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Published July 21st 2020
Small is beautiful as nature site belies its size
Despite its small size it certainly packs a pretty big punch. In fact, if you didn't live in a particular cul-de-sac in the Staffordshire town of Tamworth you might not realise it even exists. Town Wall Local Nature Reserve, which is accessed at the end of Sycamore in Tamworth, is a very small site at just one hectare, or nearly two and a half acres, in size. But it has proven to be a vital green resource for local people, not just recently, but over the centuries. In fact, Town Wall nature reserve can trace its history back to the 13th century when the site was common land where local people could exercise their rights to collect firewood and graze and livestock they may have. Over the centuries, the use of the land changed and grazing of animals ended.
In more recent times, the Town Wall site was used as a dumping ground for waste material from a local pottery both during and after the 1950s, remnants of which are still said to be visible on the ground. Throughout this period, a variety of wildflowers began to appear on the meadow area, while birds and other wildlife creatures started appearing in hedgerows, wooded areas and ditches. Today, the nature reserve is managed by a group of dedicated volunteers known as the Town Wall Conservation Group who have been developing the site for the last 12 years. The group is comprised of local residents who meet monthly to carry out maintenance. It is also one of the sites supported through the Wild About Tamworth project, a partnership between Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.
On my visit to Town Wall nature reserve, there was very little activity, but it is easy to see that the adjacent playing field would normally be busy with children kicking a football around. Both the field and the neighbouring reserve are regarded as a vital wildlife haven in the heart of an urban area. Just yards from the playing field, visitors are able to stroll down a range of footpaths which criss-cross the site, ideal for dog-walkers or children to explore. The meadow, which is home to varieties such as red campion, cowslips and buttercups, and grassland area provide an ideal place to sit and enjoy a picnic.