One of the best bird-watching sites in Shropshire, Wood Lane Nature Reserve has been developed in recent years on worked-out industrial land, Tudor Griffiths Group’s old sand and gravel workings near Ellesmere. Several large lagoons with islands and surrounding wetland make up the reserve, which is surrounded here by a working landscape with mountainous heaps of sand providing a backdrop – and also the perfect nesting opportunity for hundreds of pairs of sand martins.
More than 180 species of birds have been recorded at Wood Lane since the nature reserve was established in 1999. Pumps control the water levels, so that optimum amounts of mud and water are available for wading birds such as greenshank and curlew; islands have been created for safe roosting; hundreds of trees have been planted and scores of nest boxes installed.
The reserve is a rare and much valued haven for breeding lapwing, tree sparrow and yellow hammer, while little ringed plover is another speciality. The sand mountain provides an ideal nesting site for sand martin, of which 500 pairs have been known. Waders, such as greenshank, godwit and whimbrel, drop in to feed up on their migration journeys in spring and autumn. There are around 40 breeding bird species on the reserve.