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Herefordshire

Barn Owl Tyto alba ©Nigel Blake Website

Birding Herefordshire

Herefordshire is a county in the West Midlands of England. It borders Shropshire to the north, Worcestershire to the east, Gloucestershire to the south-east, and Wales to the west (the Welsh counties next to Herefordshire are Monmouthshire and Powys). The county is one of the most rural and sparsely populated in England and the land use is mostly agricultural and the county is well known for its fruit and cider production, and the Hereford cattle breed.

The River Wye, which at 135 miles is the fifth-longest in the United Kingdom, enters the county after briefly being its border with Powys. It flows through both Hereford and Ross-on-Wye before returning to Wales. Leominster is situated on the River Lugg, a tributary of the Wye. The Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal and The Leominster & Stourport Canal were constructed in the nineteenth century, but these were never successful and there are now few remains to be seen. The Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal is currently the subject a restoration project, which includes the construction of a new canal basin in Hereford city centre. The project, however, is being undertaken by a small voluntary group and there is no expected date for any part of the canal to re-open for boating.

There are two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the county. The Wye Valley is located in the river's valleys south of Hereford, while the Malvern Hills are in the east of the county, along its border with Worcestershire.

The Herefordshire Ornithological Club (HOC) studies wild birds and their habitat, particularly in Herefordshire, with a view to their conservation. The Club, which is a registered charity, promotes investigation into all aspects of bird life in the county and supports similar research by other organisations at local or national level. We publish reports and accounts of such research and surveys carried out in Herefordshire and make them available to other bodies that may be able to make use of the information as it effects conservation and planning in the county.

HOC aims to increase the knowledge of its members in all matters affecting wild birds and their habitat by holding both Field and Indoor Meetings, which are led by experienced bird watchers and conservationist. The Club endeavours to advance the education of the general public in all matters relating to bird life and habitat enhancement.

Top Sites

Barnett Wood

Satellite View

One mile west of Wigmore. Park by minor road one mile west of A4110 from Wigmore at bottom of hill. Then take track and paths south. Woodland birds.

Bircher Common & Fishpool Valley

Satellite View

Seven miles SW of Ludlow. Car park half-mile northwest of B4362 from Cock Gate. Then follow paths and nature trails north and west through the woods and up the valley to Bircher and Leinthall Commons. Woodland birds and summer warblers.

Bodenham Lake

Satellite View

Five miles south of Leominster the lake is now an official nature reserve run by the County Council. It has a hide, and there is a car park at the entrance. Otherwise view from minor road 1.5 mile east of A417. Wildfowl, passage terns and waders.

Olchon Valley

Satellite View

Two to four miles north-west of Longtown. There are three parking areas: at Black Darren grid ref. SO297300; the Ford at grid ref. SO274337 and at Black Hill grid ref. SO287330. Then paths to hills, woods and Olchon Brook. Woodland and upland species including Red Grouse, Peregrine and Ring Ouzel.

Wellington Gravel Pits

Satellite View

Three and a half miles north of Hereford. Entrance to site south of minor road, half a mile east of A49 at grid ref. Go to porta-cabin adjoining weighbridge and book in. Then southeast to disused gravel pits. Wildfowl, passage terns and waders.

Contributor

Tom Weale

HOC Secretary

weale@tinyworld.co.uk

County Recorder

Mick Colquhourn

Old Gore House, Old Gore, Ross on Wye HR9 7QT

07587 151 627

mickcolquhourn@gmail.com

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 251

County Bird - Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella

Useful Reading

The Birds of Herefordshire 2007-2012

- An Atlas of Their Breeding and Wintering Distributions by Mervyn Davies | Peter Eldridge | Chris Robinson | Nick Smith | Gerald Wells | Liverpool University Press | Hardback | October 2014 |
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 9781781381267

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to Watch Birds in West Midlands

Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the Former West Midlands - F Gribble, G Harrison, H Griffiths, J Winsper and S Coney Series: WHERE TO WATCH BIRDS IN BRITAIN AND EUROPE: HELM SERIES 312 pages, 53 maps, 24 line drawings. Christopher Helm due June 2007

ISBN: 9780713664195

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Abbots Lodge B&B - Wigmore

Accommodation

Abbots Lodge is located in a delightfully peaceful setting between the church and the medieval castle. An unconventional property, it makes the very most of the elevated site and far reaching views. Having spotted its potential, we have enjoyed working on the renovation project, using John’s architectural as well as his cabinet making skills, (examples of which you might spot during your stay!). The woodlands around Wigmore are full of beautiful walks and wildlife…

Burton Hotel

Accommodation

The Burton Hotel is an attractively modernised coaching inn set in the heart of a small market town near the Welsh border. Situated on Offa`s Dyke Long Distance Footpath, Kington is a natural centre for Rambling, Fishing, Bird watching…

Sink Green Farm

Accommodation

A very warm friendly welcome awaits you at Sink Green Farm with its 16th. Century stone farmhouse overlooking the picturesque River Wye, set in 170 acres of the beautiful peaceful Herefordshire countryside, yet only three miles from the Cathedral City of Hereford. Our livestock farm has an abundance of wildlife, especially birds which include kingfishers, herons and swans. Ideal for those who would like a relaxing holiday or somewhere to unwind after the pressures of business.

Organisations

Herefordshire Ornithology Club

Website

The Club takes an active interest in all local conservation issues and has ties with national and local conservation bodies. The records are summarised in the Annual Report but have recently been published in some detail as: “The Birds of Herefordshire 2007-2012 An Atlas of their breeding and wintering distributions”. A large proportion of the membership was engaged in some aspect of this production.

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust

Website

Herefordshire WildlifeTrust is the largest membership-based wildlife organisation in the area, dedicated to inspiring people about wildlife, acting as a wildlife champion, creating wildlife havens and encouraging sustainable living.

Reserves

Queenswood & Bodenham Lake

Website

Satellite View

Since March 2016, Queenswood and Bodenham Lake have been managed by Herefordshire Wildlife Trust and New Leaf.

Small Breeds Farm Park and Owl Centre

Website

Satellite View

A magical place to experience animals, birds, and owls.

Other Links

The Wild Bird Store

Website

Welcome to the Wild Bird Store, Herefordshire’s only dedicated specialist supplier of wild bird food and accessories. …

Wiggly Wigglers

Website

Birds love live food - Protein is necessary in the diet of all wild birds and one of the best sources of this is live food. The decrease in bird habitats through intensively farmed land and consequent loss of hedgerows, copses and woodland has seen a continuing decline in natural sources of live food such as worms, larvae, and beetles. Supplying this food at your garden birdtable is therefore becoming very important for a whole range of birds from Robins and Wrens to the less common Woodpeckers and Tits…