Cherry Orchard Local Nature Reserve
Cherry Orchard Local Nature Reserve occupies a former landfill site which has remained undisturbed since 1987. A mosaic of habitats has emerged through natural colonisation. Flower rich grassland and scrub dominate, contributing to the green corridor that extends into the city from the south. It was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 2003.
Access: Pedestrian entrances on Waverley Street, St. Mark's Close, and from the Diglis Cycle Bridge.
The new cycle path from Waverley Street to the bridge follows the northern boundary of the Reserve.
cycle path, bottle bank, play park nearby, sports pitches nearby
Open: Pedestrian access 24hrs. Parking for groups by arrangement.
Dogs: Well behaved dogs welcome, please clear up after your dog using the bins provided.
Habitat: Semi-natural grassland, Scrub, Wet woodland, Stream, River bank
Notable Wildlife: Slow worm, Green Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Grass snake, Chiffchaff, Michaelmas daisy, fruit trees
Other features: The adjacent former dredging area (British Waterways) is a unique habitat in Worcester, supporting a number of plants and insects associated with sandy soils.
Local residents have now formed the "Friends of Diglis Fields" group with an interest in the playing fields and nature reserve. They can be contacted via the online forum at www.diglis.com.
Management tasks include:
- Scrub and bramble clearance
- Thistle topping
- Mowing of Semi-natural grassland
- Maintenance of furniture
- Footpath cutting
- Himalayan Balsam removal
- Japanese Knotweed treatment
- Fruit tree planting
- Slow worm surveys
Our Cherry Orchard site is situated in the Diglis area of Worcester, on the River Severn flood plain to the south of the City. Bordered to the west by the river and to the south by Duck Brook, it is about 12.5 hectares in area.
What can you see there?
From April onwards the reserve becomes a riot of colour and activity; the first butterflies emerge to take advantage of the flush of new spring growth and nectar bearing flowers. Orange tip and Brimstone can be seen on sunny days, while colourful Peacock butterflies bask on open ground.
Migrant birds return to breed, swelling the numbers of resident species that have over-wintered here. Chiffchaff, Willow warbler and Whitethroat are soon establishing territories, accompanied by early season Sand martins and Swallows, hawking over the grassland for the first flush of spring insects.
As spring turns to summer the site is alive with insects, providing food for the growing families of breeding birds. Green woodpeckers yaffle and the tinkling calls of linnets and Goldfinches filter down on the breeze. Sparrow hawks and Buzzards are regular visitors, spiralling on warm thermals, while Kestrels can be seen hovering motionless into the wind.
The ever present song of Whitethroat and Willow warbler combine with the soporific buzz of insects on warm summer days, heightening a sense of peace and tranquillity rarely experienced so close to a city centre.
A new complement of butterflies can now be seen on the wing; Meadow brown, Marbled white and Small Skipper in the grassy areas, with Gatekeeper, Red admiral and Speckled wood in the scrub and woodland edge.
What have we been doing there?
Since 2003 we have concentrated on keeping the balance of open grassland and scrub in place. This requires the removal of bramble and hawthorn each year; a task that is popular with local volunteers. We also cut and remove selected areas of grassland to keep the brambles and nettles in check. This is takes place in the winter when slow worms are not active above ground.
We have made a number of access improvements including re-fencing the area around the St Mark's Close entrance, putting in steps and a handrail at the point of access from the Severn way and, maintaining the footpaths on the site.
Invasive weeds have been a problem on parts of the site. Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam are introduced species that spread rapidly if not kept in check. Since 2003 we have controlled the spread and reduced the area of coverage of these two specie