FAQs about Trust nature reserves

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FAQs about Trust nature reserves

Eades Meadow by Andy Bartlett

Take a look below for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we get asked about our nature reserves...

Do I need a permit to visit Upton Warren? If so, how do I get one?

Entry is free to those carrying Wildlife Trust Membership Cards (excepting Norfolk Wildlife Trust Members). Please carry your membership card with you when visiting Upton Warren. Anyone not in possession of a membership card must purchase a £3 Daily Permit from volunteer wardens on site (if you come across one) or the Boat Shack Cafe (by the sailing lake) or in advance from Worcestershire Wildlife Trust by email or post.

I've heard that there are fields full of poppies on one of your nature reserves?

Between 2011 and 2014 poppies flowered in profusion on our Blackstone Farm Fields nature reserve alongside the road between Bewdley and Stourport. The sea of red was a by-product of reducing the nutrients, allowing fields to remain fallow and minimising the use of fertilisers that was undertaken as part of the process to return the land to heathland. 

Around 90% of Worcestershire's heathland has been lost in the last 200 years so the work we are doing there will help our most threatened habitat. It is adjacent to our neighbouring The Devil's Spittleful nature reserve and Wyre Forest District Council's Rifle Range and Burlish Top; together they're creating important connections for wildlife.  Alongside the management work that has been taking place on these heathland reserves over recent years, the reversion of Blackstone Farm Fields to heathland will help heathland specialists such as nightjars and woodlarks to return to the area.

There are no longer fields full of poppies as other plants are now growing there too.  Healthy heathlands include areas of disturbed ground so although the poppies won’t be quite the spectacle they are now, there will still be small patches of poppies for people to enjoy.

In 2019 poppies sprung up in large numbers at nearby Dropping Well Farm.  These were visible from the Severn Valley Railway and by anyone walking along nearby public footpaths.  We are hoping to buy this land in order to create a fantastic block of heathland in which wildlife can thrive; you can find out more about our hopes for this on our Heathland Hero webpage.  The land is farmland with no public access so we ask that if the poppies return in 2020 that all visitors respect this and the wildlife that lives there by not entering the fields; thank you.

Where can I see the best bluebells on your nature reserves?

Our reserves at Tiddesley Wood, Beacon Wood, Chaddesley WoodThe Knapp and Papermill and Grafton Wood all have fine shows of bluebells in spring. These will be variable depending on the season and the timing will also vary somewhat from year to year. 

Where can I see wild daffodils on your nature reserves?

Duke of York Meadow has a fine show of wild daffodils, usually at their best on or just before Easter in most years. The daffodils can be viewed from the small car park but please be aware that a permit is required to access the meadow. Picking or uprooting the daffodils is not allowed and is illegal under UK law.

How do I get to your nature reserves?

Please follow the directions for individual reserves on the relevant pages. These can be accessed by clicking on the main nature reserves page.

Where can I buy a guide to your nature reserves?

Nature reserve guides are available, priced £7.00, from our headquarters at Lower Smite Farm or from our online shop.

Can I bring a group or tour party to your nature reserves?

In many cases we are happy to allow access to groups without a Trust guide. However, there may be reasons why a group visit would not be appropriate on a particular site or at a specific time, perhaps because of conflicts with management activity for example.

To ensure you have the best visit that isn't compromised by work that's taking place, education activities or other group visits, please contact Rob (01905 754919) to book your visit. Please also consider making a donation to the Trust to help with the ongoing costs of managing our nature reserves.

Which nature reserves are suitable for wheelchair access?

Tiddesley Wood has a car park and a rough stoned track through the centre of the wood but this is not a flat surface and there are some steep gradients further into the wood. Monkwood also has a hard surfaced path leading from the car park. Both Upton Warren and Broadway Gravel Pit have wheelchair-accessible hides.

Is there any charge for visiting your nature reserves if I am not a member?

The only site where there is an access charge for non-members is the wetland reserve at Upton Warren. If you are not a member and regularly visit our reserves, please consider joining us in order to help us to maintain these beautiful places for wildlife and for your enjoyment.

Please remember that some of our reserves are not open to visitors - members or non-members - except by prior arrangement and under a special permit.

Can I take my dog to Trust nature reserves?

On most of our sites we allow visitors to visit with their dogs but require owners to keep them on the lead. On some sites, such as Upton Warren, we do not allow dogs at all. Please check on the individual reserve page for details before visiting a reserve.

What is ash dieback and what are you doing it about it on your nature reserves?

Ash dieback
Ash dieback Hymenoscyphus fraxineus is a chronic fungal disease that has been spreading across the UK. It was first recorded in Worcestershire in 2016, and now appears to be widespread in the county.

You can read more about how to identify ash dieback and our response to it on our ash dieback page.

 

Which nature reserves are open to the public?

While we encourage enjoyment of our reserves, some of our more sensitive or difficult to access sites are closed to the public. This may be seasonal in some cases, so please check the reserves handbook, available from the Trust, or the individual reserves pages on the website before visiting.

I would like to visit the Gwen Finch and the John Bennett wetland reserves. Is there a hide and do I need a code for access?

Gwen Finch is a closed site and the Trust does not allow access without a permit. The neighbouring John Bennett reserve, developed by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust in co-operation with the landowner, Natural England and the Environment Agency, has a hide and is accessible to the public. The Wildlife Trust do not manage the reserve but the landowner has given permission for us to offer the code to the lock to interested birdwatchers. The code is C2678X. Please ensure the lock is engaged if you are the last to leave the hide.

Please note that this is a private nature reserve and that during winter there may be the occasional pheasant shoot

If I join Worcestershire Wildlife Trust will I be able to visit Wildlife Trust nature reserves in other counties free of charge?

The majority of Wildlife Trust reserves around the country are free to members and many are free to all. Some charge a small entry fee to help with upkeep and visitors are sometimes asked to pay a charge to visitor centres that provide extra facilities. If you are planning a visit to another county then you might like to get in touch with the local Wildlife Trust in advance for further details.

I’d like to report an overhanging and/or potentially dangerous tree on a Trust nature reserve. How do I contact you?

You'll need to talk to the relevant Conservation Officer responsible for the particular nature reserve.  Please call us on 01905 754919 or email us and we'll direct your query to the appropriate member of staff.