Wide open sky, rare wildlife and lovely walks .

Nearest to

Bridgnorth, Eardington

Parking

Free car park off the B4555 is available all year round (car park locked at 8pm in summer and 5pm in winter).

Location

Located on the B4555 just outside the village of Eardington.

Postcode

WV16 5JX

Opening times

Every day of the year.

About

This ex-quarry is a wildlife hotspot. The sand and gravel banks are a rare habitat in the modern countryside and the site is home to great-crested newts, orchids, rare bees that nest in the sand and gravel banks and orchids. Grab your binoculars and camera and take a walk on the wild side!

Eardington Nature Reserve is a 12 hectare former sand and gravel quarry most recently quarried by Lafarge Tarmac. Quarrying ceased in the mid-1990s. Following the quarry, the site was used as a ready-mixed concrete plant until 2010 when the site was finally closed.

It is now managed as a nature reserve in partnership with Friends of Eardington Nature Reserve (a local community and volunteer group). The site only officially opened in May 2015 so it is still ‘work in progress’ but there is a good path around the site with spurs leading through the more mature woodland at the back. It is possible to start longer walks from the site and there are good footpath links along the Mor Brook and around the parish of Eardington.

The central area was most recently quarried and has most biodiversity value. The shifting sand and gravel banks are home to rare solitary bees and other insects. Management work focuses on controlling scrub encroachment. Left unchecked, silver birch would spread over the area and cast shade on the valuable habitat. Temporary wetlands in this part of the site are also home to great-crested newts, birds such as jack snipe and rare plants. More wetland areas will be created in future and it is hoped that sand martins can be attracted back to the site by using artificial nesting units.

At the edge of the site is a nice area of species-rich grassland. Orchids are present and it is hoped that with appropriate management, the floristic diversity in these areas will increase.

Secondary woodland has started to develop in some parts of the site (mainly alder and willow). In these areas, management has involved thinning trees and creating glades to improve the understorey and create a more varied age structure. Nestboxes have also been installed.

The site has an interesting geomorphological history. Bridgnorth is situated at the limit of the last ice sheet to occupy the region, during a period known as the Late Devensian (approximately 30-17,000 years ago); this was the last glacial cold stage (ice age) to have affected Britain. This ice sheet originated in the Irish Sea basin and where the Mor Brook tributary joins the Severn Valley at Eardington, meltwater from the snout of the glacier laid down sands and gravels in a landform known as an alluvial fan. This explains why there were such deep sand and gravel deposits in this area.

A grant that was awarded from the SITA Trust has paid for fencing, nestboxes, woodland management and creation of scrapes and wetlands. The Friends of Eardington Nature Reserve organise work parties for anyone who is keen to lend a hand with practical conservation work on site.

In order to protect ground-nesting birds, dogs are not allowed on site between 1st March and 31st August. At all other times they should be kept on leads.

Things to see and do

  • Take your binoculars and camera and see if you can spot some of the rare wildlife on site.
  • Use the site as a starting point for a longer walk. All stiles on footpaths within the parish of Eardington have been replaced by kissing gates to make walking in this area easily accessible for everyone.
  • Get acquainted with the rare minibeasts of Eardington! Hold a white sheet under a small tree on site and shake the tree. Take a careful look at what invertebrates are living in the canopy.

Getting there

Bus service between Bridgnorth and Highley.

Join in

Volunteering

Friends of Eardington Nature Reserve organise work parties and meetings and are always looking for new members.

Wildlife Sightings

We welcome contact from our visitors especially when they share their wildlife sighting with us.

During summer 2016, visitors to the nature reserve were delighted to see and hear a grasshopper warbler. This species is currently on the 'Red List' due to a dramatic decline in population and it was the first recorded sighting for the reserve.

If you would like to report any sightings, please email outdoor.recreation@shropshire.gov.uk with the details.

 

Web links

The Friends of Eardington Nature Reserve