Reserves, Nature


Nature reserves are areas of land specifically set aside for the protection of indigenous flora and fauna, and typically consist of meadows, woodland, lakes, ponds or rivers, an informal BMX track and a partly burned mattress surrounded by empty beer cans.

Urban nature reserves can be found in the most unlikely of places – such as the shunting yards of Exeter railway station and the second floor of Bedzz-R-Us in Shrewsbury – and these provide invaluable oases of peace and tranquillity in an otherwise hectic environment.

Many species of birds, animals and insects are found exclusively in nature reserves, among the rarest being the Rothman’s warbler, known for its coughing mating call, the Yorkshire vole, which nests in discarded Pontefract cakes and the Morecambe mayfly, which, as its name suggests, is a flightless insect normally appearing in September and October throughout the Polden Hills.

Numerous rare plants are also found in nature reserves, including the early spider orchid, the two-toed lily and the obesely fat-hen, which is traditionally made into a bridal bouquet in Essex.