Shropshire History


Nature Reserves


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A nature reserve is a protected area of land that is important for plants, animals or some geological feature. Most are open to the public but some are so sensitive that access is strictly controlled. The world's first nature reserve was established in 1821 by the naturalist Charles Waterton, around his estate at Walton Hall in West Yorkshire. He spent £9,000 on the construction of a 3-mile long, 9ft high wall to enclose his park from poachers. He then tried to encourage birdlife by planting trees and hollowing out trunks for owls to nest in. He also invented artificial nest boxes to house starlings, jackdaws and sand martins and unsuccessfully attempted to introduce little owls from Italy. Waterton allowed local people access to his reserve.


Nature reserves may be designated by philanthropic individuals like Waterton but more usually they are owned or managed by government institutions, local authorities or charities.


National Nature Reserves (NNRs) in England are designated by Natural England as nationally important places for wildlife or natural features. There are over 224 NNRs in England covering over 800 square kilometres (approximately 0.7% of the country’s land surface) and nearly every kind of landscape. Often, they contain rare or nationally important species of plants, insects, butterflies, birds, mammals, etc. Of the total NNRs, 143 are managed by Natural England themselves but the others are managed by charities such as Wildlife Trusts, National Trust and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. 


The public is welcomed onto NNRs and many have extensive path networks and access land. However, some are difficult to access because they are remote, have rugged terrain or sensitive habitats.


Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) are places with wildlife or geological features that are of special interest locally but not of particular national importance. They offer the public opportunities to study or learn about nature or simply to enjoy it. There are over 1,280 LNRs in England, including habitats such as windswept coastal headlands, ancient woodlands, flower-rich meadows, former inner-city railways, long-abandoned landfill sites and industrial areas now re-colonised by wildlife. In total, they cover almost 40,000 hectares.


To establish a local nature reserve, the declaring local authority must first have a legal interest in the land concerned, ie they must own it, lease it or have a nature reserve agreement with the owner. The land must lie within the area which the declaring authority controls. LNRs are usually owned by local authorities but they often pass the management of the LNR onto the county Wildlife Trust or other local charities or Friends organisations. They are accessible to the public where visitors would not damage or disturb wildlife. Access to some areas may be restricted if visitors could cause damage to the natural environment, unless the public have statutory access rights.


Other Nature Reserves are those without any official designation or protection as above. This may be because there is nothing significantly special about the site and it is just pleasant to visit. This category makes up many of the nature reserves in Shropshire. One problem with a lack of protection is an accompanying lack of funding. This resulted in the Shropshire Wildlife Trust relinquishing management of the Plantation Nature Reserve in September 2016. The Trust felt it had a responsibility to ensure the safety of people visiting the wood and this involved commissioning professional tree surveys every other year and, where necessary, tree surgery. This cost several thousand pounds in recent years which the Trust was unable to continue paying. The Trust thus decided to hand back the wood to the landowner so that they took back responsibility for the safety of the public as there is a permissive path through the wood.








Gazetteer of Nature Reserves


Apley Woods LNR - SJ656132 (Telford & Wrekin Council)


Bettisfield Moss NNR - SJ488358 (English Nature)


Birch Road Pond -  SJ400346 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Brook Vessons - SJ382009 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Button Oak Meadow - SO753775 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Bwlytai Wood - SJ263266 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Catherton Common - SO622778 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Chelmarsh Reservoir - SO725881 (South Staffs Water)


Clunton Coppice - SO342806 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Comley Quarry - SO484965 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Coppice Leasowes LNR - SO459940 (Church Stretton Town Council)


Craig Sychtyn - SJ233257 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Cramer Gutter - SO648794 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Dolgoch Quarry - SJ277247 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Donington & Albrighton LNR - SJ809046 (Shropshire Council)


Dothill LNR - SJ643129 (Wellington Town Council)


Earls & Pontesford Hill - SJ409047 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Eardington LNR - SO720907 (Shropshire Council)


Edge Wood - SO476876 (Ann Dyer)


Farfields Meadows - SO603806 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Fenn’s Moss NNR - SJ488358 (English Nature)


Granville Country Park - SJ719132 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Greenfields LNR - SJ532416 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Harton Hollow - SO481878 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Helmeth Hill Wood - SO468938 (Woodland Trust)


Holly Banks - SJ340182 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Hope Valley - SJ354020 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Ifton Meadows LNR SJ317376 (Shropshire Council)


Jones Rough - SJ248248 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Ketley Paddock Mound LNR - SJ681109 (Telford & Wrekin Council)


Lightmoor - SJ677055 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Llanymynech Rocks - SJ262216 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Llynclys Common - SJ272236 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Lower Shortditch Turbary - SO224884 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Lurkenhope - SO295737 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Madeley Pitmounds LNR - SJ698038 (Telford & Wrekin Council)


Mason’s Bank - SO235870 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Melverley Meadows - SJ583407 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Merrington Green LNR  SJ467210 (Shropshire Council)


Nipstone Rock - SO357968 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Old Rectory Wood SO451937 (Shropshire Council)


Pentre Wood - SJ272370 (Woodland Trust)


Polemere - SJ413094 (Tudor Bebb)


Poles Coppice SJ393048 (Shropshire Council)


Prees Branch Canal - SJ497336 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Quarry Wood - SJ686273 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Rea Brook Valley LNR - SJ503108 (Shrewsbury & Atcham Borough Council)


Rhos Fiddle - SJ206853 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Roundton Hill - SO293946 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Ruewood - SJ496280 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Sallow Coppice - SO420820 (Forest Enterprise)


Shelf Bank  SJ297299 (Shropshire Council)


Stiperstones NNR - SO366993 (English Nature)


Sweeney Fen - SJ275250 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


The Beeches LNR - SJ676039 (Telford & Wrekin Council)


The Ercall - SJ644095 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


The Hollies NNR - SJ383016 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Venus Pool - SJ548062 (Shropshire Ornithological Society)


Walkmill Marsh SJ668332 (Shropshire Council)


Wem Moss - SJ473343 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Whitcliffe Common - SO507743 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Whixall Moss NNR - SJ488358 (English Nature)


Wood Lane - SJ424328 (Shropshire Wildlife Trust)


Wyre Forest NNR - SO759767 (English Nature)