An ancient semi-natural woodland just north of Kenilworth, once part of the Forest of Arden. The wood is managed traditionally as high forest with a coppice understorey, providing tall trees of oak, birch and sweet chestnut with a lower shrub layer of hazel and holly.
Visit in May for fantastic displays of blue bells.
A registered common, the last fragment of a much larger area of open land that existed some hundreds of years ago.
Once an area of heathland, the Common has developed into an area of oak and birch woodland. However, remnants of the old heathland character remain, particularly on and close to the railway embankments. These areas provide a valuable habitat for plants like ling heather, gorse and heath bedstraw as well as refuge for reptiles such as the common lizard and adder.
The name Parliament Piece is believed to relate to Henry III's parliament, which met in Kenilworth in 1266. There is, however, no evidence that the site was actually used by the parliament. The pond and other depressions are probably the remains of old marl or clay pits. Today, the grassland is managed as a traditional hay meadow with hay cut in late July and cattle grazing the aftermath for two or three months.
Formerly unimproved grazed farmland, this reserve has survived whilst the surrounding area has been built on. With areas of planted woodland, hazel coppice and elm thickets, there is a variety of bird life. A mosaic of meadows, acid grassland and scrub dominates the south side, a popular area for butterflies such as small and large skippers, small heath, speckled wood and orange tip.
Welches Meadow and Leam Valley
Welches Meadow and the Leam Valley Local Nature Reserves are situated in Newbold Comyn Country Park.
Welches Meadow is a traditional flood meadow to the south of the River Leam. River water covers the land for parts of the year enriching the soil and providing ideal conditions for beetles and other insects.
Woodland, grassland, marsh, ponds and the River Leam itself make up Leam Valley LNR. This area has an agricultural past with more recent woodland planting and pond creation.
Whitnash Brook forms the eastern limit of the built up area of Leamington and Sydenham. It contains a diverse mixture of habitats including the brook, marshy grassland and swamp, woodland, grassland, tall herb and scrub. The site attracts many birds both during the breeding season and at other times of the year and is attractive to many invertebrates.
There is a footpath through the whole length of the site.
Hall Farm Meadow
Situated in the village of Hunningham, about three miles east of Leamington Spa, this site is agriculturally improved grassland with small areas of relatively species poor semi-improved grassland. It has been used in recent years for year round horse grazing.
Oakwood and Blacklow Spinney
The spinney is an area of mature trees, probably originally planted as a shooting wood in the 1920s. Tree species include sweet chestnut, oak, Scots pine and larch with some holly, ash, beech, silver birch and younger elm trees. Planting of hawthorn, hazel, crab apple, rowan, field maple, whitebeam, aspen and hornbeam has taken place more recently.
Bird species recorded within the Spinney include resident nuthatches and tree creepers, with sparrowhawks, tawny owls and chiff chaffs being regular visitors.
The Wildlife Trust have a list of local nature reserves on their website.