Nature’s coming home
Wednesday 31 May 2023
This week we take a peek into the history and wildlife of Dothill Local Nature Reserve…
When it comes to freshwater sources, Dothill Local Nature Reserve has more types than most. It has lakes, streams, ponds, pools, wetland, remnants of a moat and part of an old tub boat canal. All this is good news for its diversity as so many birds and mammals like a bit of water and amphibians depend on it.
Our local area has a proud history, having played a pioneering part in the industrial revolution owing to reserves of coal and iron. Among the legacies left behind is the amount of iron ore in some of our waterways but this is being reduced by slowing the flow and adding reeds for filtration.
Owned, managed and protected by Telford & Wrekin Council, with support from contractor idverde, working in partnership with the RSPB and the hard work of the Friends of Dothill volunteer group, Dothill Local Nature Reserve has benefitted from a more nature-focussed way of treating its various water features. This has led to the creation of a tranquil reserve that has become home to an exciting array of creatures and plants.
There are three main areas of the 140-acre reserve – Dothill Pool, Tee Lake and Beanhill Valley. They can be enjoyed by taking various routes including the 50-tree trail and the Three Bridge way. A focal point and central place to meet is provided by the Henge, a circle of columns made from recycled material.
The moat that once surrounded a medieval manor on the site was integrated into ornamental gardens in the 18th century looking out on a deer park. Another grand house nearby, Admaston Spa, had a fishpond and land between the two houses was farmed for centuries.
To help the frogs, toads and newts of Dothill, hibernacula (underground chambers for amphibians and reptiles) have been constructed from branches, rubble and soil mounds which provide winter refuges for them. Telford & Wrekin Council also invested in desilting both Tee Lake and Dothill pools early in 2023, to help ensure the continuation of healthy aquatic habitats.
Winter is a good time to see visiting waterfowl, while spring brings vibrant colours with native bluebells, summer sets off the lake with brilliant green leaves and in autumn you can admire spectacular fungi on the mature trees.
Amphibians are not the only creatures given a helping hand. There are nest boxes for owls, kingfishers and falcons. The reserve has recorded 100 different species of bird, almost a quarter of which are on the RSPB ‘red’ list because of their declining numbers, such as the curlew, linnet and yellowhammer. Among the 20 species of mammal on the reserve are six types of bats so there are boxes provided for them too. Nor are the insects forgotten with bug hotels in the meadows.
With all the water around it is not surprising that dragonflies love it here as do butterflies, moths and other insects attracted to the grasslands with their wildflowers including a growing number of orchids.
An important project for the ‘Friends’ group has been the creation of a tree nursery with more than 600 saplings. These will be used to replace the ash trees that succumb to disease. Planting was done with the help of children from Dothill Junior School who have formed a junior Friends group giving the next generation an active interest in caring for this important home for nature.
And thanks to recent Pride in Our Green Spaces investment by Telford & Wrekin Council, Dothill Local Nature Reserve is now more accessible to visitors, with improved footpaths and replaced benches, so why not head over to see what nature you can spot!
You can find details of all 23 of Telford and Wrekin’s Local Nature Reserves including Dothill here: https://www.telford.gov.uk/info/20629/local_nature_reserves
Next time we’ll be visiting Granville Country Park Local Nature Reserve to find out all about the wildlife there.
Our thanks to idverde, RSPB and Friends of Dothill for their contribution to this My Wild Telford focus on Dothill Local Nature Reserve.
Photos taken by Louis Shaw, Sophie Shenton, Kim Tonks and Stephen Handley, submitted to our My Walk Today photo competition in 2021.
Louis (under 16s category) said about Dothill Nature Reserve: “What I love about this green space is the way we can all share nature. It doesn’t differentiate between colour, sex, religion or anything else. It’s just beautiful.”