(This page was last updated on Monday 13th November 2017 03:00pm)
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A Special Place

LakeThe reserve contains a number of wildlife habitats that have evolved partly through natural progression but also by careful management - assisted by local conservationists.

The acquisition and management of the Nature Reserve aims to broaden an appreciation of the environment in general and this unique site, with its remarkable examples of unusual plants, insects and birds.

Don’t just walk through the reserve - take your time and try to spot some of the more unusual creatures and plants. The reserve is home to sand martins, a number of rare orchids, great crested newts and a host of interesting insects. If you visit the South Hide you will find additional information and have a chance to study (in relative comfort) the many water birds that use the lake.

Visiting the Nature Reserve

Nature Reserves are important places for wildlife and welcomes responsible access. Please....

    • leave footprints, not rubbish

    • take photographs, not plant life

    • keep your dog on a lead

    • respect the hides so that others may enjoy them

    • leave cycles at the gates

    • leave the water for the ducks

Detailed Map of Reserve

lsmap

How to find us

The reserve is located just to the north of Beckford, sandwiched between Court Farm Lane and the Ashton Road - both with access to the reserve. Beckford itself is situated on the A46 between the M5 motorway (exit 9) and Evesham, about 5 miles from the motorway.

Enter Beckford via either Station Road (by The Beckford Inn) or Back Lane.

The reserve is open all year with free entrance. Access is via two main gates - one from Court Farm Lane and disabled access via the special gate from the Ashton Road.

Adjacent to the disabled entrance there is a small pull-in that is suitable for one or two cars. However, if you wish to visit the reserve by car we would recommend that you park in Beckford Village and walk the 1/4 mile along Court Farm Lane.

If you wish to use the South Hide, you may obtain the combination from any of the Trustees or at the Village Stores.

Seasonal Highlights

spring

    • See primroses, violets and bluebells on the woodland floor

    • Watch moorhens and coots nest building

    • The small island is home to the larger water birds’ nests

    • Look out for nesting birds all over the reserve

    • See if you can spot the greylag geese

summer

    • Dragon flies are common throughout the reserve

    • How many different waterfowl chicks can you spot?

    • The great crested newt was spotted in July 2008

    • Watch the sand martins feeding their young at the old quarry face

    • Orchids grow all around the lake

autumn

    • Autumn leaves and berries add a splash of colour

    • Look out for some unusual fungi around the reserve

    • You may spot some rare waterfowl on their annual migration south

    • Watch the huge flocks of canada geese land and take off from the lake

winter

    • Look out for the mallards, tealsb and wigeons from the hides
    • Many water birds spend the winter on the sheltered lake
    • Come early for the frosty scenes
    • The woodland areas have been left to the native birds and animals.

Purchase by the Village

quarry The current site of the Beckford Nature Reserve was once the site of the playing fields for the nearby Salesian Monastery School. After the school finally closed in the 1970s and shortly afterwards the playing fields passed into the hands of Huntsmans Quarries Ltd, who started extracting gravel in 1981. Huntsmans extracted gravel almost 8 years during which time an interesting geological structure was uncovered that resulted in a section of the quarry being classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (an SSSI). After quarrying was complete Huntsmans spent 2 years restoring the site as a conservation area and allowed the site to fill with water, creating a sizable lake with a small island.

A team of local volunteers worked with Huntsman’s to manage the site as a conservation area. In 2005 Huntsman’s decided to sell the site on the condition that it remained a conservation area. Eager to make sure that the site was not sold to a buyer who would prohibit access by the people of Beckford, the Beckford Community Council launched a campaign to buy the site for the village. Huntsman’s were very supportive in this venture. In order for the villagers to purchase the site, a limited company with charitable status was formed (Beckford Nature Reserve) and a massive effort to raise the necessary £60,000.

A programme of fund raising and grant applications resulted in over £43,000 being secured in grants and £17,000 being raised by donations from the people of Beckford and series of local events, some of which have become regular features of life in Beckford. £20,000 was donated by ‘Welcome to our Future’ a charity set up by Severn Waste Management, while Wychavon Council donated a generous £10,000.  Other charities and trust were approached to raise the remaining money.

Beckford Nature Reserve completed the purchase on March 3rd 2008 and planned an evening of celebration and official handing over of the keys to the site on April 9th 2008.

Following the successful purchase of the site many local experts in environmental management from local voluntary organisations will be helping Beckford generate a detailed 5-10 year plan for the management of the site.

The people of Beckford and the local schools are now looking forward to many years of enjoyment from their very own Nature Reserve.

We Need Your Help

As a charity, Beckford Nature Reserve Limited depends on the goodwill and financial support of people like you - and the people of Beckford. If you would like to help us, you can either offer your services at one of the frequent working parties, or you can donate to the funds of the Reserve by...

    • Leaving a donation in the special box attached to the South Hide

    • Purchasing a 200Club ticket - and possibly win one of the monthly prizes

    • Buying a calendar or greeting card, from the Village Stores or on-line from this website

    • Leaving a donation by going to the on-line shop and choosing 'Donations'

Historical Information

quarryingPlanning permission to extract the sand at what is now the Beckford Nature Reserve was granted to Huntsmans in 1980. The site extended to approximately 3.2ha and began working on 20 February 1981 and working ceased on extraction of workable reserves on 31 December 1987. The sand was extracted using a rope dragline loading into dumptrucks that hauled the material for processing at the adjacent plant located where the current silk mill is. The sand was extracted down to the underlying clay in 7 phases working principally from east to west. Dewatering the site to maintain accessibility.Progressive restoration began soon after commencement in 1982. At each phase soil was stripped in dry weather conditions and top soil and subsoil were stored separately and utilised in the appropriate phase of restoration. Surplus soil was utilised for restoration of the adjacent plant site and silt lagoon areas. At the completion of Phase 2 the western boundary was landscaped and planted with trees. Restoration then progressed in an easterly direction. After completion of restoration of phase
3 a temporary bund was constructed and water allowed to flood phases 2 and 3. The restoration was completed in 1989.

presentationFollowing restoration the site was allowed to mature for 3 years and following this Beckford Parish Council and Huntsmans Quarries entered into an informal joint management arrangement that allowed the site to be enjoyed by the residents of Beckford.
The culmination of the arrangement has been the purchase of the site by Beckford Nature Reserve Ltd a registered charity formed by local residents that has taken on the management and security of the site to be held in perpetuity for the residents of Beckford.
Huntsmans Quarries Ltd won a coveted restoration award from the Quarry Products Association in 2002.

 

Huntsmans Chairman, John Milner accepting the award from BBC News anchorman George Alagiah