Welcome to Stratford-upon-Avon Local Nature Reserve
Stratford-upon-Avon Local Nature Reserve is a 71 acre site and part of The Stratford Riverside Project, to create a green corridor between Fisherman's Car Park and Lucy's Mill Bridge. It is a partnership between Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Stratford Town Trust. Grant funding of £1.5 m was secured for the project from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership via the government's Getting Building Fund. In October 2023, the northern area was declared a Local Nature Reserve following consultation with Natural England.
There is a circular walk around the site, including bridges suitable for everybody. The walk passes through a range of habitats offering multiple opportunities to view and engage with wildlife, including woodland, the wildflower meadow, grassland and scrub mosaic, the flood meadow habitat, reedbeds and along the riverside. The footpath provides multiple opportunities to view the river, wetlands and swales. Seating is available at points within the site.
At the southern end is an entrance point located within the town centre, enabling easy access for pedestrians within a few minutes’ walk of local shops, restaurants and amenities. Local and regional bus services also drop off a short distance from this entrance.
We hope you enjoy your visit to Stratford-upon-Avon Local Nature Reserve. Please remember to clean up after your dog and dispose of litter in the bins provided or take it home with you.
The nearest toilets, including changing places facilities, are available at Stratford Leisure Centre, Bridgeway, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6YX. Opening hours:
- 07:00-18:00 Monday to Sunday
There is limited parking available in the Fisherman’s Car Park (pay and display/Ringo app). Alternatively, there is ample parking at the Riverside Car Park (pay and display /Ringo app) available at the back of the Leisure Centre which leads straight onto the lower end of Stratford-upon-Avon Local Nature Reserve (CV37 6YX).
What Can I See?
Stratford-upon-Avon Local Nature Reserve is home to a wide variety of wildlife and habitats, including deer, damselflies, kingfishers, otters, wildflowers and butterflies. There’s plenty to see, whatever time of year you visit.
Volunteering opportunities at Stratford-upon-Avon Local Nature Reserve:
If you are interested in volunteering with the Town Trust on any conservation projects, including at Stratford-upon-Avon Local Nature Reserve, you can sign up here.
All volunteering activity is supported by robust risk assessments and on-site assessments beforehand.
History of the site:
Stratford-upon-Avon Local Nature Reserve is on the site known locally as Warwick Road Lands and The Lench Meadows. In the 19th century most of these fields were shut up for hay crops during the summer months and after they were mown, were grazed by livestock, mainly sheep. There was no real change to this riparian landscape until about 1920 when the pumping station was built beside the Warwick Road to help boost the town’s drinking water supply. The use of the river as a place for public bathing came into being about then.
Between 1950 and 1971 part of the area was used as local landfill. In the 1950s and 1960s the quarried gravel pit was filled in with spoil and landfill and the tip was gradually expanded across about half the area of the old flood meadows. Most of this land had by then been acquired by Stratford Council and in the early 1970s, the land towards Bridgefoot was redeveloped, with the Stratford Leisure Centre (opened in 1974) and a large hotel being constructed. The rest of the tip was, after extensive tree planting, eventually opened as a public open space.
Where else can I visit?
Find out about Stratford District Council owned green spaces, including the River Arrow Nature Reserve and Welcombe Hills and Clopton Park.
You can also find out about Stratford Town Trust green spaces.