Thursday 22 February 2007

Langford Lakes Nature Reserve


The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust have sent us a copy of a leaflet they have produced about the Langford Lakes Nature Reserve in the Wylye Valley. As keen environmentalists and nature-lovers at Bedeguar Books, we are happy to publicise the work of the WWT and share the leaflet here:

A sustainable future for wildlife and people

Langford Lakes nature reserve lies in the heart of the Wylye Valley in south Wiltshire, halfway between Warminster and Salisbury. The reserve consists of three lakes and a half-mile stretch of the River Wylye.

Since the site was purchased in 2001, an extensive programme of enhancement has seen the former Langford Fisheries transformed into a haven for both wildlife and people.

Habitat creation work has turned the lakes into an ideal place for breeding and over-wintering birds, and work along the river has improved the living conditions for many plants and animals that are only found in chalk streams.

The Visitor Centre contains further information about the reserve as well as details of other sites owned by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

Birds of Langford Lakes
Great crested grebe, Tufted duck, Wigeon, Pintail, Lapwing, Coot, Heron, Common tern, Bittern.

Langford Lakes nature reserve consists of three lakes, which are former gravel pits, and a half-mile stretch of the River Wylye. It covers a total area of 17 hectares, and was purchased by the Trust in 2001. Some of the shores have been reshaped to diversify the range of habitats for birds and fish; three islands have been created and the lakes’ shores planted with rushes, sedges and reeds to create safe habitats for breeding birds.
Ducks present all year round include mallard, gadwall, tufted duck, pochard and ruddy duck. Winter birds include wigeon, teal and the occasional goosander. Migrating birds such as waders, terns and osprey use the reserve as an important stopover point in their long journey to warmer climes.

One thing not to miss from February onwards is the charming courtship display of the elegant great-crested grebe, where they rise out of the water while shaking their beautifully adorned heads.
Over 150 bird species have been recorded at Langford Lakes in the last twenty years.
From Robin’s Hide you may see a kingfisher with its unmistakable vibrant blue and orange plumage. If lucky you may also see a little egret as it comes to roost in the trees opposite the hide at dusk. And if very fortunate in the winter, you might catch a glimpse of one of the UK’s most endangered birds, the bittern. This bird which is very secretive and usually difficult to see, moves silently through the reeds at the water’s edge looking for food.

The River Wylye, an internationally important chalk stream, is home to brown trout, grayling and a host of freshwater insects on which they feed. Otters and water voles regularly use the river and lakes. If you’re very lucky you may hear the characteristic ‘plop’ of a water vole as it dives into the water looking for food.

In the summer the reserve bursts into life and colour with the sights and sounds of the cuckoo, warblers, a variety of woodland birds, butterflies, dragonflies and the typical wetland flowers, yellow flag iris, ragged robin and cuckoo flower.

Facilities for bird watching
The reserve has four fully accessible hides that have been positioned to overlook the lakes to maximise the views of the many birds on site. Each hide has a list of birds recorded at the reserve, pictures to aid identification and a diary for you to record what you see. Screens of woven hazel have been erected along the approaches to the hides ensuring the birds are not disturbed whilst visitors are still able to watch them from close quarters.

Facilities for fishing
Day tickets are available for fly fishing on the River Wylye, with its population of wild brown trout and grayling. Coarse fishing on the Brockbank Lake is open to members of the Langford Lakes Fishing Club, which is run by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. For more information on either of these please contact (01722) 792011.

Whatever time of year, Langford Lakes is a special place to visit.

Visiting Langford Lakes
Langford Lakes nature reserve is open from 9am until dusk, seven days a week throughout the year. The Visitor Centre and toilets are also open throughout the year.

Group visits are welcome by prior arrangement to avoid crowding in the hides. The Education Centre is an office base for Trust staff, and has a meeting room available for hire. All facilities are designed to be fully accessible and there is disabled parking at the Education Centre.

For enquiries please telephone (01722) 790770 during office hours.

For your safety and comfort:
Children must be supervised at all times.
No dogs are allowed on the reserve except guide dogs.
Please do not swim or paddle in the water; it is deep and cold with sharp objects on the bottom.
Please take your litter home with you and leave the area as you found it.
Please leave your bikes at the cycle racks in the disabled car park.

OS Grid ref: SU 037 370.
Bicycle: Langford Lakes is close to the Wiltshire Cycleway and the National Byway network.
By bus: Wilts & Dorset and Badgerline buses stop at Steeple Langford. Hourly bus (X4, X5, X6), Monday to Saturday, 7am-6pm. Short walk from the bus stop to nature reserve along Duck Street.
By car: From the A36 Salisbury to Warminster, take the sign to The Langfords. Follow signs into Duck Street, from where the entrance is sign posted.
Nearest public telephone: In Salisbury Road, next to the bus stop.
Nearest hospital: Salisbury (Odstock) (01722) 336262.
Other WWT nature reserves nearby: Little Langford Down (chalk downland) and the Devenish Reserve (chalk downland and woodland).

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust,
Langford Lakes Nature Reserve, Duck Street, Steeple Langford, Salisbury, SP3 4NH.
Tel (01722) 790770.