Kerry Garratt Flickr
Earlswood Lakes are a series of lakes and reservoirs just outside Solihull that were created in 1820 to supply the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal. Over the past two centuries, this man-made landscape has been colonised by numerous species of wildlife, including birds, bats, small animals and plants. You’ll find picnic areas, an Old Engine House that once pumped water into the canal, anglers, brass-rubbing plates on a heritage walk, a craft centre and a couple of pubs. Earlswood Lakes is also home to the Clowes Wood Nature Reserve, an SSSI that provides great opportunities for nature lovers to enjoy spring walks. It is one of the richest ecological locations on the network.
Paul Wilkinson, senior ecologist at the Canal & River Trust, eulogises the nature on display at Clowes Wood. “It’s a great place to hear the first chiffchaffs and all three woodpeckers drumming away,” he says. “If you’re lucky, you may be able to hear the wood warbler, but it has declined recently on site and is a rare sight now, down to one or two birds. Spring flowers include wood anemone, lily-of-the-valley, yellow pimpernel, wood sorrel, yellow archangel and a carpet of bluebells a little later on. We also have a bat box scheme with six species of bats found using them so far, with some of the boxes being used by soprano pipistrelle and brown long-eared bats during the winter. They’ll be becoming active again around the wood and lakes as the evenings warm up.”