The Wildlife of Wye Valley
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- The Wildlife of Wye Valley
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The Wildlife at Wye Valley
Wye Valley is a fantastic haven for wildlife thanks to it's varied habitats and unspoiled landscape. There is an abundance of nature reserves and protected sites throughout the area, home to many of our native species. There are additionally three designated Special Areas of Conservation and 45 Sites of Specific Scientific Interest. Unfornately, not all of them are available to the public, as wildlife generally thrives on reducing human impact.
The entirety of the River Wye is the first of three Special Areas of Conservation. It's one of the most natural rivers in England, with less pollution in the waters and flowing through many rural areas. It's home to hundreds of species of fish, amphibians and invertebrates throughout the length of the river. This includes some of the UK's rarest species such as the Twaite Shad, a species which is found in only 4 rivers in the country. They usually live out in the sea and spends only 6 weeks in the river to spawn.
Many species of birds and mammals also depend on the river for nesting ground and a reliable food source. Along the banks you can spot the distinctive flash of a kingfisher, dippers, polecats and several of our UK bat species.
Lippets Grove Nature Reserve
One of the many nature reserves managed by the Wildlife Trust, the ancient woodlands of Lippets Grove are only a short walk away from Riverside Cottage. The woodland habitat is one of the best places in the country to spot the martagon lily, a naturalised plant which is not commonly spotted. The best time to visit is definitely around May, when the forest floor is covered by a blanket of bluebells. Lippet's grove is home to many woodland birds. It's a tranquil location to relax your mind, occasionally you can spot a buzzard mewing overhead.
Lancaut Nature Reserve
A little further down the river is Lancaut Nature Reserve which lies in one of the most important woodland areas in Britain. Its dramatic cliffs are home to cliff-nesting birds of prey such as ravens and peregrine falcons. The river and its rich surrounding woodland is a favourite hunting ground for cormorants, herons and kestrels. On the spring tide, seals are known to swim up river and say hello. The native woodland is home to a diverse range of trees such as oak, yew and wild cherry.
Miller’s Dale Quarry
Before it was designated as an SSSI, Miller's Dale was a bustling limestone quarry which eventually became disused. Nature decided to take over and completely transformed the site. Now it's home many species of unusual flower, notably wildflowers which grow in the poor soil to avoid competition with other flowers. You can find various species of orchids on the reserve, emitting a sweet scent on a warm summer's day. Interestingly, the hierarchy of flora dramatically changes on the side of the quarry which has not been affected by the lime industry.
With such a large variety of wildflowers, it's unsurprising to learn that insects thrive on this reserve. You can spot several species of butterflies and moths dancng in the air on a lazy afternoon. The crevices on the quarry face is home to breeding pairs of jackdaws and kestrels.