Ufton Fields Nature Reserve
How to get there: Ufton Fields Nature Reserve, Ufton, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
What to shoot: Birds, Flora & Fauna
Best time of day: Anytime, Seek expert advise for Birding
Post Code: CV33 9PU
Facilitys:None. Nearest toilet White Hart Inn in Ufton
Ufton is a little known nature park just outside Leamington Spa. The site itself was once used for white lias limestone excavation; this left the landscape littered in ridges of waste rock and clay with deep furrows between them. Over the years as the site lay dormant the furrows filled with water and created the 11 pools that you can see today. The ridges were slowly reclaimed by nature and now have a dense covering of grass, wild flowers, scrub, and trees. Most of the plant and tree life has generated without too much intervention. But the site was given a huge boost in the 1960’s with the planting of Pine, Alder, and Poplars. With the Oak, and Willow, colonising naturally. The site was declared a site of interest, and was gifted to Warwickshire County Council in 1972 by Associated Portland Cement. The 78 acre site is now looked after in collaboration with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.The site itself has a circular footpath that runs approximately 1 and a quarter miles, and dependant on your pace takes anything from 30 minutes to one hour, But I can almost guarantee once you have stopped to look at the fauna and flora, took some pictures and explored the area, you will find yourself there more likely 2 ½ hours. The path is easy walking, but does get a little thin in places with scrub growing in over pathways. So if you’re taking a wheelchair or a buggy you should be aware some areas will get a little awkward, but it’s well worth your trouble.The site has a huge array of flowers that include 5 species of Orchids, one of which being the Bee Orchid. And other wild flowers such as Yellow Wort, Salad burnet, and the Birds Foot trefoil.The site also offers great habitat for bird life and this ranges from Moore Hen to Water Rail, and Siskin to Green Woodpecker. On the day of my visit almost immediately we spotted no less than 3 Common Buzzard, circling above us.There is a small car park to the site with an information board, the paths are clearly marked and the site contains two hides for public use, there is random seating around the path but they are few and far between, so would advise making full use of them when you see them.The pools themselves are inhabited by a huge array of Damsel and Dragon fly, as well as Newts, Frogs, and Toads. And of course the bird life that is connected with the site such as Coot, Moorhen and Water rail. I am told there is also a varied fish population and fishing is allowed, but by permit only. The waters are clean from rubbish and well maintained.There has been no less than 26 species of butterfly identified in the park, which include the more common such as Skipper, Common Blue and Red Admiral but also less common species such as the Marbled White among others.I did have reservations about visiting with site not being as well known and limited in size. But from the moment I arrived and caught site of Alder Pool glistening like a highly polished emerald, I knew I had stumbled upon a hidden gem.This site has everything in a condensed area, from woodland, scrubland, and grasslands to the varied wildlife and beautiful pools. It has something for everyone. And it cost nothing but your time.
Contributed By ©Karl Redshaw