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Weir Wood reservoir boasts a nature reserve on its southern shore. From the viewing hide just of Legsheath Lane you can spot many species of bird such as the Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron and Canada Geese. Less common are the Fish eating Ospreys, and in the autumn if water levels are low, many shore birds can be seen feeding on the exposed mud.

Many of the fields that you pass by on walks around the town are no longer actively used for agricultural purposes, but are part of the ‘set aside’ arrangements by which farmers are paid to take certain fields or part of fields out of use. As our heavy clay soil was impossible to plough we still retain many undisturbed wildflower-rich hay meadows and pastures. These unimproved grasslands are a haven for wildlife conservation supporting up to 100 kinds of grasses and wildflowers – which in turn support a great variety of insects and other creatures.

Here in the High Weald we boast a greater than national average of woodland with 25% coverage. Much of the woodland is Ancient Woodland (in other words, having existed continuously since AD1600) in fact an amazing 68% of High Weald’s woodland is classes as Ancient. Sometimes, if you know where to look, you can see signs of past coppicing, pollarding, saw pits and charcoal hearths. In the summer look out for plants such as the Wood Anemone, Wood Sorrel, Yellow Archangel and Early Purple Orchid all indicators of an ancient woodland site.

To learn more about the High Weald visit the High Weald AONB unit’s website at www.highweald.org or pick up a copy of their excellent publication the High Weald Anvil at the Tourist Information Office in the library.