Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Area of Conservation
Lyppard Grange Ponds LNR can be found behind the community shopping area in Warndon Villages, Worcester, and was once the garden of Lyppard Grange farmhouse. Despite its small size, the Reserve is very important for local wildlife as part of a network of nature conservation areas throughout the Villages.
Access: Pedestrian entrances from Ankerage Green, Topham Avenue. Cycle paths lead to Woodgreen Drive, Dugdale Drive and Trotshill Lane East.
Site Facilities: Parking nearby, benches, interpretation board, wheelchair accessible viewing platform, toilets at community centre, refreshments available nearby.
Open: Pedestrian access 24hrs.
Dogs: Well behaved dogs welcome. Please clean up after your dog using the bin provided.
Habitat: Pond, Hedgerow, Semi-natural grassland, Scrub and bramble.
Notable Wildlife: Great Crested Newt, Mulberry, Southern Hawker dragonfly, Moorhen, Damson
Other features: A number of non-native specimen trees, from its former life as the garden of Lyppard Grange farmhouse, now a public house.
Management tasks include:
- Monitoring surveys - Great Crested Newt
- Footpath cutting
- Maintenance of furniture
- Management of veteran trees
- Hedgerow maintenance
- Mowing of rough grassland
- Scrub and bramble clearance
The Ponds and Great Crested Newts
The ponds at Lyppard Grange were once part of a formal garden and orchard. The larger pond may have been part of a 16th century moat, whilst the smaller one was probably an ornamental duck pond. These ponds are now at the heart of the Local Nature Reserve and are very important for a host of wild species, including Great Crested Newts, which are protected under British and European law.
The ponds are also home to dragonflies and damselflies, such as the Southern Hawker and Common Blue Damselfly, and a host of diving beetles, freshwater shrimp and Smooth Newts.
The reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation, as it supports one of the largest known breeding populations of Great Crested Newt in the country. These elusive amphibians rely on pond plants on which to lay their eggs, and log piles on land in which to keep cool and damp in summer and hibernate over the winter months.
These are Britain's largest newts and their habitat is protected by law, including the water in which they lay their eggs and log piles used as refuges during dry weather. Their numbers dropped dramatically during the late twentieth century, and it is now illegal to take, handle or disturb Great Crested Newts without a special licence. The black plastic barrier on the edge of the large pond is there to stop the newts from wandering into areas where there are cars. To handle, disturb or damage the habitat of these newts without a proper license is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981. More information about protected species and Sites of Special Scientific Interest can be found at www.naturalengland.org.uk.
Keep an eye out for Common Blue damselflies, Banded Demoiselles, and the occasional Southern Hawker Dragonfly. Although the delicate adults are most visible in the summer months, they actually spend more of their lives as carnivorous nymphs beneath the surface of the water. The ponds are also home to Smooth Newts, a host of diving beetles and freshwater shrimp.
Mallard ducks and Moorhens appreciate the areas of Reed Sweet-grass to hide from predators and build their nests. Too many ducks can be a problem though – all the bread they get fed goes straight through them into the pond! This makes it too rich in nutrients for some aquatic creatures, and can mean the pond getting covered in Duckweed. Ducks are also fond of eating a lot of the pond plants, which Newts use to lay their eggs on.
Grassland, trees and hedgerows
It's not just the ponds that are valuable - the mature trees, rough grassland and hedgerows provide ideal habitat for a surprising number of birds, insects and small mammals.
The former garden area of Lyppard Grange contains many unusual trees, such as Hickory , Mulberry and Walnut, with the Wellingtonia, Cedar of Lebanon and pines dominating the skyline.
The rough grassland contains many different grasses and wildflowers, including White Campion, Birds-foot Trefoil, Speedwell and Vetches. It is an ideal habitat for slow worms, grass snakes and small mammals such as wood mice, shrews and voles. In the summer, the grassland is alive with butterflies and other insects – keep your eyes open for Painted Lady, Common Blue and Speckled Wood butterflies, bright green shield bugs and crickets.
The hedgerows contain a variety of native trees, including hawthorn, blackthorn, crab apple and field maple - these provide shelter and food for many animals. Birds such as Robin, Great Tit, and Goldfinch can be found in the hedgerows and shrubs. The sharp-eyed may spot Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Blackcaps, and over twenty other bird species throughout the year.
The History of Lyppard Grange
Lyppard Grange Ponds Local Nature Reserve was once the garden and orchard of Lyppard Grange farmhouse.
The oldest record of Lyppard is in an Anglo-Saxon Charter of 969AD, where it appears as "Lipperd". The fact that it was mentioned suggests that people were living and farming here at that time.
The word "Grange" indicates a farm which belonged to and fed a monastery and, in fact, the Grange belonged to the Priory of Worcester from the 13th Century until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the mid 16th century. It then passed to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester, who owned it until the 17th Century.
The present-day public house was rebuilt around the remains of the dilapidated 17th and 18th century farmhouse.
Lyppard Grange Ponds Local Nature Reserve Education Pack (2007)
There is an education pack available for Lyppard Grange Ponds Local Nature Reserve, aimed mainly at Keystage 2. This contains information and activities based around the Wildlife, History and Geography of the Reserve and the surrounding area, including historical maps and documents. Limited printed copies are available free on request - please contact the Conservation team for more information.
Leaflet: A Pocket History of Lyppard Grange (2007)
Copies available free from Lyppard Grange Community Centre, Worcester City Council Customer Service Centre or by post on receipt of a stamped addressed envelope.