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Whitacre Heath

Designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) Whitacre Heath Nature Reserve is 44 hectares of pools, woodland and wet grassland formed as a result of old sand and gravel workings.


The Tame Valley

The Tame Valley Wetlands span from Coleshill to Tamworth and includes several of the most important wildlife sites in the Midlands. It is a vital north-south migration route, providing essential resting and feeding places for thousands of migrating birds.

The Tame Valley has undergone great changes as a result of human activity over the last century. Old gravel workings now form the largest series of interconnected wetlands in the county. Water quality has also improved, vital for aquatic invertebrates and fish, perfect for kingfishers and otters.

The Valley also has a wealth of heritage features – from relic hedgerows to aqueducts and old pill boxes built during the Second World War.




The Reserve
Whitacre Heath Nature Reserve is a good example of vegetation succession, from open water through marsh into willow carr and woodland.

The reserve is important for breeding water birds. The pools support species including little grebe, tufted duck, water rail and teal. Waders such as lapwing, redshank, curlew and snipe are also regular visitors to the large areas of wet grassland.

Other frequently seen birds include great spotted and green woodpeckers and numerous species of warblers, finches, tits and thrushes.

Dominated by alder and willow, the wet woodland areas are important for fungi, mosses and liverworts which thrive in damp, shaded conditions. Deadwood provides a home to a number of important beetle species.

Frogs and toads thrive in the moist habitats and pools on the reserve. Grass snakes can be seen in March and April basking in the spring sunshine.

A walk along one of our self-guided trails may reveal some interesting plants including southern marsh orchid and the rare blue fleabane, which is only found at a handful of locations in Warwickshire.

Keep an eye open for the rare white-letter hairstreak butterfly and watch for emperor dragonflies and broad-bodied chasers in mid-summer flying over the open pools.

Management
The nature reserve is owned and managed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. Volunteers play a vital role managing the reserve by maintaining footpaths, controlling encroaching scrub and the invasive non-native plant Himalayan balsam.

Occasionally, you may see cattle grazing parts of the reserve, especially areas of wet grassland. This creates optimal conditions for ground nesting birds, which rely on open areas of wet grassland to breed.

Self-guided trails
Follow the way-markers around Whitacre Heath Nature Reserve for a great way to discover the reserve and its wildlife. Find out more about the wildlife that lives here by scanning the QR codes on your mobile device at each way-marker post. You can also access our QR trail content here. Bring crayons and paper along to make brass rubbings as you explore!

Nearby nature reserves

Kingsbury Meadow
2 miles - Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
Cole End Park
3 miles - Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
Park Hall
4 miles - The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Location
3 miles north of Coleshill, 0.5km south east of Lea Marston
Tamworth
Warwickshire
B46 2EH
Map reference
SP 209 931
Great for...
birdwatching
butterflies
fungi
getting away from it all
overwintering birds
spring flowers
wildflowers
Best time to visit
Mar - Jul
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Size
44.00 hectares
Access
Members Only

Car parking available: contact the Trust for access information.
Parking
Reserve car park off the Lea Marston to Whitacre Heath Road
Dogs
No dogs allowed
Reserve manager
Karl Curtis
Tel: 02476 302912
enquiries@wkwt.org.uk?subject=mail from reserve pages