RSPB Langford Lowfields reedbed near Newark attracts 190 bird species

More than 190 species of bird have now been spotted at one of the biggest reedbeds in the East Midlands, the RSPB says.

Public trails have opened at Langford Lowfields in Nottinghamshire, giving people the chance to see birds including marsh harriers, bitterns and shovellers.

Image copyright RSPB

The 180-acre (73-hectare) site continues to be developed and once complete, the 247 acres (100 hectares) of reedbed will be the largest in the East Midlands and among the top 10 in the UK, said Michael Copleston from the RSPB, which manages the reserve.

The reserve, which has been created in a quarried area on the banks of the River Trent, has been sculpted by bulldozers and excavators in partnership with Lafarge Tarmac, which owns the land.

Image copyright RSPB

"This is an incredible site, really. It's going to be one of the most important reedbeds in the East Midlands without a doubt, due to its scale, but it's also going to be one of the largest reedbeds in the country," said Mr Copleston.

There are about 12,355 acres (5,000 hectares) of reedbed in the UK but only about 50 individual sites are greater than 49 acres (20 hectares), according to the Wildlife Trusts.

Image copyright RSPB

They provide homes for birds of prey, wildfowl like gadwall, tufted duck and shovellers and other species including warblers and kingfishers.

The reeds are also good for invertebrates, like dragonflies, as well as mammals including otters and water voles, and amphibians.

Image copyright Lafarge Tarmac

The quarry near Newark is still in operation, alongside the nature reserve.

After sand and gravel is extracted, the landscape is restored by creating islands and pools and establishing common reed and a range of aquatic plants to attract and support a wide variety of wildlife.

Image copyright RSPB

Neil Beards from Lafarge Tarmac, which has been quarrying there for more than 25 years, said: "Nature doesn't happen overnight. There's a lot of planning and there's a lot of work to be undertaken."

Alongside trails at the north of the reserve, a floating bridge, reedbed boardwalk and new car park have been built.

"The site is now at a stage of maturity where the RSPB can start to introduce members of the public without interrupting the quarry operation," said Mr Beards.

The RSPB said there were plans to open more of the land to the public as the site developed.

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