The reserve was a treasure, a place that we will be returning too, despite the distance from us it is worth it for a day out. Watchtree Nature Reserve is on the site of a disused RAF airfield, the land originally having been farmed has been semi returned to that state as there is still farming very much in evidence in and around the site.
The old runways are perfect for riding bikes.
The old control tower is visible just outside the reserve with a wonderful elderflower growing on its side.
There are a number of bird hides round the site where you can sit and watch the wildlife. Sadly we forgot our binoculars so we were struggling to identify what we could see as it was so far away. All the more reason to return!
Several of the trees around the site were labelled.
There was a wee garden near the Visitors Centre where we found a newt.
Some Marsh Fritillaries which are part of a breeding/reintroduction programme in the county, this beautiful butterfly has declined in numbers over the twentieth century.
And an unidentified caterpillar anyone know what it is, or what it might later become?
Not only has the land been a airfield it was also used a burial ground for the thousands of carcasses as a result of the 2001 Foot and Mouth epidemic. It was out of this tragedy that the reserve came into being, the site needed careful management to ensure that the surrounding land and the water table were not contaminated by the intensity of carcasses. It takes its name from two trees, which are sadly no longer standing, which were used by local people to 'watch' for raiders from North of the Border! They were felled to make way for the airfield. We spent five lovely hours on this reserve and didn't manage to explore it all I am sure we will return some day.