Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
A hidden gem of a reserve, with possibly the finest display of bluebells in the County
- Visit in spring to enjoy the woodland flora at its best or take an early morning ramble to hear the dawn chorus.
- Walk through the woodlands at any time of year and enjoy the peace and quiet of this reserve – you wouldn’t know you were so close to a major industrial area!
An ancient place
Parrot's Drumble is one of the Trust’s finest ancient woodland nature reserves. Ancient woodland is a phrase used to describe woodlands that have been continuously covered by trees since the 1600’s. That doesn’t mean the trees here are 400 years old (most of the trees here are significantly younger than that!), but it does mean that for the last 400 years there has always been woodland on this land. This has enabled special woodland plants to become established and thrive. As well as the carpets of bluebells In spring you will also see dog’s mercury, wood anemone, yellow archangel and wood sorrel. Moschatel, more commonly known as Town Hall Clock, can be easily overlooked – look carefully for its pale green ‘square’ flower heads. You won’t find many of these flowers in more recently planted woodlands.
So, where are the Parrots?
The reserve derives it’s unusual name from a combination of its previous owners, the Parrot family, and a local term for a stream running through a wooded valley, drumble.
You may not see anything quite as colourful as a parrot but the woodland is a wonderful place for birds, particularly in spring when an early morning walk would reward you with the wonderful sounds of the dawn chorus.
Listen out for blue tits, willow tits, wrens and willow warblers. Both greater and lesser spotted woodpeckers are found here – listen out for them pecking holes in the tree trunks as they look for insects. Nuthatches and tree creepers can often be seen spiralling up and down the trunks of the mature trees.
There are many different types of trees within the reserve: oak, hazel, birch, rowan and ash, with willow and alder in the wetter areas along the stream. A number of additional tree species have been planted at some time in the past. You’ll easily notice the large beech trees as you enter the reserve and the row of poplars along the boundary. But you may not notice the Turkey oak.
Easily mistaken for our native oak Turkey oak was introduced by the Victorians for it’s timber. Unfortunately the timber was found to be unsuitable for outdoor use – warping and splitting as it seasons! Once planted however Turkey oak spreads easily and crosses (hybrdisies) with our own native oak. It is also of less value to wildlife – over 400 species of insects and fungi use our native oak. As part of the management of the woodland we aim to prevent Turkey oak from hybridising and ensure that the native oaks regenerate to provide future mature trees.
Naturally appealing (or not)?
Don’t be alarmed by the colour of the stream! The Valley Brook is contaminated by iron-oxide leaching from historic mineworkings in the area. Despite its startling appearance there is still an abundance of bankside vegetation with marsh marigolds, golden saxifrage and horsetails.
A Living Landscape
This nature reseve is part of the Stoke and Urban Newcastle 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