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Published July 25th 2020
The clues are on the mural as visitors enjoy scenic lakes
It is often said that art imitates life. And that is certainly something I discovered when I visited the large and sprawling Kettle Brook Local Nature Reserve at Tamworth in Staffordshire, The picturesque wildlife site, which takes its name from the brook that runs alongside its entire length, is long and narrow in shape. With the man-made A5 bypass also running alongside the edge of the site, Kettle Brook nature reserve stretches from the Glascote Locks Wharf in the north to the M42 motorway in the south. Similarly, the brook which gives this delightful green space its name, eventually flows into Borrowpit Lake in the centre of Tamworth town. The nature reserve is divided into three distinct sections covering the northern, central and southern areas of the site. Public car parks serve two of the sections, at Birds Bush Road in the middle of the site, and Watling Street in the south.
A mural depicting what visitors might see at the nature reserve
With the middle part of the nature reserve incorporating the larger of the five lakes to be found in Kettle Brook, it was a no-brainer for me to head there. And it was clear I was in the right place as soon as I turned into the almost completely empty car park when a splendid mural comprising several species of bird was immediately evident on the side of a building alongside a children's play area. The art display, I discovered later, was the result of a youth project in around 2004 involving youngsters from Tamworth. And it turned out to be quite prophetic as I enjoyed an extended observation of a grey heron sat at the edge of the lake, mirrored by the one at the start of the large mural.
Kettle Brook was only designated as a local nature reserve in July 2004, although it has clearly been there for a whole lot longer. In fact, much of the now mature woodland dotted around the reserve was planted in the 1970s and 80s. In addition, the site also features hedgerows and wildflower meadows which have been planted up by local schoolchildren. But the main attraction of the reserve to visitors is undoubtedly the series of lakes which attract an abundance of wild birds, with a range of species including swans, geese, moorhens, ducks and coots and, of course, the distinctive-looking herons. In fact, some of the lakes were apparently constructed to take water run-off from the adjacent A5. The lakes also include a number of small islands to provide a safe nesting area for wading birds.
Plenty of bird species to see at Kettle Brook nature reserve
Kettle Brook Nature Reserve is owned by the local Tamworth Borough Council and managed in partnership with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, which looks after more than 2,000 acres of land within the county.