Offerton Lane Local Nature Reserve
This Reserve is made up of two wetland areas linked by the old Offerton Lane. It was created to provide a drainage balancing area to receive the rainwater run off from the surrounding industrial estate. The western end is dominated by a large pool, favoured by waterfowl. The reedbed at the more secluded eastern end is home to Reed and Sedge Warblers.
Access: Pedestrian and cycle access from Wainwright Road, Offerton Lane (no vehicle access), and Worcester and Birmingham Canal.
bench, viewing platform, cycle path
Open: Pedestrian and cycle access 24hrs.
Dogs: Well behaved dogs welcome.
Habitat: Wildflower grassland, Scrub, Hedgerows, Pond, Reedbed, Veteran trees
Notable Wildlife: Mute Swan, Mallard, Grey Heron, Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting, Dove's Foot Cranesbill, Rook, Buzzard, Field Rose.
Other features: The nearby Worcester and Birmingham Canal provides a corridor for wildlife as well as transport and leisure opportunities for people.
Management tasks include:
- Mowing of Wildflower grassland
- Scrub clearance
- Ragwort control
- Maintenance of furniture
- Footpath cutting
What can you see there?
The western end is dominated by a wet balancing area in the form of a large pool, favoured by waterfowl such as mallard, moorhen and coot. Emperor, southern and common hawker dragonflies can be seen in season hunting for insects over the water and the pool environs.
Bats are well represented on the site, with common and soprano pipistrelle, noctule and daubenton's bats using the varied habitats of the reserve. Grassland and scrub provide homes for butterflies, including the rare brown argus.
During the spring and summer month's chiffchaff, willow, reed and sedge warbler, blackcap and whitethroat can all be observed, in addition to the list of resident species that can be spotted all year round.
The eastern section comprises a dry balancing area which has developed into a reed bed of common reed (Phragmites) and reed mace. (Typha)
Reed is a scarce habitat in Worcester. Offerton lane is one of a tiny number of city sites to support reed bed specialist species such as reed, sedge, cetti's warblers and reed buntings. Kingfishers can be seen hunting fish fry within the open water channels in the reed, while herons are frequent visitors.
Mature hedgerows surround the reed bed providing a wealth of nesting and feeding opportunities for gold, green and bullfinch; the ripe fruits of field rose, hawthorn, crab apple and blackthorn attract flocks of redwing and fieldfare in the late autumn and winter.
Small pockets of flower rich grassland around the reed fringe provide homes for peacock, orange tip, gatekeeper, meadow brown and ringlet butterflies, while dragonflies such as southern hawker and broad bodied chaser can be seen patrolling the paths and hedgerows.
The hedgerows and mature trees that surround the site not only filter out much of the road generated noise from the nearby A449, but also screen the visitor from the adjacent factory buildings. The resulting impression of natural charm and isolation belies its position within a busy industrial landscape.
What have we been doing there?
As part of an ongoing programme of management, we have periodically cut back some of the scrub on the western side of the site, to ensure that the open grassy areas are not lost.
The flower rich grassland is cut in late summer, once the seed is set and the butterfly species have completed their lifecycles.
We have improved the drainage of the main surfaced path that connects Wainwright Rd to Offerton lane, and maintained the remaining network of routes around the reserve.
The Ranger team conduct regular bird and butterfly surveys on site and, a number of successful bat walk events with the general public have been conducted here.
Since 2002 we have, with the help of volunteers, cleared vegetation from the main pool, coppiced the scrub on the island and, at the eastern end of the site, laid 150m of hedge. Hedge laying has the effect of prolonging the life of the hawthorns and promoting new growth from ground level.
This in turn allows field and dog rose, bramble and blackthorn to regenerate, adding their berries and fruits to the wealth of food provided by the hedgerow in autumn.
The photograph shows a 50m section of laid hedge after completion. The trees rapidly regenerate to form a food rich habitat for invertebrates and birds. The hedge will be ready to re-lay in eight to ten years.