The Children’s Wood Project was launched during National Environment Week in 1992. The project aimed to create areas of woodland by planting a tree for every baby born in Taunton Deane area. Since 1992 around 3000 trees have been planted on the reserve. Hankridge Riverside was designed, in association with the Hankridge Retail Development, to help alleviate flooding in Taunton and to provide a new recreational area as well as important habitats for plants and animals. Both sites are managed by the Borough Council and were declared a Local Nature Reserve in May 2003.
Children’s Wood mainly consists of the grassy banks of the River Tone formed in the 1960s as part of flood alleviation work. Now there are woodland blocks and standard trees, including a small orchard at Obridge.
The River Tone corridor is a very important habitat and movement corridor for a host of species of fauna with otter, and a number of bats including both pipistrelle species, lesser horseshoe and Daubenton’s. A large number of birds occur including kingfisher, dipper, grey wagtail, mute swan, grey heron and reed warbler. A small colony of sand martins nest close to the site, The reserve supports a diverse invertebrate population with butterflies including small skipper, large Skipper, marbled white, common blue, small heath, small copper, poplar hawkmoth and cream-spot tiger moth. Southern hawker dragonfly, white-legged damselfly and beautiful demoiselle have also been recorded.
The river holds a healthy and varied fish stock including brown trout, salmon, grayling and stone loach and because the Tone corridor is one of the most important wildlife habitats in Taunton Deane it is recognised as a Local Wildlife Site.
The adjoining site, Hankridge Riverside has a lake and the habitat that is associated with it. This lake is also an important habitat for wildlife such as otter and bats. It is home to many species of bird, including kingfisher, mute swan, grey heron and reed warbler. Great crested grebes have also bred here.
Please note: We have used the nearest post code to locate this reserve, it may not pinpoint the site accurately.