Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) are for both people and wildlife. They are places with wildlife or geological features that are of special interest locally. They offer people special opportunities to study or learn about nature or simply to enjoy it.
There are now over 1280 LNRs in England. They range from windswept coastal headlands, ancient woodlands and flower-rich meadows to former inner city railways, long abandoned landfill sites and industrial areas now re-colonised by wildlife. In total they cover almost 40,000 ha - an impressive natural resource which makes an important contribution to England's biodiversity.
At present there are seven LNRs in Stafford Borough and details of each can be found below.
We encourage people to visit their Local Nature Reserves and also promote local involvement. We run regular events at reserves all year please check local press for details.
Astonfields Balancing Lakes LNR
Grid Reference: SJ 926 248
This Local Nature Reserve was created for flood defence but over the years a number of important habitats have developed. These include open water, woodland and reedbed. The site is good for bird-watching and has a number of unusual plant species.
If you would like to join the Friends of Astonfields Balancing Lakes please contact the Biodiversity Officer.
Barlaston and Rough Close Common LNR
Grid References: SJ 923396 and SJ 926399
Our largest LNR, this heathland site has a great variety of birds and plants.
Permission to fence the lower common was granted in 2006 and since 2008 a small herd of Red Poll cattle has grazed the site. Grazing has been shown to be an effective management tool in restoring the heathland habitat.
Grid Reference: SJ 852422
Ferndown LNR is located in Clayton, Newcastle, on the northern edge of Stafford Borough near junction 15 of the M6. The area of land is approximately 5.5 hectares and is broken up into six compartments comprising of old agricultural fields whose hedgerow boundaries still divide the site today.
The main habitats on site are meadow and scrub woodland. A five-year management plan exists for the site which aims to restore the condition of the meadows, providing a greater variety of wildflowers that will in turn support many invertebrates such as butterflies and moths.
Kingsmead Marsh LNR
Grid Reference: SJ 925 234
Kingsmead is a large area of marsh in the centre of Stafford.
Recently, Stafford College students have been able to use the site as an outdoor classroom, undertaking a number of practical conservation tasks such as willow coppicing and wildlife surveys.
Kingston Pool Covert (South)
This wet woodland site has a great variety of ferns and woodland birds.
A number of diseased Crack Willow trees have had to be felled over the last few years but this has created space for the natural regeneration of the wood. Students from Rodbaston have helped plant replacement Alder trees.
Riverside LNR - Stafford
Riverside is the most recent of the Council’s LNRs, declared in 2021. It features 17ha of floodplain grazing marsh, with areas of meadow and wet woodland. It also includes both the Rivers Sow and Penk, the only nature reserve in the Borough to feature access to two rivers. Site management will aim to restore these habitats over the next ten years.
Stone Meadows LNR and Crown Meadow LNR
Since 2012 the two larger meadows have been entered into a Higher Level Stewardship agreement with Natural England. The aim is to restore the meadows to species rich in floodplain meadows.
This site is also entered into HLS with the same aims and aspirations as above. Of interest, the uncommon Black Poplar is found on site, once a familiar tree of wet meadows and riversides. There is also a stand of Aspen, another native poplar tree that is now becoming scarcer.
Now entered into a Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreement, site aims will be to enhance the meadows, restoring them to a species rich condition. A variety of techniques will be used including green-hay spreading from a suitable donor site.
For more information on any of these sites please contact the Biodiversity Officer.