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Nature Reserves in Staffordshire Moorlands

The Roaches 975 acres Whether you're an eager climber, an enthusiastic walker or a keen naturalist, the Roaches offers something for everyone. Its magnificent soaring rock faces and wild, heather-covered hillsides draw tens of thousands of visitors each year, and make it one of Staffordshire's most photographed landscapes. As well as being a popular place for recreation, the Roaches is an amazing place for wildlife. In fact, the area is protected both nationally and internationally for its wildlife and rare wild habitats.  Designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and forming part of the South Pennine Moor Special Area for Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Area, the Roaches consists of numerous internationally important habitats including blanket bog and upland moorland. There are also many specialist breeding and wintering birds such as curlew, red grouse and tree pipit. Located north of Leek and west of the Buxton road, map reference SK 005 621 Black Brook 298 acres Most of this moorland reserve is within the Leek Moors SSSI and much of the area is of European importance for its upland bird species. 111 acres of plantation will eventually be restored to moorland. Species found here include: curlew, lapwing, snipe, merlin, whinchat and twite. Also present are globeflower, heather, crowberry, cowberry, ragged robin, lady's smock and bog asphodel. Location: Six miles north of Leek, the small parking area is less than a mile from the A53 at SK 021 650.Brown End Quarry 3.5 acres The County's first geological reserve it is managed in partnership with the North Staffs Group of the Geologists Association. It is important for its exposed rocks and fossils of Lower Carboniferous age. For your own safety please do not pass beyond the limits of the fence. Species found here include: cowslips, knapweed, scabious, ox-eye daisies and various butterflies and warblers. Location: Eastern end of Waterhouses on the A523 at SK 090 502. Small parking area.Castern Wood 51 acres One of the Trust's finest and most scenic reserves. This SSSI is a diverse site of deciduous woodland, scrub and grassland in a steep-sided valley sloping down to the River Manifold. Species found here include: cowslips, violets, several species of orchid, meadow saxifrage and water avens. Chimney sweeper moth, northern brown argus butterfly, bats, woodpeckers, pied flycatcher, skylark and hare are also present. Location: Between Wetton and Alstonefield at SK 120 538. Please park without obstructing gateways.Cotton Dell 160 acresThis is an incredibly diverse reserve with areas of species rich, unimproved grassland, broadleaf and conifer woodland, geological exposures and a range of riverside habitats. Part of the site is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest . Species found here include great wood-rush, bluebell and wood anemone while the many woodland birds include nuthatch and great spotted woodpecker. Aquatic insects in the brook attract dippers. Orchids, betony, scabious and many other wildflowers provide good sources of nectar for bees and butterflies in the grasslands.Park in the County Council parking area in Oakamoor (SK053446) and walk across the road to the reserve.Harston Wood 6.7 acres Part of the Churnet Valley SSSI the woodland is on a steep-sided north-facing slope. The nearby tramway was used to transport limestone to the canal. Species found here include: tawny owl, treecreeper, nuthatch, redstart, wood warbler, pied flycatcher and both spotted woodpeckers. Ash, oak, elm, guelder rose, hazel, small-leaved lime, yellow archangel, dog's mercury, twayblade and broad-leaved helleborine are also present. Location: Park at the County Council car park and picnic site on the minor road from Froghall to Foxt at SK 027 476.Rod Wood 40 acres A mosaic of woodland, scrub and unimproved grassland. The reserve occupies a hilltop site with views across Leek to the Peak District National Park. Species found here include: hay-rattle, ox-eye daisy, tormentil, orchids, dyer's greenweed, ragged robin and adder's tongue fern. Meadow brown and speckled wood butterflies, green woodpecker, and hare are all present. Location: Three-quarters of a mile from Coombes Valley reserve at SJ 997 531, just 4 miles from Leek.Side Farm 10 acres A number of small fields enclosed by a network of millstone grit walls. The reserve has escaped agricultural 'improvement'. Species found here include: tormentil, heath bedstraw, bilberry, pignut, pennywort, lesser spearwort and lemon-scented fern. Also present are stoats, voles, 50 species of lichen and comma, meadow brown, large skipper and green hairstreak butterflies. Location: One and a half miles NNE of Oakamoor at SK 058 465. Parking is very limited.Swineholes Wood 61 acres Situated on the exposed Ipstones Edge this is a fine example of transitional habitat between lowland heath and upland moor. Mature secondary woodland covers a significant part of the SSSI reserve. Species found here include: bilberry, crowberry, cowberry, tormentil, heath bedstraw, marsh violet, bog asphodel and common cow-wheat. Also present are woodcock, moorland bumble-bee, skylark, curlew, willow warbler and small tortoiseshell. Location: Near the radio mast on the Ipstones Edge minor road at SK 046 503, 1.5 miles ENE of Ipstones.Weag's Barn 45 acres A SSSI of grassland, scrub and woodland close to the confluence of the Rivers Hamps and Manifold. Species found here include: mountain currant, maidenhair and hartstongue ferns, toothwort, lousewort, eyebright and meadow saxifrage. Brown hare, a variety of small birds associated with woodland/scrub and treble lines and ash pug moths are also present. Location: Between Grindon and Wetton in the Manifold Valley at Weags Bridge there is a car park. Reserve entrance at SK 099 542.

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