Shrewsbury Town Council Countryside Unit
The Countryside Unit looks after over 20 sites around the town, ranging from large Local Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest to small Community Woodlands. These areas are managed with both people and wildlife in mind and whilst they may not look as neat and tidy as the Town Council's formal gardens, they support a huge variety of plants and animals. Traditional management methods such as grazing, haymaking and coppicing create a mosaic of different habitats across the town.
The largest site managed by the Countryside Unit is the Rea Brook Valley Local Nature Reserve. The site runs east and south from the centre of Shrewsbury town. This green corridor provides a vital wildlife refuge amongst the roads and buildings and a walk along the banks can be rewarded with sightings of Kingfishers, Otters, Buzzards, and Orchids to name but a few. The site can be accessed from many places along its route including Sutton Farm, Meole Brace, the Shirehall and Shrewsbury Abbey.
Countryside sites are managed by a ranger with the help of university students on work placements, volunteer work parties and volunteer site wardens. The sites and staff transferred from Shropshire Council to Shrewsbury Town Council in July 2012, to allow them to share resources and knowledge with the rest of the Town Council's horticulture staff.
For more information, contact Countryside Ranger Matt Wilcoxon on 01743 257610 or email@example.com
A Common Spotted Orchid has been discovered in one of the Town Council's Nature Reserves
It has been confirmed that a Common Spotted Orchid has been found in one of the Town Council's Nature Reserves. Dan Wrench of Shropshire Council's Environment Team has told us that there was only one previous record of this plant within 2km of the find, and that was 26 years ago! Although the species is not very rare in the UK as a whole, having one growing in the Rea Brook Valley is a good indicator that the years of traditional grassland management carried out by the Countryside Unit are paying off. Grazing and haymaking are allowing wildflowers to thrive in the meadows and therefore supporting a range of insects and things that feed on them.
Rea Brook Valley Circular Walk
The Rea Brook Valley is the largest most visited countryside site managed by Shrewsbury Town Council's Countryside Unit. Its status as a Local Nature Reserve is nationally recognised for its importance as a haven for wildlife and a place for people to enjoy. If you would like to explore the area, have a go at this ciruclar walk following the Kingfisher waymarkers. The route is about three miles long and besides some muddy areas, generally the route is on level ground. There are no stiles on the route but there are several sets of steps.
Please send us your pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share them on facebook, twitter and our website and let us know if you see any wildlife.