Friday, 29 August 2014

Second time lucky – the David Attenborough Nature reserve

One of many - Lapwings

The first time we tried to get to Nottingham we had to turn back after 4hrs, grid lock on the M6 after an accident, not the best way to spend husbands’ birthday!..  Travellers beware. A month later we finally got there, not without further traffic snarl ups and worse I left my binoculars behind!  Still...
The reserve has a large car park, no fee, nor entrance cost, but donation recommended similar to Mere sands wood reserve.
My initial impression of the reserve is a mature version of Brockholes, similar habitats, large walking area, but more overgrown. I was particular pleased to find a tower hide, always good to view from on high, over the reeds! Access pretty good with benches dotted about to tally on. Again the visitor /café although smaller reminded me of Brockholes, set by the lake, nice food and yes if you want to feed the ducks, swans, geese and coots they’re waiting for you. Bird food on sale in shop.
Nature centre

We went in August, the weather wasn't particular good which probably meant some birds were skulking away, however the highlight came within five minutes of starting our walk, as we stopped on Barton lane overlooking the Tween pond a kingfisher flew past us, closely followed by a hair stirring common tern overhead!  Lots of tufties, mallard, coot, grebe, mute swan on lakes, geese and herons on the river, mixed tit flocks, sparrows, blackbirds and thrushes in the undergrowth, sedge warblers in the reeds. Common terns and black headed gulls were on posts on the Coneries pond. Lots of Lapwings on the works pond, buzzard and kestrel over the Erewash fields (llamas minding a sheep flock here!)  
Works pond

Butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies were noticeable along the river path vegetation, along with a couple of little voles scurrying across.
Quite at few welcome information boards insitu 

On the south west edge of the Nottingham, the Attenborough Nature Reserve is a mostly quiet haven. Managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, the 360 acres of lakes, wetland, grassland, woodland and scrub, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) it’s squeezed between the railway and the River Trent. The extraction of river gravel created the lakes. The reserve lies around these flooded gravel pits and the created habitat attracts wildlife, especially the birds for which it is best known. There are large lakes formed by the flooded pits, known as Church Pond, Clifton Pond, Coneries pond, Main Pond, Tween Pond and Beeston Pond, plus drier areas of scrub and grassland such as Corbetts Meadow and Erewash field
Main pond
Coneries pond

The spire of St Mary’s church in the centre of Attenborough village and is visible from most points across the reserve, and it is the village that gives the Nature Reserve its name. Sir David Attenborough, who opened the reserve in 1966.
The reserve is an important over wintering site for wildfowl i.e. shoveler, goldeneye, goosander, wigeon and large numbers of mallard and teal.  For several years several Bittern, have spent the winter in the reserve. In the summer, the breeding birds include great crested grebe, shelduck, little ringed plover and common tern, for which tern breeding platforms are provided. Reed and sedge warblers in the reed beds.

The reserve was busy with families and its criss-cross reserve paths are used by bike riders. The paths provide a range of views; are surfaced and are mainly flat so give easy access for those in wheelchairs and other disabled users. There was one point on the walk where a kissing gate may be considered narrow, path alongside the railway leading from Erewash field to nature centre.

River Trent

The riverside path forms part of the Trent Valley Way, a long distance footpath that follows the River Trent, on the opposite side there is some farmland proved to be popular with canadian and greylag geese . From here I could hear skylark and yellow hammer.

Tower hide

Clifton Pond from Tower hide

Tween Pond for Tower hide

The reserve has three hides,  one of the best being a tower hide giving view over the Tween and Clifton ponds (sorry no disabled access) On the day we went I met a lady who told she’d seen a Bittern 3 times during the winter months from the hide- in the Clifton pond. You will need to get the access code from the centre for the Delta hide. There are also viewing screens along the paths.

The reserves Nature Centre has a small shop and is the base for The Wildlife Trust’s educational activities. Depending on the time of year there are screens showing what is happening in nest boxes and elsewhere on the reserve. At the back of the centre a doorway leads to a seated bird feeding area and access to the new sand martin nest/bank hide.
Sandmartin Bank

The Nature Centre café does meals; soups, sandwiches cakes recommended after a mornings exploration of the reserve, we sat on the balcony and had cake and coffee, well you have to…

On A6005, seven miles south west of Nottingham on the River Trent.
Google Maps.
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