Wildlife is a priceless part of our heritage, it is widely accepted that people are dependent on the natural world for their well-being. Hodnet has a rich and varied natural heritage. These few pages attempt to describe some of what can be found in the area.
Hodnet encompasses a wide range of habitats, none more perfect than Oak/Bluebell woodland in spring.
Hodnet is a rural parish lying in the valley of the River Tern. The parish is fortunate in that it encompasses a wide range of habitats. These include river and streams, open-field, flood-meadow, ditches, ponds and lakes. There are also hedgerows, hedge-banks, semi-native and ancient woodland, garden, copse, conifer plantation, scrub, roadside verge, rocky cliffs and remnant heath. Much of the parish is under either arable or improved pasture (both of these land uses are poor wildlife habitats), however in the west of the parish, around Kenstone for example, less intense farming has resulted in a species rich open-field habitat. The diversity of habitats ensures a varied wildlife.
Hodnet Countryside Heritage site is an abandoned railway line, lying around half a mile east of the centre of Hodnet, at the end of Station Road. The site provides a home for a variety of wildlife including the rare Common Glow-worm (Lampyris nocctiluca). This unusual mini-beast is not a worm as the name implies, but a species of beetle. Females can usually be seen displaying in an attempt to attract a mate towards the end of June or the beginning of July.
As well as the glow-worms a number of bird species can be seen here, including Corn Buntings, Barn Owls, Buzzards, White Throats and Garden and Willow Warblers.
Hodnet Heath is a remnant of lowland heathland, a habitat that was once more widespread in Shropshire. The site covers around 39 hectares (around 95 acres) and because of its rarity it has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (S.S.S.I.) The site is mainly wet heath with a number of ponds and some areas of dry heath. The heath is surrounded by secondary woodland made up mainly of Downy Birch (Betula pubescens). A wide range of plants grow here, including the insectivorous Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia). N.B. This site is on private land and as such there is no public access to it.
Wollerton wetlands was created as part of the construction of the Hodnet by-pass and covers several hectares. The ponds are designed to take run-off from the road in order to help prevent flooding. The ponds have been planted with reeds in order to improve water quality and provide enhanced habitat for wildlife. In December 2013 a ‘new’ public footpath was opened by the County Council to make accessing the Wetlands possible directly from Wollerton village. For more details of the route of path and the work done to re-establish it please see the following pages:
Although the site was established only a few years ago, native flora and fauna are already settling in, helped by the sowing and planting of plants of local provenance. The ponds support frogs, toads, newts and a variety of birds.
As well as foxes, badgers and hedgehogs, polecats, otters and water voles have also been seen in the area in recent years. Bat species recorded include the Noctule Bat, Brandts Bat and the Brown Long-eared Bat. The area is very good for birds, as would be expected with such a variety of habitats. Peregrines can be seen at the western end of the parish, around Marchamley, Hodnet, and Kenstone. Ravens are also regularly seen in this hilly area.
In time the intention is to extend this section in order to have dedicated pages for particular places of interest. In the meantime thank you for reading.