Park Hall Nature Reserve. Photo credit: Neil Wyatt
Park Hall is a large area of remnant farmland and estate grounds on the eastern edge of Birmingham, lying in the valley of the River Tame between Castle Vale and Castle Bromwich. The scarp slope along the south of the reserve has three ancient woodlands, while the grassland below contains various wetland habitats which follow the old line of the River Tame. The reserve also includes about a mile of the River Tame itself.
During spring the woodlands boast impressive displays of bluebell, ramsons, wood anemone, yellow archangel and numerous other woodland flowers, including the scarce broad-leaved helleborine. In the pools and former farm ponds many amphibians including great crested-newt, common toad and common frog breed. As the seasons move along the grasslands and wetlands come into their own, with colourful floral displays of stitchworts, buttercups and meadowsweet, while the air is filled with butterflies and dragonflies.
Summer breeding birds include reed bunting, kingfisher, teal, mute swan and buzzard, while in the evenings bats forage on moths and other insects. Increasingly the wetlands are being visited by wading birds such as lapwing and snipe, and herons regularly fish in the pools. The woodlands take on a different character in autumn, with many colourful fungi taking the place of the flowers.
Here's an interesting link to a contractor's case study of some wetland habitat improvement work they carried out on our behalf at Park Hall.
Park Hall is currently under threat as a mile of the proposed route of HS2 goes through the reserve – which will cut the site in two. You can find out more about the impact of HS2 in Birmingham here.
Visiting the Reserve
Please note that we are currently improving access to the reserve and at present access is by prior arrangement only. Please visit www.bbcwildlife.org.uk/whats-on for details of guided walks and volunteer activities at Park Hall, or contact Chris Wishart (see below) to arrange a visit.
Grid Reference: SP155908, Post Code: B36 9TX (nearest)
Chris Wishart, Reserves Officer, email email@example.com, tel 0121 454 1199