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Doxey Marshes

A wetland oasis near the centre of Stafford and one of the country's best bird watching sites

See amazing bird life up close

Here are a few species to look out for from each bird hide - so grab your binoculars and get spotting!

The rectangular hide overlooking Tillington Flash: 

Oystercatcher (spring); hobby (summer); shelduck (summer); goosander (autumn and winter); black tailed godwit (spring and autumn); great crested grebe (all year); little egret (all year). 

The octagonal hide overlooking the scrape:

Redshank (spring); green sandpiper (spring and autumn); dunlin (spring and autumn); snipe (all year); lapwing (all year). 

Explore the underwater world

Pond-dipping is a great activity for all the family. You'll be amazed at the wonderful variety of tiny creatures that live in our ponds and lakes. For a guide to pond-dipping, download our Wildlife Watch activity sheet.


Exploring Doxey Marshes - Highlights


Wax rubbing trail: Follow the circular trail around the centre of the reserve to find the numbered posts with rubbing plaques of some of the wildlife that lives here. Don't forget your crayons! Download your rubbing sheet here!


Take an early morning walk in spring to discover the magic of a wetland dawn chorus

  • Look and listen for Lapwing performing their tumbling display flight over the pasture in Spring, whilst calling out 'pee-wit'
  • Keep an eye out for migrating birds as the reserve is well known for attracting lots of passage species and even the odd rarity!
  • Visit in the winter months to see large flocks of waterfowl including Wigeon and Teal


Birds Galore!

Doxey Marshes is a fantastic place to discover birds with over 200 species recorded and over 80 breeding species.  The reserve is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its nationally important populations of Lapwing, Snipe and Redshank.

The reserve also attracts many rare birds every year, including the first ever Cattle Egret and River Warbler to be recorded in the Midlands region!


Not Just Birds!

Although well known as a great bird watching location, Doxey Marshes is also home to regionally significant populations of Otter, Harvest Mouse and Water Shrew.  The reserve is also home to a vast array of wetland plants, including the biggest area of Reed-sweet Grass in the Midlands.  In Spring the pastures are carpeted with flowers such as Lady’s Smock, Buttercup and Ragged Robin.


Water, water everywhere

The reserve forms part of the River Sow floodplain so is naturally a wet area and will occasionally flood.  Most of the large pools on the reserve, known locally as flashes, have formed as a result of subsidence from brine extraction in the 1950s.  These flashes are a great place to find many species of water bird including Tufted Duck, Goosander and Great Crested Grebe.


Mud, Mud Glorious Mud

Across the reserve are numerous muddy depressions known as scrapes.  These were created to encourage wetland birds such as Lapwing and Redshank to breed, as well as providing feeding points for migrating birds


A Living Landscape

This nature reserve is part of the Staffordshire Rivers Living Landscape

'Living Landscapes' is The Wildlife Trusts innovative approach to nature conservation and involves focusing our efforts on improving the wider landscape to make it better for wildlife.  Find out more here



Species and habitats

Grassland, Wetland
Lapwing, Snipe, Teal, Wigeon, Harvest Mouse, Otter, Water Shrew, Migrant hawker

Nearby nature reserves

Radford Meadows
3 miles - Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
Allimore Green
5 miles - Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
Pasturefields Saltmarsh
6 miles - Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Just off the A513, Eccleshall Road off Junction 14 on the M6
ST16 1JR (nearest)
Map reference
SJ 903 250
Great for...
a family day out
getting away from it all
overwintering birds
spring migrant birds
Best time to visit
Mar - May
Sep - Dec
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
121.40 hectares
Walking information
Flat surfaced paths cover most of the reserve, although access is occasionally reduced during periods of flooding. Please observe on-site instructions for the on-lead/off-lead zones across the reserve. Contact the Trust for disabled access information.
Parking options: Park at Sainsbury's; park in the car park behind Focus on GreyFriar's Industrial Estate; park by the play park at the end fo Creswell Farm Drive/Wooton Drive September 2018 update: Due to building works, the car park at the end of Wootton Drive in Stafford is currently closed. A new car park is being constructed as part of the housing development but in the meantime we advise people to park in Stafford town centre and follow footpaths onto the southern end of the reserve.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01889 880100