Last Updated on Friday, 18 November 2011 14:10 Tuesday, 15 November 2011 15:44
Visit or help out at newly reopened nature reserve Moseley Bog and Joy's Wood
This Wildlife Trust local nature reserve acts as a small slice of nature about 3 miles south of Birmingham city centre. The reserve includes old damp woodland and bog on the site of a former mill pond, and woodland and grassland created in the 1980s.
The Cole Bath Brook historically flowed through the reserve on its way to top up Sarehole mill's millpond. Orignally the bog acted as a reservoir to restrict the water flow to the millpond, but even after it was drained in around 1850, it remained damp leaving the bog as it is now.
The area supports a huge range of animals, insects and plants, in particular the lichens and mosses that thrive in the wetland environment. Surrounding the bog itself are many knarled old trees that give the reserve a unique character; also worth seeing are the bluebells that pop up each spring.
Moseley bog was the childhood playground of the Lord of the Rings author, JRR Tolkien who lived nearby. He stated himself that this area inspired the 'old forest' of his books so there are people who come from all over the world to see his inspiration for themselves. Tolkien told the guardian newspaper later in his life of how it was in his childhood: “It was a kind of lost paradise, there was an old mill that really did grind corn with two millers, a great big pond with swans on it, a sandpit, a wonderful dell with flowers, a few old-fashioned village houses and, further away, a stream with another mill.”
The site also has great archaeological interest with two burnt mounds dating back to the Bronze age containing heat-shattered stones, as well as more recent remains such as the old mill dam and the foundations of Victorian greenhouses.
All images by kcshearon
It was not an easy task to get the reserve the status it has now. At one point the bog had become so abandoned after years of too little investment that it was destined to be used as a landfill site, but a huge number of people joined the 'Save our Bog' campaign in the 1980s and thankfully got it saved. In 2010 a £375,000 grant from the national lottery heritage fund provided the needed input to help protect the site's wildlife as well as to make improvements and restoration to the area while preserving the natural character of the reserve. Thanks to all this the reserve was officially reopened in June 2011 and both the Bog and Sarehole Mill are now available for all to enjoy free of charge.
For the past few years a number of improvements have been made but this was only possible through the help of the Moseley Bog Volunteers. You too can get involved to help improve this local nature reserve for everyone. Volunteer conservation work days are posted on the national trust website here.
One of the key aims is to improve access to the site so that people of all ages and ability can visit. This work is progressing well with a new all access boardwalk installed and a considerable number of the paths improved for winter access. Other plans include the provision of learning materials to develop the reserve as an educational centre. This will include a website, a self-guided mp3 tour, and an outreach programme for schools and community groups. They also plan to install a feature entrance, signage and improvements to the car park.
Hopefully in a few years this natural space will become once again the lost paradise it should be, but for all to enjoy.
Open at all times
Yardley Wood Road