Aqualate Mere NNR is situated 3km to the east of Newport, at the heart of a private estate, centred on Aqualate Mere - the largest natural lake in the West Midlands.
Main habitats: Open water, reedbeds, rush pasture
Why Visit: Aqualate Mere National Nature Reserve is a superb place to watch wildlife and learn about wetland habitats in the West Midlands.
This site is designated under RAMSAR as an internationally important wetland reserve for its habitats and overwintering wildfowl populations. Today the site is managed by Natural England and covers over 210 ha. Wildlife can be viewed in close quarters from the public observation hide at the eastern end of the 72 ha Mere.
Star Species: The mere itself supports a diverse fish population, in particular pike and bream, and large numbers of wintering and breeding wildfowl.
Up to three thousand duck maybe present on the Mere in the winter, mallard, teal, wigeon, pochard, tufted duck, goldeneye, and gadwall are generally the most numerous but historically Aqualate has always been important for its wintering shoveler.
Aqualate supports a large heronry that has been on site for over 300 years. Another eel feeder found at Aqualate, is the Bittern. This shy and rare bird is a regular winter visitor to the reedbeds. The reedbed habitat also supports reed warbler, sedge warbler and reed bunting with the occasional visiting Marsh Harrier and Osprey. The site also sees large murmurations of Starlings at dusk in the winter months.
The low lying pastures at the east and west of the reserve provide breeding areas for wading birds such as lapwing, curlew, snipe and redshank. Hunting barn owl and buzzard are also seen regularly over these fields.
Mammals found here include otter, polecat, stoat, water vole, yellow necked mouse, harvest mouse, together with bats such as Pipistrelle and Daubenton's.
Many plants occur here which are unknown elsewhere in the county including brookweed and grey club rush. The western meadows are particularly rich and contain scarce species such as meadow thistle, common meadow rue, yellow flag iris and purple loosestrife.
Access: Please note that, apart from public rights of way, access to the reserve is limited to permit holders. The Mere and its wildlife can be observed at close quarters from the public observation hide at the east end of the Mere. The hide is suitable for wheelchair users and can be accessed from the public car park along an easy access way marked public right of way.
For details contact Natural England's Shropshire and Staffordshire office.
Several events including guided walks are held on the NNR every year; please see the West Midlands NNRs events page for details.
For further information contact Mel Brown on 01952 812111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Other NNRs in the area
Invasive aquatic species
Help stop the spread
Check, Clean, Dry