Enjoy / The Great Outdoors / Malvern
St. Wulstan's Local Nature Reserve
Located near to the Malvern Hills this 22 hectare Nature Reserve encompasses woodlands, wildflower meadows and scrub.
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During the latter part of World War II the war department requisitioned the land at St. Wulstan's and a hospital was built to cope with the large number of American casualties expected from the D-Day landings. Prior to this the site was farmland accounting for the large oak pollards around the site indicating the line of former field boundaries. After the war it was used as a British army training site, a TB hospital and was then finally converted into a psychiatric hospital. Once the hospital was closed and eventually demolished in 1994 planning permission was given for housing on part of the site and as part of the permission St. Wulstan's Local Nature Reserve was born. The Reserve now owned by Worcestershire County Council, officially opened in 1997.The history of the site helps to give it a unique character, with a mix of exotic and native tree species and shrubs. There are large areas of wildflower meadow and young native woodland, interspersed with areas of mature woodland and scrub. Some of the 'scrub' is of native species but you will also find cultivated species running wild such as philadelphus, cotoneaster, laburnum, forsythia and viburnum to name but a few. There are some interesting specimen trees, ranging from old oak pollards to stately cedars, and a few surprising survivors from the hospital gardens, including a number of rose bushes flowering away quite happily. Woodland on the edge of the site is characterised by American Red Oak, possibly a legacy of the American patients who spent time there.There are several circular paths that lead you around the site, with plenty of benches to relax on and enjoy the surroundings. The main paths take you from the car park, across the hay meadow and wildflower meadows and then through the various areas of woodland before leading back to the car park.The Reserve is an ideal place to experience an abundance of wildlife. It supports a huge range of birds, including the Green Woodpecker, announcing its presence by its loud call and distinctive spring drumming' display, clinging to tree trunks and branches, often trying to hide away from anyone watching! Small warblers can be heard like the Chiffchaff, distinguished by its song from where it gets its name and the Blackcap, its delightful fluting song earning it the name northern nightingale'. A variety of finches can also be found at the site such as the Greenfinch, a truly colourful character with a twittering and wheezing song and the loud and varied calls of the Chaffinch, the most colourful of the UK's finches.If you are very lucky you might just spot one of the birds of prey that frequent the site such as Kestrels, hovering in the sky looking for prey, Buzzards with their unmistakable mewing sound and slow, gliding flight and Tawny Owls, sometimes seen and heard in and around trees just before and after dusk.The site is also great for butterflies in summer, attracting clouds of Marbled Whites in the wildflower meadows. Other frequent butterfly visitors include Commas, Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals, Common Blues, Small Skippers, Speckled Woods, Brimstones, Orange Tips and Meadow Browns. The yellow chrysalises of the 6-spot Burnet Moth can sometimes be spotted usually near the top of long grasses or flower stems.Slowworms and grass snakes are amongst the other residents on the site and there is also a small but stable glow-worm population. Their glow' can sometimes be seen during late summer nights.Volunteers have had a big role to play in the Reserve since it first opened with an enthusiastic group of local people taking 'ownership' of the site and assisting first Malvern Hills and now the Countryside Service in managing it. They have been running regular work parties as well as working as individuals down on the Reserve.St. Wulstan's Local Nature Reserve is a thriving site for both wildlife and visitors, providing a stunning countryside experience for everyone.
Address8 St Wulstans Dr
WR14 4JA Get directions
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