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Highgate Common

An ancient lowland heath buzzing with rare wildlife

Highlights

  • Visit in late summer to see swathes of beautiful purple heather in flower.
  • Are you creepy crawly crazy? Come and see some of our nationally-rare insects.
  • Enjoy our programme of fun events and wildlife adventures led by the Highgate Wardens.

What lies beneath?

Walk along any of the sandy paths on Highgate Common and you can not fail to notice countless small holes. These holes are made by ground nesting solitary bees & wasps. Highgate Common is one of the best places in the country to spot these fascinating insects, but please don't be scared, over time their stings have become so small that you would be very unlucky to be stung.

It has been estimated that 140 different types of solitary bee & wasp live on the Common. Some of the bees & wasps living on Highgate are extremely rare in the UK, and Highgate Common has been made a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of these rare creatures.

 

Rarer than rainforest!

Highgate Common is a small remnant of an ancient lowland heath which used to stretch for over 15 miles. Lowland heath is a fantastic habitat for wildlife, however since the 1800's the UK has lost 80% of its open heathland and it is now rarer than rainforest. However, the UK is still responsible for safeguarding almost a fifth of the world's remaining heathland. On Highgate Common, we are carefully restoring the heathland by encouraging heather to regenerate and controlling the spread of birch and bracken.

 

Creepy crawly crazy

It’s not just the solitary bees and wasps that love living on Highgate, the Common is also home to over 5,000 different types of insect including dazzling heathland dragonflies which dart around our pools, rare glow worms, countless beautiful butterflies such as the Purple Hairstreak and White Admiral, and many fantastic beetles such as the rare Oil Beetle, Green Tiger Beetle and wonderful Bloody-nosed Beetle.

 

Miniature Monsters Trail

Families can now discover the fascinating creepy crawlies that live right here on Highgate Common thanks to the new Miniature Monsters Trail! Follow the Oil Beetle or Mining Bee Trails made up of 10 interpretation boards and be introduced to some of the amazing characters that live on the reserve. From the black mining bee, to the bog bush cricket, there's literally thousands of insects to discover! Read to start exploring? Click here.

 

Don’t like creepy crawlies?

If insects just aren’t your thing, don’t worry! Highgate Common’s heathland is also home to Grass Snakes, Common Lizards and Slow Worms! The heathland is also visited by some wonderful birds including Cuckoo, Yellow Hammer, Tree Pipit, Skylark and Green Woodpecker. It is well worth a visit in the springtime to experience the birdsong echoing over the Common. 

 

Management Plan

Read our management plan for Highgate Common on how we are managing the site for both people and wildlife by clicking here.

 

Highgate Common Newsletter

The reserve wardens produce free a bi-annual newsletter packed with news, events and sightings from the reserve. See the latest issue here. To find out our latest events, click here.If you would like to sign up to receive it, email info@staffs-wildlife.org.uk

 

A 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

Nearby nature reserves

Chance Wood
3 miles - Worcestershire Wildlife Trust
Bishop's Field
6 miles - Worcestershire Wildlife Trust
Peascroft Wood
9 miles - The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Location
South west of Wombourne near the village of
Swindon
Staffordshire
DY7 5BS (nearest)
Map reference
SO 836 895
Great for...
a family day out
Best time to visit
Apr - Oct
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Reserve open at all times We try to open the toilets 9am - 4:30pm on Monday to Saturday, although times may vary occasionally
Facilities
Toilets
Disabled toilet
Size
132.00 hectares
Walking information
A network of paths crossing the woodland and heathland which can be muddy or uneven in places. Public conveniences are open when the wardens are on site and are located at the Cory Community Centre. Contact the Trust for disabled access information.
Parking
8 main car parks over the Common
Dogs
Dogs allowed
Grazing animals
no
Reserve manager
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01384 221798
info@staffs-wildlife.org.uk