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Christian Fields Local Nature Reserve

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
Published October 12th 2015
Explore The Site Where Roman Massacre May Have Taken Place
I was almost as intrigued about the name of this nature reserve on the outskirts of Lichfield than I was about seeing what it had to offer.

And while this 60,000 square metre site is clearly popular with dog walkers and nature lovers, the history of Christian Fields turns out to be both long and colourful - and indelibly linked to the history of Lichfield.

Christian Fields Local Nature Reserve, Lichfield
The curiously named Christian Fields Local Nature Reserve in Lichfield

According to legend, Christian Fields was the site of a massacre of St Amphibaus and his 999 Christian followers.

The followers were said to have been led into battle by three kings to fight the Romans between 284 and 305AD. The Christians were defeated, became martyrs, and part of local folklore.

Christian Fields Local Nature Reserve
Get the layout of Christian Fields

The story is thought to have been a medieval fabrication, which was not taken seriously at the time and was largely forgotten by the 1500s.

But in 1548, during the Reformation, Lichfield achieved self-government and, in what is thought to have been an attempt to break with the Catholic figure of St Chad, the new civic body chose to base its seal on the story of the Christian martyrs.

Christian Fields Local Nature Reserve
One of the main meadows at the nature reserve

In the 17th century the antiquarian Robert Plot took up the story of the battle and made a link between the burial place of the martyrs and fields between Elmhurst and Lichfield.

The fields have been known as Christian Fields ever since, even though Plot's claim has never been substantiated and no archaeological evidence has ever been found to support it.

Christian Fields Local Nature Reserve
A bit of climbing is involved

In more recent times, Christian Fields was used as a landfill site until it was capped and restored during the late 1980s.

Following this the site was transferred to Lichfield District Council and Lichfield City Council and became a public open space.

Christian Fields Local Nature Reserve
Follow the main path through the woodland to the large meadows

In 2007, after strong support from local people, Lichfield District Council began work to make Christian Fields the district's first Local Nature Reserve.

Local groups and the community cleared litter, removed scrub, created hedges and paths before officially becoming a Local Nature Reserve in October 2010.

Christian Fields Local Nature Reserve
A close-up of one of the specially sculpted direction markers

It was created as a green oasis to allow wildlife to thrive and people to relax, centred around woodland areas and wildflower meadows, although these were not at their vibrant best when I visited in October.

Also added were footpaths, an outdoor classroom, a pond, dipping platform and boardwalk, picnic benches, bird boxes, and interesting direction markers made from tree trunks as part of the ongoing project.
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Why? A Hidden Gem Of Nature With A Fascinating Past
When: All year
Phone: 01543 308867
Where: Christian Fields Local Nature Reserve, Eastern Avenue, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13 7JU
Cost: Free
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