Swains Lane Local Nature Reserve

The Swains Lane Local Nature Reserve is made up of two small fields bounded by banked elm hedgerows and surrounded by housing. Both fields used to be orchards. The southern field still contains several old apple trees whilst new cider apple standards have been planted in the northern field. The grassland is semi-improved and contains the occasional cuckoo flower, meadowsweet, and doves foot cranes bill.

The southern field has a pond, which is home to an important population of amphibians including great crested newt, palmate newt and toad. The pond is heavily vegetated with flote grass and water-pepper, while water crowfoot, fan-leaved water crowfoot and brooklime are also present.

In winter a large proportion of the lower corner of the field floods, creating an ideal habitat to which the amphibians can return in spring.

Reptiles such as slow worms, which are actually legless lizards, also occur on site.

Smaller birds, including song thrush, dunnock and robin, nest in the hedges and a wryneck has been seen in the orchard trees on passage. A sparrow hawk sometimes visits the reserve in search of prey. The remains of a small barn stands adjacent to the entrance and it is hoped that the roof and cladding of the building may be used by roosting bats such as common pipistrelle or soprano pipistrelle. Bats vary their roost sites throughout the year, and species such as pipistrelle favour warm roof eaves in summer to give birth to their young. A boardwalk has been constructed to improve access and a circular pathway is cut through the grassland during the summer. Ideally, the grassland should be lightly grazed or cut for hay in late July. We manage the reserve along with local volunteers.

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Please note: We have used the nearest post code to locate this reserve, it may not pinpoint the site accurately.

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