Lady Park Wood National Nature Reserve
SYMONDS YAT, HEREFORDSHIRE
Lying in the swathe of ancient broadleaved woodland which sweeps down the Wye Valley from Goodrich to Chepstow is the Lady Park Wood NNR, near Monmouth. All three of our native woodpeckers live here – the great spotted, lesser spotted and green – and spring is the best time to hear and see them. Lady Park Wood is also a good place to see migrant birds that visit in spring and summer. Breeding birds include bullfinches, pied flycatchers, redstarts, tree pipits and various warblers. Two of Britain’s rarest bats live in the woods. The greater horseshoe bat is Britain’s most endangered bat, and with the lesser horseshoe bat it uses caves and disused mines in the area to roost and raise young. The lesser horseshoe bats found in the Wye Valley woodlands represents 26 per cent of the UK population, making it by far the largest population of this species in Wales.
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About the area
Herefordshire is split in two by the River Wye which meanders through the county on its way to the Severn and the sea. Largely rural, with Hereford, Leominster, and Ross-on-Wye the major towns and cities, its countryside and ancient villages are the county’s major asset.
Visitors can take advantage of a number of the trails which will guide them through areas of interest. Those especially interested in historic village life should try the Black and White Village Trail, which takes motorists on a 40-mile drive around timber-framed villages from Leominster to Weobley (established in the 17th century and known as a centre of witchcraft in the 18th), Eardisley (where the church boasts a 12th-century carved font), Kington, Pembridge and others. Other trails include the Mortimer Trail, the Hop Trail and the Hidden Highway, which goes from Ross-on-Wye to Chester. Hereford has a small Norman cathedral, which has a great forest of pink sandstone columns lining the nave. Inside is a chained library, a 13th-century Mappa Mundi (map of the world) and one of only four copies of the 1217 version of the Magna Carta.
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