Know before you go
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitApril to July, September to November
About the reserve
Go to this wood in spring and you find yourself in a flowery bower of rhododendron blossom. Not the conservationist’s favourite plant, rhododendrons are notoriously invasive, while the dense shade cast by their leathery foliage causes woodland plants to wither away. But every plant has its uses and the bushes provide a safe roost for birds in winter.
Look out for goldcrest, greater spotted woodpecker and sparrowhawk. Find the sandstone quarry at the centre of the reserve and you will see pebble beds from ancient rivers in the rock face, formed around 220 million years ago. Fossils and a reconstruction of a small crocodile-like reptile known as Rhynchosaurus that roamed around locally at this time, can be seen in Shrewsbury Museum. Look out for the remains of mediaeval boundaries. Along mounds of earth, trees that were once part of hedgerows grow; their branches twisted, knotted and gnarled. Explore this wood carefully, it has stories to tell.
Directions: From the A41 Whitchurch/Newport road take the turning north of Hinstock for Hungry Hatton. Park in the lay-by opposite the reserve. It is shown as High Heath on the OS map.