors.

Following the announcement by Government on Sunday 10th May, it remains important to maintain social distancing.  Coming out of lockdown won’t be easy – either for us or for the wildlife that has now got used to a quieter life.  For the Trust and our nature reserves the following is really important.

  • The health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers, neighbours and our visitors is of paramount importance. It is not possible to socially distance on many of the paths through our nature reserves.
  • It is important that the wildlife on our nature reserves can be protected once nature reserves are open. More birds than even before, for example, will be nesting close to paths and it is important that they have the opportunity to continue their breeding season undisturbed.

Because of this, we will be taking a phased approach to opening our nature reserves from the end of May. We will announce what the arrangements will be on Tuesday 26th May, following the Bank Holiday weekend.  This will give us a chance to ensure that the re-opening of our nature reserves takes into account both the safety of people and our wildlife as well as to have in place the staff and plans to ensure visitors are using the site considerately.

Public footpaths remain open. Please stick to these paths and observe the social distancing rules at all times.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Update: 22nd April 2020

Thank you for respecting the closure of our car parks and nature reserves.  Whilst we recognise that many people will turn to nature to help them at this time, we have to make the health and wellbeing of staff and the public our top priority.  Therefore, we regretfully felt that we had no choice but to close our reserves and car parks to protect the public, our staff and neighbours. Where there are public footpaths that cross our nature reserves, these remain open but please stick to these and maintain social distancing at all times.

Government guidance is to restrict unnecessary travel and observe social distancing and we appeal to those who wish to visit our reserves to respect the closures.

Update: 24th March 2020

The office at Lower Smite Farm is closed. Find out how to contact us via email.

UPDATE: 23rd March 2020 - nature reserves

Closure of Worcestershire Wildlife Trust reserves from 24/03/20 during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Over the weekend we have seen unprecedented visitor pressure upon our nature reserves and car parks. It is clear from the numbers visiting our reserves that it is not possible to maintain social distancing which is putting staff and public at risk.

Whilst we recognise that many people will turn to nature to help them at this time, we have to make the health and wellbeing of staff and the public our top priority.  Therefore, we regretfully feel that we now have no choice but to close our reserves and car parks to protect the public, our staff and neighbours. Where there are public footpaths that cross our nature reserves, these remain open but please stick to these and maintain social distancing at all times.

Government guidance is to restrict unnecessary travel and observe social distancing and we appeal to those who wish to visit our reserves to respect the closures.

From 12 noon on Tuesday 17th March:

  • All events will be cancelled until further notice; including those organised by our local groups.  We hope that many of these events will merely be postponed and our Local Group committees are already working hard to reschedule speakers for their next programme of events.  Please check our What’s on pages to keep up to date with when events resume.
  • All volunteer activities will cease until further notice.
  • Schools – All bookings will be cancelled until further notice.  We are in the process of contacting schools that are due to visit us at Lower Smite Farm/The Knapp and Papermill or that are due to receive a free assembly from one of our Bzzy Bees or Lost Words volunteers. 
  • Bookings of our conference and meeting facilities – all bookings are cancelled until further notice and we will be in touch with organisations that currently have bookings.
  • Our reception, shop  and offices at Lower Smite Farm are closed to casual visitors.  Online orders are still being taken (as currently, these will be shipped twice a week).  If you wish to purchase bird food, please go direct to our suppliers, Vine House Farm (01172 530299) – they are able to deliver to your door and 4% of every sale is donated to the Trust (+£10 for new customers).
  • Staff will only by exception be attending external meetings and visits.

We will update this page as and when the situation changes.  If you have any queries, our contact us page has information about how to get in touch.

Thank you for your understanding and co-operation.