The New Falling Sands Nature Area

It’s another day on the marsh, and I’m about to cross the small concrete bridge over Hoo Book, from Hoo Brook Pasture, on my way to the new nature area along the River Stour, immediately north of Wilden Marsh. If the resident troll tries any of his nonsense this morning, barring my way and threatening to eat me, my size 12 wellie will help him on his way downstream whether he wants to go in the direction or not.

The new nature area, owned by Wyre Forest Council, is recovering from churning caused by heavy machinery used during construction of the new Hoobrook bypass bridge. Thankfully the troll didn’t show itself today.

Whata fantastic way of regenerating this hidden and forgotten parcel of land tucked in between the River Stour, Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve, Hoobrook Trading Estate and the Severn Valley Steam Railway Viaduct. This piece of land is part of a wildlife corridor winding its way north through the county.

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The above image shows the extreme southern end of the new nature area. During the 1800s this section of the River Stour was spanned by two full width 12 foot diameter water wheels: one overshot and one undershot. The water wheels powered two rolling mills housed in the Falling Sands Iron Works and Rolling Mills. The area once occupied by the works is now the Severn Trent Sewage Pumping Station.

Churning of soil at the nature area entrance.

So the ground here is pretty bare with a lot of willow scrub taking hold, but the marsh cattle will start grazing this in a week or two.

The new Hoobrook bypass bridge.

The new nature area in the foreground, River Severn and Worcester and Staffordshire Canal in the middle of the image, and landscaping in the background.

A new shiny drinking trough for the exclusive use of the marsh cattle.

This weird shaped concrete hole is a badger tunnel running under the bypass at the start of the bridge. If the river is in flood, and the badgers can’t travel under the bridge, they can use this tunnel. Muntjac deer will be able to use this tunnel, too.

The new nature area north of the new bypass bridge.


The Severn Valley Steam Railway Viaduct crossing the River Stour and Worcester and Staffordshire Canal.

There’s a manmade otter holt buried in the river bank, and otter tracks have been seen around the holt already.

Entrance to the otter holt.

The otter holt is buried under this soil on the river bank.

There are bat boxes here, too.

I think this new wildlife area will prove a positive asset to both Wilden Marsh and the wildlife corridor.