The Old Brickworks Nature Reserve is a small but valuable green oasis. The reserve supports a variety of important habitats including woodland, wetland and grassland areas in the middle of an urban environment. The site is owned by The Land Trust and managed on their behalf by Cannock Chase Council.
The site contains many pools providing habitat for great crested newts and other amphibians. The scatter of small ponds across the site also provides a good habitat for dragonflies. The fauna includes blue tailed damselfly, emerald damselfly, common blue damselfly, large red damselfly, southern hawker, brown hawker, common darter, ruby darter, and broad bodied chaser.
The wildflower mix on the site provides nectar and pollen for a wide range of bees, butterflies and other insects. There are many different species of butterfly you may see on the site including the dingy skipper, small heath and common blue.
The plantation woodlands are now becoming established and provide nesting places for woodland birds. Characteristic breeding species include blackbird, song thrush, jay, robin, common whitethroat, blackcap, and wood pigeon. In some years bullfinch also nests on the site. In winter small flocks of redpoll, siskin and goldfinch are attracted to the alder cones.
The larger ponds support nesting mallard, canada goose, and moorhen, whilst surrounding reedbeds provide a suitable habitat for reed warbler and the occasional reed bunting. Less common species such as kingfisher and common tern are occasionally recorded, but these do not breed on the site.
The site is split into two halves by Keys park road. Access from Keys Park Road is through one of the several kissing gates which are RADAR key compatible for wheelchair users. On the site are a number of surfaced paths which lead users on a range of short circular walks. There is very limited parking around the site with room for three cars on a lay-by on the Keys Park Road being one of the better spots to park.
The site is managed by Cannock Chase Council on behalf of the Land Trust. The main aim is to increase the population of great crested newts breeding on site which crashed quite dramatically following the 1990’s development. This is being achieved by monitoring and surveying the population, fencing the breeding pools and maintaining or creating new suitable breeding pools.
The plantation woodlands are managed on a short rotational coppice to provide good nesting cover for birds.
Areas of rank grassland are scraped and seeded with birds foot trefoil to provide basking and breeding areas for butterflies.
The Brickworks on this site was established in the early 1930’s on the colliery tip near Old Hednesford colliery.
By the end of the 1970’s the brickworks ceased production and the site began to be reclaimed by nature. The many small pools and grassland provided ideal habitat for the great crested newt and other amphibians.
The site remained derelict (brownfield land) until the mid 1990’s when it became redeveloped for housing and light industry / warehousing.
The nature reserve was created as part of the development of the site. During the redevelopment of the area the amphibians were caught and held until the building had finished and then they were released back onto the site. To provide suitable habitat for great crested newts and other amphibians the site was seeded with a wildflower grassland mix.
How to get there
The site is 1.5km from Hednesford town centre and adjacent to Hednesford Town Football Club. The site is situated off Keys Park Road, Hednesford, Cannock.
Last Updated: 18/01/2016